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: Key facts on US 'open Internet' regulation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hybrid memory device for superconducting computing

Jan 26, 2015

A team of NIST scientists has devised and demonstrated a novel nanoscale memory technology for superconducting computing that could hasten the advent of an urgently awaited, low-energy alternative to power-hungry conventional ...

Recommended for you

Key facts on US 'open Internet' regulation

3 hours ago

A landmark ruling by the US Federal Communications Commission seeks to enshrine the notion of an "open Internet," or "net neutrality." Here are key points:

Regulators move to toughen Internet provider rules

16 hours ago

(AP)—Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile would have to act in the "public interest" when providing a mobile connection to your home or phone, under new rules being ...

Vandalism in Arizona shows the Internet's vulnerability

17 hours ago

(AP)—Computers, cellphones and landlines in Arizona were knocked out of service for hours, ATMs stopped working, 911 systems were disrupted and businesses were unable to process credit card transactions—all ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.