Alina Nazarova writes here that the Russian Federation is on the way to eliminating analog television altogether. As in most countries, the process of upgrading from analog to digital TV, is a long and tedious one, involving a complete rewiring of infrastructure. Previously, the deadline had been January 1, 2019, but now it has been pushed back a couple of weeks, to mid-January. Not because the cable infrastructure isn’t in place, but because Russian consumers are notorious procrastinators. See, the consumer needs to do something too, which is to buy a new piece of equipment.
The man in charge of this project is Alexey Volin, Deputy Minister of Digital Development for the Russian Federation. (He has other titles too.) Volin, whose academic specialty is Oriental and African languages, announced that all Russian citizens must buy digital-compatible equipment before the deadline. Those who do not, will suffer a terrible punishment: They will not be able to watch television. They will be forced to read books instead, or perhaps play board games late into the evening. If these Old Believers stubbornly insist on keeping their Soviet-era analog equipment, then the day will come (pretty soon!) when they will switch on their decaying TV set and see nothing but static.
According to Volin, the Federal TV channels will continue to transmit in the analog format right up to 14-15 January, in order to give the procrastinators more time to buy the appropriate devices. The cheapest possible device they can buy costs 700-800 rubles. That sounds like a lot, but it isn’t. (In American money, it’s just over 10 bucks!)
In return for shelling out this modest amount, Russian citizens in every part of this vast nation will have the opportunity to watch 20 free channels in high-definition digital. Nor will they, Volin assures, have to pay any monthly premium for these free cable channels. “Surely I can’t conceive of any citizen who would prefer to watch three channels of poor-quality transmission, when they can get 20 channels of good-quality transmission?” Volin coaxes.
One of the commenters to the piece notes that he lives in the Far East part of Russia, and they have had digital TV there already for quite a long time. Is this one of those cases, where the hinterlands are more advanced than the metropolis?
Still, Volin is being too nice to the stragglers, in my opinion. If Peter the Great were in charge, he would have shut off the analog channels abruptly on the day he said he would; he would have chuckled cruelly to hear the people scream in despair, and then watched in glee as they rushed out of their homes to purchase the appropriate equipment.