Wednesday, August 20, 2008

FOCUS!

With less than six months to go before the completion of the U.S.A's digital transition, it's time to make some more adjustments to this blog's range of coverage. I've always included stuff (such as the progress of HD) that was not directly related to the transition, but which I thought would be of interest to transition-watchers. The result has been extremely long (by todays A.D.D. standards) monthly updates, and the fact is that some of this (such as just about everything hardware-related) is done much better by others.

I am currently at work on the 29th monthly update since I started the series with "34 Months and Counting". For more than two years, this blog has taken up the bulk of my free time, and I've been putting too many other things on hold for way too long. So, I'm hoping to get a little of that time back starting with the current update, and also make said updates a bit less of a slog to get through at the same time (and hopefully a bit more current as well). There's no way of knowing until I've done one whether I'll actually save a significant amount of time and space, but it's worth trying.

As for specifics, here's what's on the chopping block, and what's being kept, by section.

PUBLIC - No real change here. The public's awareness of and reaction to the transition is the heart of this story.

GOVERNMENT - Much of the non-transition related news in this section is going away. This includes issues such as net neutrality and congressional investigations of Kevin Martin's overall job performance. Transition-related matters such as the converter-box program will still be covered, as well as the "must carry" issue (which affects providers' bandwidth management).

BROADCASTERS - Retransmission-consent issues will no longer be covered. For the time being, I'll still be looking at the spread of HD programming (including local newscasts).

PROGRAM PROVIDERS - The struggles of various providers to manage their bandwidth to bring the ever-growing number of HD channels to their customers will still have a place here, but perhaps with a bit less detail as to who added what channel this month (actually, I've been moving in that direction the last couple of months). The endless lawsuits between provider A and provider B will get a lot less coverage, perhaps none at all (depends on the underlying issue). I'll be doing less on the statewide-franchising beat. And while digital technology has opened some interesting non-traditional options for getting our programming, you won't be seeing as much coverage of that either. In general, I'll be more picky.

HD NETWORKS - The general concept won't change much, but here's another area where I might be somewhat more choosy.

MANUFACTURERS - Here's the big change. I am dropping this section altogether. I am essentially not a hardware guy, which has made this section the hardest and longest to write. My main interests in writing this blog have been the sociopolitical aspects of the transition and the evolution of HD programming, not the technical details of the equipment that delivers said programming. With the conclusion of the Format War, I've come to realize that I'm just not all that interested in the fortunes of all the competing display technologies, and while the struggle of Blu-ray vs. DVD still has my attention, here's another area that is covered much better by others.

So, expect the next update to be somewhat shorter. I'm not sure whether this one I'm working on now will get out sooner than usual (with the whole Wilmington thing and its associated posts going on at the same time), but starting next month I expect to come out at least a couple of days closer to the 17th, at least until things start to get really hot (which I think would be around the end of the year).

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