Originally Posted by wmcbrine
Hell, they don't even make DVD players with RF out.
I know that, but it's not the same thing. The assumption is that RF only sets are old technology and it's not cost effective for DVD players to support something that will merely downgrade their signal, and do so for people who tend not to upgrade technology anyway.
On the other hand, the plan is to tell all people with analog sets that their only option will be to get an STB if they want their set to work once analog is turned off.
If no such boxes exist that work with RF only sets, then there will be an outcry from people who can no longer watch TV. Chances are that Congress would put off dropping analog, which will give stations less incentive to concentrate on digital.
If companies can make VCRs with all the moving parts and spinning heads, RF output, and a tuner card (which few use since most people can't even figure out how to set the clock, let alone record with it) and keep it in the $35 range then making an HDTV box with RF out and everything else should be doable and affordable as long as the market is there.
There are people who already had cable and dishes at one end of the spectrum, and people who had only analog broadcast at the other end. The ones at that end are the most likely candidates to continue wanting OTA broadcasts and are the biggest untapped potential market for STBs. On the other hand, people who already have a dish or digital cable who found that most sets had no tuner, the stores didn't even want to sell them a tuner, there were few HD stations when they bought their HD monitor and an HD tuner is becoming a larger and larger cost in proportion to the price of an HD monitor, may not be jumping into the market for an HD box anyway.
So, while there may not be a big enough market for DVD players with RF output to justify the cost of adding that feature to the line, the same will not be true for owners of analog sets who will need to migrate or lose everything.
And those who have an alternate feed will find in a year or two that they can buy a new 25 inch set for their bedroom for under $250 anyway, and it will have a built in tuner. So the idea of buying a current technology STB at today's prices will not be an option. Those who spent $20,000 on an HD monitor in the beginning either don't care about the cost of an HD box, or use an alternate feed anyway and don't care, but are less likely to run out after the fact to buy an STB now. So unlike a DVD player, the analog TV owners could be the biggest market for STBs by far.
I also noticed that many stores have a crappy feed into their HD monitors, and an STB would blow it away. So getting STBs into the hands of people years ago would have been a good strategy to get them to upgrade their monitors once they saw what they were missing.