Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Post-Hot Odds and Ends

Now back to our regularly scheduled seriousness ...

Speaking of regular schedules, more than half of U.S. TV stations will shutdown their analog signals February 17th, as originally planned, according to USAToday.

Though President Barack Obama wanted to delay the switch from analog to digital until June, many stations in small and medium sized cities will shut down analog signals in February. The major broadcast networks, mostly in larger cities, have pushed their plans back to June 12th.

On a personal, selfish note, I would love it if they would go ahead and make the switch in February. I've made the switch and though most of my channels come in crystal clear, Channel 5 — yes, Joe Birch, I'm talking to you — generally looks like a cubist painting.

I'm talking blocks of color, maybe you can make out a face or a sitcom set, but mostly not. And I've heard, though I don't have this confirmed, that they're not yet broadcasting their digital signal at full strength.

On a more unselfish note, waiting is probably not a bad idea. It doesn't hurt anyone to wait, and it gives people who aren't ready a little more time to get there. All the funding for the converter box coupon program has been used. I think the boxes cost about $50 and though that's not a huge amount, I could see it being cost-prohibitive, especially now.

Last month, statistics showed that about 5 percent of U.S. households weren't ready for the switch. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it comes to about 5.8 million families.

You could say, TV is a luxury, and that's true. But when you think about how many people get their news from television (I hate to admit it, but it's true), it behooves us to make sure they don't get left behind.

— Here's another interesting story, also from USAToday: A Chinese house-hunting group is looking for the American dream, at a bargain.

"More than 40 affluent house hunters from across China will begin a trip to Boston, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles on Feb. 24 in search of cheap homes to buy. Their goal: to find investment property and housing their children could use when they go to the USA to study or work. Their budget: $300,000 to $800,000 apiece."

— "Not to freak you out or anything," says a Slate reporter at the beginning of a piece about regenerating — and potentially immortal — jellyfish. Having watched the video, I can say that, yes, it does freak me out. It is freaky!

Did I say we were going back to seriousness? I think I might have lied. Sorry, an immortal jellyfish is too good (bad?) not to share.

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