Digital TV Transition Will Be Messy

Oct 16, 2008 by John Messina weblog
Analog TV on February 17, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The pending mandatory switch of all U.S. televisions to digital will be messy, a federal communications official said on Tuesday, urging broadcasters to step up local efforts to educate the public.

On February 17, 2009 over-the-air broadcast television as we know will no longer exist. This is due to Congress ordering the switch to digital to free up public airwaves for other uses, such as for police and fire departments.

About 15 percent of U.S. households are still using analog TV sets and will risk their screens going black as analog signals are turned off. Owners of analog televisions must buy a TV converter box to receive a digital signal. The digital transition will not impact TV sets that are connected to cable and satellite service.

Local Broadcasters need to educate their viewers as to what they need to do so that they don´t loose the signal on February 17 of next year. Most households will most likely need to purchase new antennas because their existing ones will not pull in the digital signal.

Regulators are offering consumers $40 coupons (two per household) to help pay for converter boxes, but there is no plan in place to manage the last minute demand from consumers for the coupons.

FCC member Robert McDowell has just returned from a tour in Alaska, Montana & Oklahoma, and he´s seen things, terrible things. Things that have convinced him that the transition on February 17, 2009 "will be messy ... but we will get through it" when over the air broadcasts go all-digital.

The GAO report said regulators are unprepared for an expected surge in demand for government help from consumers needing to switch over to digital.

Explore further: Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Incentives are coming for payments by phones

Feb 26, 2014

(AP)—Many people use their smartphones to watch video, play games and wake them up in the morning. Some even use them to generate digital boarding passes to fly. So why not use phones to buy stuff at retail ...

Finding more space in spectrum

Jan 30, 2014

Radio and TV channels, mobile communications, GPS, and emergency communications are just a few examples of applications that occupy the airwaves. The radio spectrum is a finite resource, but demand for bandwidth ...

Graphene circuit ready for wireless

Jan 30, 2014

(Phys.org) —IBM researchers have built the world's most advanced fully functional integrated circuit made of wafer-scale graphene – a novel semiconductor material that has the potential to improve today's ...

Recommended for you

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

22 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

Apr 16, 2014

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

Apr 16, 2014

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

Dish Network denies wrongdoing in $2M settlement

Apr 15, 2014

The state attorney general's office says Dish Network Corp. will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for what it calls a deceptive surcharge, but the satellite TV provider denies any wrongdoing.

Netflix's Comcast deal improves quality of video

Apr 14, 2014

Netflix's videos are streaming through Comcast's Internet service at their highest speeds in the past 17 months now that Netflix is paying for a more direct connection to Comcast's network.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Net neutrality balancing act

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'

These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.