In Move to Digital TV, Confusion Is in the Air
By ERIC A. TAUB The New York Times December 22, 2008
The Federal Communications Commission sponsored a Nascar race car as part of its effort to inform Americans that on Feb. 18, television signals transmitted over the air will be transmitted solely in digital format. Old TV sets will no longer work.
It paid $350,000 to emblazon "The Digital TV Transition" and other phrases on a Ford driven by David Gilliland.
So how's that going? In November, the car crashed during a Nascar race in Phoenix. It was the second crash in as many months.
And how is the digital TV transition going? According to critics, about as well, despite a major marketing campaign that includes nightly ads on TV.
According to surveys conducted by the Consumers Union, a consumer advocacy group that also publishes Consumer Reports magazine, while90 percent of the nation is aware of the transition, 25 percent mistakenly believe that one must subscribe to cable or satellite after February, and 41 percent think that every TV in a house must have a new converter box, even those that are already connected to cable or satellite.
...***** Moderator's Note *****
The FCC is _very_ worried about the transition: they've even asked ham radio operators to distribute information and act as local experts to help their neighbors cut over. Pretry much everyone else is hoping that it goes smoothly, and the cable and satellite companies must be licking their chops at the thought of all the new customers they'll be getting.
Unless I get some really good weather between now and February 18th, I'm going to be out of service too: I've tried using a Zenith adapter box with my old rabbit ears, but digital TV doesn't do nearly as well with them as analog, so I need to put an antenna on my roof if I choose to watch tv on February 19th. If I don't, I'm pretty sure the networks won't miss me: I'm in that too-old-to-sell-to demographic that already has everything it wants and isn't impressed by "discounts", cleavage, phallic symbols, or product placements.
There is, however, a positive note: without OprahSallyEllenDarkShadows, ex-tv viewers might have to resort to the long-forgotten art of conversation in order to entertain themselves. It's likely that there will be an increase in Internet use as well, and that will help to add new voices to Usenet as well as the blogosphere.
Bill Horne Temporary Moderator
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