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Move over Obama-phones. Here comes Peña Neito-vision!

23 February 2014

Via Bloomberg-BusinessWeek:

The Mexican government plans to provide free high-definition televisions to low-income households to speed along its transition to digital broadcasts.

The project is starting with a pilot program in Tamaulipas state to distribute 120,000 TVs from two suppliers, Foxconn Technology Group and Diamond Electronics, the Communications and Transportation Ministry said yesterday in a statement. In May, the government will solicit bids for nationwide TV distribution.

Photo by Dai Sugano via

Photo by Dai Sugano via

As in the U.S. and elsewhere, television broadcasting is moving from analog todigital, and — even more than in the United States — people felt they would be “forced” into a major purchases they could ill afford. In a country where more families have a television than a refrigerator, and where ninety percent of the people get their news from television (and — alas — ninety percent of the news is by just two networks), having a television is more or less a necessity… or at least perceived as one.

While in the U.S., there was a program to provide “coupons” for converters, the similar “pilot program” in Tijuana to distribute converters was something of a cock-up. The converter boxes were imports, and some came with instructions in Mandarin or English, rather than Spanish. Since televisions are made in Mexico… and where there is hope of revising what was once a promising Mexican electronics industry, a government program to buy the not particularly popular 24″ screen televisions makes a lot of sense. Especially given that the televisions are manufactured in Mexico (although the corporations are are foreign-owned: Taiwanese Foxconn at a plant in Chihuahua, and Chinese owned Diamond Electronics in Baja California), and having all the extras of new televisions, including “HDMI and USB ports to connect with other devices and the Internet” are meant to stimulate growth in other electronics sales (as well as televisions themselves, as Mexicans go to bigger and bigger and bigger TVs… I replaced my 14″ analog TV with a 36″ smartTV, which was the smallest size in the store), dish or cable services, as well as computers and internet access.

This should have a positive effect on industry, and make more information available to more Mexicans, but what the effect all those new excuses for sitting on our butts will have on the national drive for more exercise and active living is something I don’t want to contemplate.

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