Thursday, September 25, 2008

Senate to Hear Update on Switch to Digital TV

What is that you say, the switch of analog to digital is not going smoothly. So far, the test in Wilmington has finally caused some to see get concerned. In fact, word is that the Oscar telecast may want to move its award show to March from late February days after the conversion date. "The country will make the transition on Feb. 17, when TV stations will no longer broadcast analog signals. Older TVs will not be able to use the new digital signal, and a person who does not buy a new digital-ready TV or a converter box will not receive TV programs."

This conversion may be the final straw that makes television no longer "free" as consumers may feel "encouraged" to seek out a cable, satellite, or telco provider, rather than convert their set to receive over the air, digital signals. Will this conversion happen as scheduled or will it get delayed. And when it occurs, what will the true impact be and what repercussions will it have. Either way, it is sure to be a bumpy ride.

ISPs: Video Flood Will Drive Tiered Broadband Pricing

It now seems that ISP providers want to put a meter on usage. It certainly starts to make bit streams sound like a utility; your water and electric meter being read every month to determine what your bill is going to be. I still recall the days when your telephone calls were measured by minutes and you needed to be very careful, especially if calling "long distance". But wait, aren't those days over. Telephone bills are an all you can eat model, US and Canada, for one low price. Even some cell carriers allow all the calls you can make to other cell phones, and unlimited nights and weekends.

And now ISPs want to turn back that clock, from one low price for an unlimited, "always on", connection to a usage pricing plan. Is it possible to put the cat back into the bag? In this new competitive world, I say it seems unlikely. The moment your cable ISP changes pricing plans is the moment the consumer takes a serious look at their telco competitor. The provider that keeps their pricing low will see a competitive edge, especially in this current economic state. While they have made the internet connection as important to a household as water and gas, consumers will be proactive to switch providers when pricing plans change. The solution is more efficient technology solutions, not caps or pricing penalties. This issue may just be the turning point in this competitive race.