While I was on vacation last week, I couldn’t help but get a chuckle from a news report about a man who shot his analog television set because he lost his signal and couldn’t get his digital converter box to work.
Plus, I gather the consumer call center set up by the Federal Communications Committee was flooded with calls on what was the original digital transition date of Feb. 17 (and for days afterwards) when more than 400 TV stations went ahead and made the switch anyway. This is in addition to about 200 that did so previously.
Here in the San Diego area, all but the local NBC affiliate made the switch to 100 percent digital television broadcasting. Now, going forward, I gather that more stations will switch over in dribs and drabs from month to month until the new analog cutoff date of June 12.
So in addition to confusion by having some stations fully tansisitoned and some holding off, there is also a bit of outrage. Meanwhile, millions of consumers are still waiting for their $40 discount coupons from the government in order to purchase converter boxes, while we’ll have to bear more of those hokey public service announcements about the transition for a few more months.
That said, I’m sure it will work itself out. Fortunately, the vast majority of consumers have nothing to worry about, including those with cable and satellite connections (regardless whether they have digital or analog TVs), those who do have HD and other digital TV sets, and those with analog sets who purchased/installed converter boxes already.
But the execution on this could have been a lot smoother. And by sticking to one date for the transition and making provisions for more than enough converter box coupons, not to mention less goofy PSAs, perhaps we could have avoided some of the anxiety.
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