You've heard the official press releases, statements, and echoes of those in the Washington Post and on the tv news. "Digital TV turnover goes smoothly... ...off without a hitch ...smooth ...a few hundred complaints."
Now, with my random sample of [former] broadcast tv viewers, RobertDyer.net will bring you the real story from inside 3 homes across Montgomery County. It could have been much worse, but the change was not as "smooth" as the tv anchorpeople are telling you.
Viewer A had a tv with digital tuner, and reported having difficulty receiving channels 20 and 50. After adjusting the (costly additional) antenna, those channels are now being picked up by the TV.
Viewer B had an old tv, and bought one of those wonderful converter boxes that Big Government has been telling you about all year. That box produced poor reception and a constant buzzing sound on all channels, Viewer B reports. A different antenna may be needed.
Viewer C, like Viewer A, had a digital tv, but cannot pick up channels 4, 20, 22, 26, 32, or 50. However, the other channels received have a good picture quality and sound, Viewer C reports. Viewer C may solve the problem with some of the tedious antenna adjustments such as Viewer A went through.
We'll check back in with Viewers B & C to find out what progress they've made later in the week.
Meanwhile, your elected officials in the county did absolutely nothing to stop this absurd switchover. They did a good job of parroting the official line, when the FCC knew all along that the new tvs, tuners, and antennas are very difficult to work with. And that some homes are located in spots that will never receive a good digital signal, under any circumstances.
Can you imagine what an isolated elderly person is going through in this situation? Obviously, our congresspeople either can't, or just don't care. But then again, we have a county government that literally took the dentures away from some senior citizens in the recent budget "cuts." (I'm not making this up). So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.
Many of the stories about tvs going dark in remote areas, or in non-English speaking communities, will never be told. That's because the media is simply not going to cover those stories. They are so good at that here in the Washington area! The fact is, the Great TV Shut-off has created a small-scale public safety danger. A good number of people are now unable to receive severe weather warnings or emergency bulletins.
Worst of all, those losing channels are not just the vulnerable citizens who were hit hardest - the elderly, the poor, and immigrant communities. But just the average citizens who have a lot of now-useless tvs, or now-poorly working tvs. And the cost of these new antennas, and the time to get them working, was kept quiet all along by the government and media. It's a disgrace.
And it's brought to you by the monopoly cable companies and their friends in Rockville, Annapolis, and Washington - the politicians who get the fat checks from Comcast while allowing their monopoly practices and poor customer service to continue (such as forcing upgrades by moving channels to digital-only). They voted to make this changeover possible.