I just spoke to a reader who's frustrated -- completely understandably -- that she's switched to the new digital converter box for over-the-air television, but she can't find programming listings for the new extended channels in a print source.

It's an unsolvable problem, to my mind. Printed schedules have a built-in barrier: Space on the printed page. It's no secret that advertisers haven't been interested in supporting a printed guide in these days of cable boxes with on-screen programming guides and Internet sources like Zap2It. The Star, like many other papers, now delivers Star TV only to subscribers who request it, and there's a charge of 25 cents for home delivery. On the plus side, the book is now folded evenly and stapled. Single copies of the paper carry it as well.

"These TV stations are not filling the needs of the public," said the caller. "I don't really blame you at The Star, because you aren't the TV stations, and I know it would cost a lot for something that not that very many people want. It's a no-win, I think, isn't it?"

I think she's largely right. TV Guide magazine gave up on comprehensive listings several years ago, recognizing the two-pronged competition of greatly expanded programming and electronic, interactive guides. Add to that the fact that a lot of broadcast stations are adding in extra digital channels -- that's not something that omnibus print guides are going to be able to adapt to, I don't think. There's simply too much competition now.