2008: Looking Ahead
TV Technology NewsBytes
wishes its readers a joyous and peaceful holiday season with some break, somehow, from their professional obligations, all while keeping the signals going 24-7.
A malfunctioning piece of time-shifting technology somehow gave us a peek at some of next December’s year-end wrap up stories. So, here’s what happened in 2008, it turns out.January
The NTIA starts accepting applications for the $40 coupons for digital-to-analog converter boxes. The FCC issues streamlined rules on broadcasters’ final DTV buildout, giving them the flexibility they’ve been asking for.February
Critics of media consolidation call for more studies on the matter.March
The writers’ strike continues, and networks find innovative and exploitative ways to come up with content. TMZ becomes the most popular show on television, spawning imitators and creating a whole nation of would-be paparazzi. At the Academy Awards, a deranged celebrity drops a cluster of F-bombs and the indecency issue is thrust into the presidential campaign.April
At The NAB Show, broadcasters figure the industry can be saved with a new technology that beams ads directly into the brains of home viewers, even when their TVs are off. May
Fighting to keep his status as Republican frontrunner, Mike Huckabee calls John McCain weak on indecency. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wakes up in the middle of the night and thinks of three new ways to regulate cable that none of us even thought of before.June
A federal court remands the newspaper-ownership cross-ownership ban back to the FCC, saying that the tests to approve a merger are too easily gamed by clever lawyers.July
Critics of media consolidation call for more studies on the matter.August
The FCC issues rules allowing unlicensed mobile devices in the DTV white space. Microsoft and Google compare the day to the first Moon landing and Archimedes discovering the telescope.September
Confused by a bombardment of messages about DTV, consumers decide to wait till February 2009 just to see if they really lose free analog TV.October
Broadcasters frantically create new Web sites and crank out new multicast channels, just to have more places to sell political ads.November
In an election shocker, the anti-Establishment ticket of Ron Paul and Mike Gravel trounces both the Clinton-Biden ticket and the Republican offering of Alan Keyes and Duncan Hunter.December
Second-generation, fun-styled digital-to-analog converter boxes are the surprise holiday gift blockbuster. President-elect Paul says he wants to disband the FCC and have no RF licenses—just a free-market, strongest-signal-wins free-for-all.
Let’s hope some of these aren’t quite right.