Is the analog to digital television conversion process driving you nuts? For well over a year, advertising, PSAs, techy articles and news releases bombarded us with analog to digital TV warnings. If you are not a cable/satellite/or UVerse subscriber and you don’t get your analog/digital TV converter box or you don’t have a TV that receives DTV (digital television signals) it’s lights out.
Analog to DTV Conversion February 17
Well, there’s a strong probability that it isn’t going to happen on the target date and here’s why. Pundits and know-it-alls (like me) predicted that the Feds would run out of money and/or subsidy coupons long before the conversion took place. The Feds stand to realize something like $19 billion or more from auctioning bandwidth that analog TV occupies. But they planned badly. So, now, those folks requesting coupons get this salient response:
“We have determined that you are eligible to participate in this program and your coupon application has been approved. However, because program funding is not currently available, you will not receive coupons unless more funding becomes available. If program funding becomes available you should receive your coupons in the mail.”
See? No more dough. No conversion box subsidies.
Why DTV Is a Problem
Well, Associated Press looked at the DTV problem and reports this:
Earlier this week the president of PBS, Paula Kerger, said she’s especially concerned that children in less-affluent homes that rely on free television might lose access to PBS educational shows for kids, including “Sesame Street.”
Barrack Obama’s transition team says this:
…the number of unfulfilled coupon requests could increase by the hundreds of thousands every day.
Their point? Mr. Obama’s economic recovery package would include additional funds for the DTV transition. Lovely, but where are we getting all this money? (Check your pockets, folks.)
Some antenna-users will be cut off from emergency broadcasts when analog TV goes dark.
(U.S. regulators approved the use of temporary traditional TV broadcasts for emergency information after the switch to digital television.)
And the Solution?
There really isn’t one. It’s time to make the transition. Karl Volkman, chief tech officer of Chicago-based SRV Network (IT provision company) said it doesn’t matter if it’s sooner or later, transitioning will require adjustments.
“It’s a change between the government and the people, from deep inside people’s homes. It will particularly impact older people who find technology intimidating,” he explained.
In an interesting conversation, he told me no one knows how many people will see their TVs go dark, though a Nielsen Company Poll claims it’s less than 7% of users.
Once people get converter boxes, some complain their boxes are too weak to pick up digital channels (the digital signal can’t go as far as analog-box isn’t at fault). Some have to aim multiple antennae at widely scattered broadcast locations or get an antenna that can be rotated. What fun.
In all, I agree with Volkman – Obama and some legislators are rallying around delaying this change, but delaying the inevitable doesn’t help. If there’s to be panic in the streets, let’s get it over with.