Originally Posted by nosrevis
What good is passthru after 2/09? What is passthru in general?
The "pass-through" being discussed with respect to these converter boxes refers to the ability of the box to receive both analog OTA and digital OTA, convert the digital to analog, then pass both the received analog signals and the converted (from digital) analog on to the analog TV.
Some people see this as a problem now. They want to use their analog TV to get the digital stations that are available right now (pre-Feb09), but if the converter box does not have the pass-through feature, they will be blocked from getting any analog stations.
But what about post-Feb09? Who cares about analog pass-through then?
All "full power" stations must turn off analog transmission and go to digital. BUT...this FCC requirement is not binding on low-power and class-A stations (there are 2,600 of them), nor is it binding on translator stations (there are 4,300 of them!). If you watch either of these types, the typical converter box will block such stations even after Feb09 since most of them will continue to broadcast OTA in analog. There is currently no FCC requirement for them to ever change to digital.
In fact the trade group for the low-power stations is on the war path against the non-pass-through boxes, which they call "illegal" converter boxes. In late Mar08 they filed suit in a DC circuit appeals court to order the FCC to prevent the marketing and distribution of non-pass-through boxes. I wish them much luck with that.
Actually, they may have a pretty good case. They site a 1962 law that requires such boxes to be "capable of adequately receiving all frequencies allocated by the FCC to television broadcasting." Hmmm...good one! I'm guessing they will lose, but it will be interesting to see how the FCC will squirm out of this.
Read more from the AP report on Yahoo
and from the low-power trade group
Aside: These guys are transmitting on the same frequencies as the high-power stations, no? And soon the FCC is going to sell those frequencies to the phone companies so we can all get more cell phones, no? (Lord knows we all need many, many more cell phones.) So how is that going to work? Is the tv power level so low it will not interfere?