The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Friday, May 23, 2008

Digital TV in Los Angeles

5-23-08 Digital TV in Los Angeles

Earlier in the month, I got a Digital TV converter box for my aged Sony 27” television that sits in my living room. I used a $40 off coupon to buy the box, making it under $30. I took it home and hooked it up in less than three minutes. My eyes widened as I saw the number of channels being ‘added’ – more than 50!

I haven’t cared about broadcast television in a while. I was all excited in the 80’s, because we got a 15 foot C-Band satellite dish – and tons of stuff was free at that time. As the 90’s encroached, they started encrypting almost everything up on the satellites. Now I have a big white elephant up on my roof.

Cut to Spring, 2008 – all of the analogue broadcast TV is going to be shut off next February. If your TV does not have a digital tuner, you must buy one of the converter boxes to make your pre-digital TV work…at all.

It’s very cool having access to about a dozen PBS stations! But the channel that caught my eye is “Bohemian Visual Music” on KDOC-DT 56.3

Looks like I now have access to a 24-hour a day free music video channel! Imagine my surprise when I saw “Brain Follies” on their schedule – made by friends-of-friends up in Portland, OR. But mostly they show plain old music videos – so far, I’ve seen some hip-hop and some ‘metal’…today, I’m air-checking it for the 8 hours that I am at work – just to see what crops up.

I have a long history with music video channels. I remember my brother climbing up the telephone pole behind our house to ‘bootleg’ cable TV – just to get MTV – when it used to show music videos all day. Next was MuchMusic, up on the Anik D6 (Canadian) satellite. Then, for a short time, VH-1 was up on the satellite for free. The jewel in the crown was Musique Plus, the Quebecois French-language music video channel. But all of these services pale in comparison with “Rage”, the Australian music video show – absolutely without question the world’s #1 music video show. A friend in Sydney sends them up to me on DVD-R’s.

I’ve never thought much about over-the-air (free) music video shows. BVM might be airing on KDOC (the Pat Boone-owned Orange County conservative TV station), but I doubt they even audition it’s content – Brain Follies!!!

So, for the first time in yonks – my regular TV is interesting to me. Oh, no matter that I now want a digital TV, and a new digital tuner DVD recorder.

Do you get a lot of free digital TV channels where you live? What do you think?


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

In the last 15 years I have watched in my home a single TV broadcast, when my sister-in-law called and breathlessly told us that a plane had just crashed into the world trade center. We dug out the 9" B&W ["Emergency Broadcast Special"] with an aerial so we could receive a signal and watched the ensuing broadcast for about 2 hours until we got sick and tired of the reiteration of hyperbolic images without any facts that is all but the living embodiment of television.

I won't be buying any converter box. I wouldn't take one for free.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous LA TV Watcher said...

One thing you got wrong, Ron.

KDOC was sold by Pat Boone and his investors a couple of years ago, and it is the new owner who instituted the "endless classics" format on the main channel and contracted for the video music on 56.3 ...

5:04 PM  

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