But let's not forget that these stations are already transmitting on one set of frequencies and have essentially been given (at taxpayer's expense) another set of frequencies to broadcast a digital signal
Yes I agree, but in all reality, it did not cost us taxpayers anything, it is just unrealized or defered revenue for the government. However, it does cost them real money to broadcast both signals and there was significant up front cost for new transmission equipment. Until there are enough digital receivers for them to shut off the NTSC transmission they are strapped with double the overhead cost of transmission.
Regardless of what you and I would like, this is what they have to deal with.
Let's consider this. Everyone complains about WHDH not broadcasting HD. The number I see being thrown around is about $100,000 to transmit the digitial signal for a year. If the cost to WHDH of an HD encoder is $75-90,000, would you prefer a full 24 hour SD digital broadcast or lessened hours and have them put the money saved into getting the encoder? (assuming they would)