Analog cable viewers await FCC decisionMonday, September 10th, 2007
After tomorrow, subscribers to plain-old cable service may finally be assured of continued access to local stations. Cable carriage of local channels after completion of the digital TV transition will be addressed at the FCC’s public meeting on Tuesday, and commissioners might just approve a proposal from Chairman Kevin Martin to require cable operators to set aside enough channel slots to provide stations in both digital and analog form. If such a measure moves forward, customers without digital cable service would still be able to watch local stations on conventional television sets without needing to add a digital cable box.
After the shutdown of analog TV broadcasts on February 17, 2009, cable customers are likely to continue receiving most or all of the local stations they receive today, one way or another. The details remain uncertain, however, despite a reported $200 million advertising campaign launched by the cable TV industry last week intended to assure cable subscribers that everything will be fine.
I would not like to see cable customers saddled with digital cable set-top boxes that they would not otherwise need—a senseless waste of energy that would probably also stick consumers with additional monthly fees.
But a solution imposed by the FCC may also harm consumers. Read the rest of this entry »