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February 1993


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Benjamin Leontief Alpers <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 23 Feb 1993 13:25:18 EST
text/plain (19 lines)
Michael Kuentz suggests that my nightmare scenario of HDTV control is not that
much different from what we have today.  I would agree.  The difference is, as
the startup costs for broadcasting get higher and higher, the lock-hold of
corporate control over the airwaves grows.  Radio is a very cheap technology
for independent citizens to take advantage of (tho' to do so over FM or AM
without hard-to-get FCC approval is, of course, against the law).  TV is much
more expensive.  I know of a number of "pirate" over-the-air radio stations;
I know of no such TV stations.  HDTV would be still more expensive.  If
people around the world get 90% of their information from their HDTV sets,
the economics of HDTV would severely limit the sources of that information.
The danger here is not HDTV per se, but the (perceived) continual need to
overhaul world communications technology.  Technological development both
makes current technologies cheaper (which is at least potentially democratizing
) and creates new more expensive technologies (which continue the "natural"
media oligopoly).
-- Ben Alpers
   Princeton University (whose thoughts and ideas the above does not represent)