56. A Year with No TV

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Starting in February 2009, broadcasts of all TV signals will be digital, replacing current analog signals. For people who have cable or satellite TV, this is a non-issue, because their reception will not be affected. But people who use rabbit ears or outside antennas won't be able to receive the new digital signals. They'll have to buy a converter for each TV, which will cost about $50 each. For Chris, that was too much.

Instead, Chris was simply going to give his two TVs away to a thrift shop. Then he would wait until the prices went way down on digital tuner TVs, and buy one when the price was right. He loaded the TVs into his car.

The lady at the thrift shop wasn't interested at first. She changed her mind when he said that they were only 13" TVs, and that they worked perfectly. He was relieved when she accepted them. Had she not, he would have had to deposit them at a hazardous waste facility, which meant waiting in line, in his car, for hours on end.

Chris got home feeling good. Now he was going to enjoy at least a year of no TV. The "idiot box" was a good name for that waste of electricity. He felt like a new man for having got rid of his two TVs. When Donna called that night, he proudly told her the news. Donna, whose native language was Chinese, was not happy.

"What do you mean, you have no TV?" she yelled over the phone. "How are you going to teach me anything when I call to ask you about new vocabulary on the 11 o'clock news?" She had a few more things to say. Chris sighed. When she finished, he promised her he would buy a new digital TV the very next day.


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