When the HDTV discussion began, I thought I would have absolutely no interest
in it, but it seems to have taken an interesting turn. . .
A number of recent postings have concerned themselves with the specter of
government ownership if HDTV takes over. This seems to me to be something of a
red herring. The problem is not who WILL own HDTV as who WON'T. As Ralph
Nader likes to point out, the airwaves are owned by the public, the FCC merely
leases them. As broadcast technology becomes more expensive, and entry costs
to broadcast grow, the possibility of the average person sending signals over
the airwaves decreases. A nation which only watches HDTV will almost
necessarily have its broadcast content determined by somebody with lots of
capital - either the government or, more likely in the US, major corporations.
Already, with the rather imperfect exception of public access TV, corporations
control the airwaves; HDTV, assuming its broadcast technology is even more
expensive, will further institutionalize this arrangement. That would be
a profoundly bad thing.
-- Ben Alpers