Saturday, January 24, 2009

Episode 9 - 1 2 3 4 I Declare A Digital TV Format War

We sat down with a lovely bottle of gin and discussed the upcoming (or completed, depending on your country) Digital TV transition. Now of course Ken and I are well aware that it is not really a format war, but this transition has some of the hallmarks of so many other format wars.

People are going to wake up one day and find out their stuff does not work, or does not work the way they expected, the public education campaigns notwithstanding. It would be like it I had a few crates of old records and found out I had nothing to play them on, wait, that happened to me...

The digital divide comes up here. Indeed, the poor, the old (and the old poor I guess...) will probably be most negatively affected by the transition. This reminded me of an episode of Sliders, I beleive I was the only person ever to watch Sliders... Cable companies have jumped on this bandwagon as well, they seem to be subtly or none too subtly telling people they need digital cable. Of course you do not.

Ken mocked me for not having enough HDMI ports on my TV. I have 2 TVs with HDMI ports though, so I think I win.

One wonders how much all of this will affect people once the TV becomes more of just a place to show content, no matter where it comes from, rather than something for receiving just TV signals. This is happening now with TVs, you know, streaming from your xbox, that sort of thing. Isabelle then brought up a great point, the CRTC and the FCC for example, do NOT control the net. This may be a huge change, especially here in Canada where Canadian content rules are strictly enforced.

This led us to discuss 3D TV which we think is stupid, but hey what about the holodeck? The holodeck is cool, and really is not that dissimilar to what people today call serious games.

Special thanks to Tom Merritt of CNET for all of the recent plugs, and welcome to all the new listeners.

Enjoy episode 9.


Anonymous said...

The biggest problem of the digital conversion, to me, is that with analog tv, someone with weak over-the-air reception could still "watch" tv, snow-and-shadow filled though it might be. With digital, they get nothing, even with a new antenna and converter box--even with a brand new digital tv, if it comes to that. Which means that there is a not-inconsiderable number of people who will now either have to pay for television, or do without altogether--and many of them cannot afford to pay.

Unknown said...

Yeah that is a good point. Digital tv is an all or none phenomenon. It will, apparently, be less of a problem once the digital transmitters become more high powered (right now they tend to be low power transmitters, but they should switch once switch over happens, whenever that ends up being).