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Other sides to the story

January 29, 2009 - Rob Weaver
You've probably heard that there are two sides to every story. It may be shocking to hear this from a journalist, but that's not entirely true.
More accurately, there are at least two sides to every story. More often, there are dozens. Or hundreds. Or thousands.
That's because issues, when viewed through the individual lens of personal experience, are can be highly nuanced. For example, the last U.S. presidential election essentially came down to two choices — Barack Obama and John McCain — but there were 69,456,897 different reasons the majority of voters opted for Obama.
Recent debate over whether to extend the deadline for the transition to digital television broadcasts largely ignored at least two sides of the issue. In the Senate, discussion of the changeover — actually, the date to halt broadcasting of analog television signals — focused on the households unprepared for the switch. Few comments acknowledged what it would cost for broadcasters to postpone the switch until June. PBS estimated a delay would cost $22 million.
More importantly, there is the reason for the change itself: Digital broadcast signals are more compact, meaning a TV station can digitally broadcast its main programming, plus a few extra digital signals, and use less bandwidth than the original analog signal.
Thus, the switch should free up more of the broadcast spectrum for other uses.
About 95 percent of the country is ready for the changeover. The remaining 5 percent — a demographic including people who can well afford a converter box, if needed — still have 19 days to prepare for it.


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