Letters

Letters 07-06-2015

Safety on the “Bridge to Nowhere” Grant Parsons wrote an articulate column in opposition to the proposed Traverse City pier at the mouth of the Boardman River. He cites issues such as limited access, lack of parking, increased congestion, environmental degradation, and pork barrel spending of tax dollars. I would add another to this list: public safety...

Vote Carefully A recent poll showed 84% of Michiganders support increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard to at least 20% from the current 10%. Yet Representative Ray Franz has sponsored legislation to eliminate the standard. This out of touch position is reminiscent of Franz’s opposition to the Pure Michigan campaign and support for increased taxes on retirees....

Credit Where Credit Is Due I think you should do another article about the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund giving proper credit to all involved, not just Tom Washington. Many others were just as involved...

I’ve Changed My Mind The Supreme Court has determined that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions. This has happened with breathtaking suddenness. It took 246 years for Americans to decide that slavery was wrong and abolish it, but it’s been only a couple of decades since any successful attempt was made to legalize same-sex marriage, and four years since a majority of the American public supported legalization...


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Thinking outside the (Digital Converter) box

Tom Carr - February 23rd, 2009
Thinking outside the (Digital Converter) box
Tom Carr 2/23/09


We have four extra months now to buy those converter boxes being touted by the horizontally scrolling reminders on our TV screens. The deadline was supposed to be this week. Congress delayed it to June 12, as one in 20 homes has yet to buy the electronic box that will transform an analog set into a digital television.
Locally, viewers will be able to procrastinate no matter which programs they like. The station in the designated Traverse City/Cadillac market have all opted to wait until the new deadline to go completely digital, though about 500 stations throughout the country stopped analog transmission on or around Feb. 17, the first deadline.
The word analog itself almost conjures images of dust-covered vacuum tubes. It’s the way our parents and grandparents watched “The Honeymooners.” Still, it’s always been there, free and through the airwaves, even though the majority of people have cable or satellite these days.
Yet 17.3 percent of homes in the Traverse City/Cadillac TV market still get their viewing without a paid subscription. That’s above the national average of 11 percent, says Nielsen Media research.

DISCONNECTED?
So will it leave a bunch of viewers, particularly rural ones, disconnected if they don’t get that box? Or is it just a reminder that we need to keep getting the gadgets if we want to stay connected?
People have so far redeemed 22.6 million of the $40 coupons sent out by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to help with the cost of the devices that start at around $50.
Nielsen says 5.1 percent of the country is still unprepared this month.
Gail Roberts of Kingsley is one of them. She has what her father jokingly calls “Amish TV,” an analog set that receives two stations reliably. That’s plenty to bring in the school closings she wants to hear in the morning. The family has dial-up Internet, because they can still get it for $10 a month, so they don’t spend a lot of time surfing.
She doesn’t know what the future holds for her preferred sources of news – the daily newspaper and National Public Radio – particularly with the fact that the state’s two largest newspapers plan to cease seven-day delivery.
Roberts has the coupon for the converter box, but hasn’t felt compelled to buy it yet and doesn’t know if she will any time soon.
“The first time I take the kids out to get on the bus and it doesn’t arrive, then I’ll probably get a faster Internet connection,” she said.

UNPREPARED
People I’ve chatted with have said they’re concerned that the changes will leave older people in the lurch.
Yet Nielsen reports that the homes headed by someone under 35 are less prepared (8.6 percent unready) than those in the 55-and-over group (3.2 percent).
The younger group may have less disposable income than the older group, said Anne Elliot, a Nielsen spokeswoman. They can only speculate, since asking people’s reasons for their viewing habits might influence their behavior, she said.
“They may also be relying on the Internet more,” she added. “They might even be watching their favorite shows on network Web sites or services like Hulu.”
Those are educated guesses. Nielsen doesn’t ask people’s reasons, since that might influence their behavior, Elliot said.
Retirees who frequent the Traverse City Senior Center haven’t been talking much about it at all, director Lori Wells said.
“Most of them have satellite or cable,” she said.

Tom Carr is a freelance writer who uses a converter box.

 
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