This chapter examines the transcultural political economy of television-set production as the US and other countries made the transition to the digital television platform. The complexity of technical standards for digital television, the proliferation of free-trade policies, and the globalization of production have reconstituted the context of consumer electronics manufacturing and thus have deeply impacted the making and consumption of TV sets. The chapter will focus on the emerging “Silicon Border” along the US–Mexico divide and on the ways in which labor, trade, and new technologies continue to intersect with the material conditions of race, gender, and immigration in the digital era.
This chapter examines the transcultural political economy of television-set production as the US (and other countries) made the transition to a digital television (DTV) platform. There was a time in the US when multiple stakeholders looked to digital-television production both as a problem and as a solution. In 1989 the US Congress began discussing the emergence of advanced television technologies. At stake, according to congressional leaders, were the national security and the gross national product (GNP), and both were at great risk if the US did not take a lead in the emerging era of digital communications (United States Congress, 1989a, 1989b, 1989c). During the same period there was a scare, especially among over-the-air ...