HD TV and the Choices we make

Today I was listening to one of my favorite talk radio shows, I could not believe my…. ears… as the topic shifted from floods and politics to HDTV conversion.
As you know, come February your TV is supposed to look better as it will be High Definition… not really the point here.
A caller was upset that he was being “Forced” to buy a converter box or a new TV. The host of the show was dumbfounded in the attitude of the caller in his insistence that “the Man” was forcing him into something he did not need…not want.
As I listened I too became perplexed at this callers attitude. I could not believe that he really had that mind set. I mean… Does he still use an 8 track player? Beta Movies? Atari?
Times and technology changes and with that change we either change or…. Not. But no one forces this change on us.
The caller is not “forced”to watch TV. He is not “Forced” to buy a new one.
He is not “Forced” to listen to music on CD’s or an Ipod… He can use his 8 Track player until it no longer plays… or he gets tired of scratchy Lynard Skynard tunes. No one forces him to do anything.
And then I thought, geez we just had this conversation with some of the Scouts in our Troop. You see, a young Scout and I had a chat the other night about some up coming Troop activities. Next weekend the Troop is hitting the mountain for some high adventure cold weather camping. This Scout in question stated that he did not want to camp in the snow. I told him that he did not have to go if he did not want to. He looked at me expecting me to beg him to go. That was not going to happen, as much the caller to the Radio show was not going to be begged into buying a new TV or a CD Player. We do not force our Scouts to do anything, they can come and go as they please, we expect things of them if they choose to participate, but the choice is theirs to make.
Do I buy a new TV for a better picture? Do I trade my 8 track collection for better sounding CD’s? Do I go on the 50 miler for a great backpacking experience or take advantage of a fantastic summer camp program? Do I get involved with my Troop and learn about leadership and service or do I just stand against the wall of change and let the world pass them buy? All choices, and choices that we allow them to make.

Nothing is forced in Scouting. If a boy wants to set goals and become an Eagle Scout, go on 50 milers, learn about astronomy, become a leader, we provide the opportunity. That’s all.. just opportunities.
So the caller has a choice to make, a new TV or converter box. Or stay with the old and not take advantage of the world that is happening now. Just like in Scouting. Make a choice, but live with the choice you make.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. Just a point of clarification, if I may. From the DTV.gov website: “On February 17, 2009 all full-power broadcast television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting on analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital.” It’s not really about HDTV but about analog vs digital signals.To be able to receive over-the-air TV signals will require this converter box. And if you have an old TV, the picture will look about the same. If you decide to get one of these converter boxes and you already have an HDTV, it may look about the same. A lot depends on if your local TV station is broadcasting an HDTV signal and you have a converter box, too. Just getting a converter box doesn’t mean that you’ll get an improved, HDTV picture.What’s different about this new digital signal argument from the VHS/Beta war or even the ongoing 8-track/cassette/CD/MP3 wars is that this one was mandated by legislation. The consumer didn’t get to decide (like in the other format choices). That’s why the government (you and I) are paying to offset the costs of these converter boxes ( https://www.dtv2009.gov/ ) So the argument that the conversion from analog to digital TV is the same as the conversion from 8-track to CDs isn’t really a valid one. Having said all that, I largely agree with your posting. Watching TV is a lifestyle choice. My household is choosing not to get a converter box. What this means is that we will continue to not regularly watch broadcast TV. Those few times we want to catch a football game or some news event, we’ll need to turn to the Internet, I suppose. And that’s a lifestyle choice. Just like it was when I updated my cassettes to vinyl and from vinyl to CD and from CDs to MP3s. Being able to watch my analog TV signal, though? The government is taking that away from me.Our society seems to have forgotten what a choice is. We are not entitled to (many of) of the choices we make! We (largely) choose where we live, what we wear, if we drink coffee from home or high-priced stuff from some boutique coffee shop. We choose to watch TV and we choose if we will get cable.


  2. While I agree with your position to the Scout in regards to winter camping, I am in disagreement on the HDTV issue. Does my rotary-dial phone still work? Yes. If I dug out the Atari 2600 from the attic, will it work on any of my TVs? Yes.Does the black-and-white TV in my garage still work today? Yes.Will that B&W TV work February 18th? No.I embrace change, and I do have a CD and DVD collection, but I still have some cherished vinyl LPs and a few VCR tapes, too. I find it objectionable that the federal government mandated we must accept this change of technology if we wanted to watch any television.


  3. While Jeffery beat me to the punch in the DTV vs HDTV in your post he did forget one important point in the entire issue…the move to Digital is also clearing up the ‘lower register’ of broadcast wavelengths. This has been a major issue since 9-11 with interference on emergency radios and communications systems. This is not a 8track vs cassette or VHS vs Beta fight. This is the government cleaning up it’s own house. While the air waves are ours, the government regulates them and this is a good move. Plus they are giving us that need a converter the money to buy it (we got one at Sam’s Club for 5.00 after using our 40 coupon).This move will not only clear that up but create such a surplus in frequency that several communication organizations (like Google and Microsoft) to use a portion of that bandwidth to create a nation-wide free WiFi service! Google WHITE SPACE for more info…


  4. I think a lot of America have forgotten the true definitions of rights, privileges and necessities.Here you you listened to a man complain about the privilege of watching TV. He has the right to buy the converter box or a new and probably much better TV. But he obviously sees watching TV as a necessity. Similar to many of today’s children with their cell phones. The issue of rights, privileges, necessities and how my generation and beyond view them is a rant that has been building in me since my 7th Grade year in school.Just to clear this up for people:Food, Water, basic clothing, and shelter are necessities. Necessities are what is required to survive. Any phone, TV, computer, internet use, Air conditioning, etc are privileges for which you have the right to work hard and purchase because you have the opportunity.


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