A brief history of HDTV:
Broadcast Industry asks for bandwidth for HDTV
FCC says "OK, we'll set aside bandwidth for HDTV"
FCC says "What standards?"
Industry says 'No Standards Please' and come up with EIGHTEEN recommended formats for HDTV. I am not shitting you.
FCC says "Isn't 18 different standards a bit much?"
Industry says "Shut the fuck up FCC, we know what we are doing. The 'market' will handle this!"
Consumer Electronics dudes whine "18 formats make every thing cost more, you are fucking us!"
FCC says "OK, it's your call on standards, 18 formats is fine, infact there are NO STANDARDS AT ALL, 'cause we are letting the 'market decide', but you start broadcasting HDTV now or we take back the FREE bandwidth."
Industry says "What? We really just want the free bandwidth. You really want us to do HDTV??
Congress says "Fuck you Industry. Broadcast HDTV or we'll legislate your asses back to Sun-day!"
Industry says "We're fucked. 18 formats? Why the hell did we do that? Let's change it."
Consumer Electronics dudes say "You ain't changing shit. We are already building the boxes you said you wanted built."
FCC says "Yah, ya boneheads we told you 18 was too many, now you gotta live with it."
Industry says "Well FCC, will you at least make the cable companies carry the HDTV at no charge?"
Cable companies say "Fuck you! You gotta pay! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!"
FCC says "Yep, no federal mandated on HDTV must carry, we are letting 'the market' handle that"
Industry says "We are so fucked. We are spending 5-10 million per TV station in hardware alone and have 1000 HDTV viewers per city, even in LA!"
Consumer at home says "Where is my HDTV? Why does it cost so much? Fuck it, I'm sticking with cable/DirecTV."
Consumer electronics dudes, broadcast industry, FCC, and congress all cry. Cable companies laugh and make even bigger profits.