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Monday, January 7

One more year until digital broadcasting comes

In a little over a year, your TV set may not work when the transition is made to all digital broadcasting unless you have a newer set or subscribe to cable or satellite television. This year we will be inundated by an advertising campaign to inform the masses that unless they have pay tv or a newish television, they will have to get a converter box. I see great room for a panic and a misinformation campaign by television manufacturers.

About 13% of the population has no access to cable or satellite and fewer than 1/3 of them know about the transition next February according to this story in the Boston Globe. There is a big hoopla being made about this for which I see no reason to make a big hoopla about it now. Sell these converter boxes in Walmart and Home Depot and people will find out about it soon enough.

Congress put aside $1.5 billion for consumers to sign up for coupons for $40 off the cost of a $50-$70 digital converter box. You can get 2 of the coupons but you have to sign up for them at if you have internet access or call 1-888-DTV-2009 if you have a phone access. I still think that the converter boxes are too expensive for poor people. Those cell phone companies who will buy up the broadcast frequencies being freed up next year (that will be auctioned off by the FCC later this month) should be obliged to give coupons towards converter boxes as well since they will benefit financially from greater bandwidth.

Ok. So now we know.

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