UnNews:Mexico completes switchover to HDTV

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Mexico completes switchover to HDTV

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5 December 2015

Poor people

A family opening the day's mail is delighted to find that they have won the television lottery.

CHIHUAHUA, Mexico -- Mexico will complete its transition to HDTV at the end of this month.

The transition is mandated by the recent reform of the sprawling Telecommunications section of the even-more-sprawling Mexican constitution, and will render the nation's televisions useless unless the viewer buys cable service or a decoder box. The year-end conversion is referred to here as the "apagón" (outage) so that residents will consider it as normal as the daily water shut-off.

HDTV offers benefits such as a clearer picture and higher fidelity except during sandstorms, the usual vapid programming translated into niche languages, and soap operas from the U.S. that no one watches because even Spanish language captions can't make up for the lack of low-cut dresses. The occasional channel going off the air is replaced by systemwide outages requiring bureaucrats to make vague pronouncements, for which the January 1 change-over is a mere practice. And televisions easily double as vending machines, always a welcome addition to the living room.

About 133,000 people in poverty programs will be given free HDTVs, needing only to present originals of their identification and proof of residency. For the less able, people looking like mailmen will come to the door promising free HDTVs, and some of these will actually be mailmen. The conversion will save Mexicans 1,638 million pesos per year, a clairvoyant prediction that emboldened the government to cut exactly twice the amount in subsidies. If accurate, the savings would cover the first four days of the new cable bills.

Once the change-over is complete, the nation can turn its attention to ensuring that citizens dispose of the useless old sets properly, as opposed to in the street for compacting, in the front yard where the "snow" of a channel no longer on the air will put neighbors into a Christmas mood, or in the nearest vacant lot with the other trash.

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