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America

The DTV Switchover Scam: Don’t Get Taken!

By business, news, opinion, rants, sarcasm, technology

You’ve probably seen those not-so-creative TV advertisements the National Association Of Broadcasters has put out in an effort to scare inform the general public about how their TVs will no longer work after February 17, 2009. Why? The federal government has mandated that all over-the-air stations turn off their analog signals by that date. The government has auctioned off the analog spectrum to private companies. For more on this, see my post, “AT&T To Bring Free Wi-Fi To Starbucks And Beyond!” where you can learn more about the plans.

Anyway, leave it to Corporate America to capitalize on consumer confusion and take advantage of all of the many people who don’t know anything about what’s really going on with the digital switchover.

Oh, before I go any further, please notice the picture on the left. I added my own caption commentary, but the picture is for real. It’s on the joke-of-a-website DTVAnswers.com. Lets have a moment of honesty and self-reflection here. Do you or anyone you know watch TV like this? Unless they just gambled their life savings on a horse race and just won, there is no way they could be this scary-happy without hard drugs. But I digress.

These TV ads are putting many people in a frenzy. My friend’s family just replaced every TV in their house because they thought without a new TV, each with a digital box connected to it, they wouldn’t be able to watch TV anymore. They already had Comcast standard cable, but they thought they needed both new TVs and to upgrade to Comcast’s digital package (hence the digital boxes) to receive programming. Comcast’s boxes and the ones the government is offering are completely different! The cable industry is raking in the big bucks this year because of misinformed people such as this family.

My grandparents recently got a second digital box from Comcast for their second TV because of the same confusion. I know there must be countless other individuals doing the same thing and flushing money down the tubes to these companies who are using shady advertising tactics to trick consumers. Don’t get screwed over by the cable industry. Here are the cold, hard facts.

If you’re one of the diminishing number of people who uses “rabbit ears” to pick up local broadcast stations and have a TV that’s more than a couple of years old, you won’t be able to pick up the signal after February 17, 2009, without a digital set-top converter box (available free or at a discount rate from the government). If you have cable from any provider at all, such as Comcast or Verizon, you don’t have to do anything. You’re not affected in any way, shape, or form, and don’t let them convince you otherwise.

The government isn’t very clear about who’s affected either. Is this Bush’s backdoor plan to help the economy by helping manufacturers selling millions of dollars TVs and related equipment and the cable and satellite industry make record profits? Okay, probably not. But that is what’s happening in these industries. Don’t get taken!

 

Green Wednesday: Bottled Water

By Uncategorized

Introductory note: Our environment is at a tipping point. In the next couple years, we have the opportunity to change the way we live our lives and stop global warming, and if not, face the irreversible consequences. Every week, I’ll have a new post on what you can do to help save our planet.

Bottled water. We’ve all drank it before. It’s convenient and refreshing, but the environmental effects are tremendous. Each day, 40 million plastic water bottles are dumped into America’s landfills, as they have a low recycling rate. They also take more energy to recycle than would be saved by recycling them in the first place. Furthermore, there’s controversy in many developing nations with major bottling companies taking the precious, small water supplies from those who need it and selling it for profit. Bottled water also costs, on average, 1,000 times more than tap water, and usually is no more beneficial or better tasting. It also has the risk of contamination.

New York City recently started a campaign promoting the city’s tap water and as of a few weeks ago had plans to open up tap water stations where citizens could fill up their own reusable bottles. There has also been talk of a total ban on the sale of bottled water. Any way you look at it, there’s just no benefit to bottled water. And if all these reasons weren’t enough, look at this one last humorous reason: I don’t know if it’s just me (I would notice things like this), but have you ever noticed that one of the major brands, Evian, spells naive backwards? Interesting, huh? Could be a message to all you bottled water consumers.