You’ve got to hand it to Bob Gessner of Massillon Cable TV.
He is the driving force behind the Save Our Sets (SOS) coalition, which now has a Web site and a neat life preserver logo and a pitch to save the landfills from all those analog sets untethered to DVD’s or cable or satellite that will become large paperweights after the DTV transition, perhaps used to hold down all those converter box coupons.
The "green" card is a good one to play. Every company under the solar collector-feeding sun is loudly and proudly going green, though I was sorry to hear that Fox’s pitch for a "green carpet" at the Emmy’s was nixed by sticks in the mud (or is that ‘tar pits?’) out in LaLa Land.
The SOS coalition proposes that cable operators be allowed to voluntarily connect consumers with analog TV sets and without multichannel video service, to the cable system and deliver them their local channels in analog, free, for seven years. That "free" word is a definite conversation-starter, though some observers have mistaken that offer to be for the full boat of cable offerings. It would only be for the handful of TV channels.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has not been high on the prospect of allowing cable to downconvert the DTV signal since the DTV transition is about DTV, and preferably the even higher-resulotion HDTV, rather than continuing to deliver analog, but this might yet be a foot in the door over at the Portals.
Cable operators would collect vouchers for all those digital-to-ananlog converter boxes, since the viewers would be getting a signal converted by the cable operator. Then the cable operator would turn them back into the government, which could save money by reusing them. The cable operator would not, repeat, would not, let the loose on a black market in coupons that some Republicans feared could emerge.
If the cable operators agree to carry all of a broadcaster’s multicast DTV signals, they would be freed from any retransmission consent obligations.
That last is the key provision for cable, followed closely by the "free" connection to all those subs that could be upsold to cable service once they have them in the tent.