Hollywood was granted a major victory by the FCC this past week in a decision that gives the studios permission to shut down the analog ports on home entertainment equipment such as televisions, cable boxes, and satellite receivers. The decision stems from a 2008 request by the Hollywood studios which asked for the power to block analog outputs which lack copyright protection and can be recorded from freely. Blocking these analog ports is an anti-piracy measure that would force television programming to play back via digital outputs which have copyright protection to prevent the recording of the video signal. This power to shut down the analog hole would only be used for first run content which, according to the studios, has the highest rate of piracy. Blocking this potential avenue for piracy would allow the studios to bring new content to the viewing audience sooner as well. New releases in exchange for Hollywood control of home entertainment equipment, sounds like a deal with the devil great decision, no? More →
Changeover day came and went this past Friday and while the vast majority of the country likely didn’t even notice, a handful of people were in for a rude awakening as analog broadcasts ended. Over the past week, the FCC’s official help line received about 700,000 calls — 347,450 on Friday alone — regarding issues leading up to and following the changeover. About a third of Friday’s calls were from people still looking for coupons to help pay for digital converter boxes and another third were from people having trouble operating their converters. About 20 percent of the calls were regarding reception issues. Michael Copps, acting FCC Chairman, had this to say regarding the tidal wave of calls:
Our job is far from over. This transition is not a one-day affair. We have known about re-scanning and reception issues for some time and have been doing our best to get the word out.
Re-scanning, as Copps mentioned, is said to resolve reception issues a great deal of the time. So, if Grandma decides to call you for tech support rather than dialing up 1-888-CALL-FCC, that should likely be the first stop on the troubleshooting train. As for BGR readers, we imagine most if not all of you have already been enjoying some kind of digital broadcast for years now. There are always a few stragglers though — anyone caught with their pants down this past Friday? Figuratively, that is.
Today is the day our grandparents have been dreading for quite some time now — that is, if they even knew DTV was on its way. Today is Friday, June 12th, and the switch from analog to digital TV is upon us. While those of us with modern sets and digital cable/satellite/etc have nothing to worry about of course, the generation of analog signals and Rabbit Ears may not be prepared. Then again, if you’re like some of us here at BGR, your grandparents have way more intense set ups than you and it makes you feel a tad uncomfortable. Moving along, it’s estimated that around 3 million US households are not prepared for the switch so Oprah, don’t be surprised if your numbers drop off for a short while. As for the rest of us, if your grandfather is threatening to cut you out of the will unless you come fix his box so he can watch the talkies again, the FCC’s DTV website is a good place for you to start.
Hey Canucks! What you see in all those pretty colors are areas where there was analog coverage (in green), and the new digital coverage area. Seems like the digital coverage is slightly better than analog, but there will be those green areas which won’t have digital coverage… worrisome for those emergency situations requiring a quick emergency dial. Folks with analog devices will get brand-spankin’ new digital ones free of charge – free is always sweet. The cost of keeping up the analog equipment wasn’t cost-effective, hence the shutdown, and hopefully all of you living in the small areas left in the dark will be accommodated soon.
Thanks, Roger A!