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Americans Confused About DTV Switch

19% Will Do Nothing

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Close to half of over-the-air households reject post-transition pay TV and plan to receive free, over-the-air digital television by buying a converter box or digital TV set according to the Association of Public Television Stations study.

 About 43 percent of over-the-air households said they would purchase a converter box or a digital TV between now and when the transition takes place on February 17, 2009, compared to 12 percent who would sign up for a cable or satellite service.

"This data indicates that free, over-the-air television may be set for a big comeback," said APTS President and CEO John Lawson. "Many people see broadcasting as a dinosaur technology, but we broadcasters have the opportunity to reposition it as ‘wireless TV’ and reach new audiences."

The subsidy program, administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), has received 2.8 million requests for converter boxes since registration for the program began on January 1.

Still, 25 percent of Americans said they "don’t know" what action they would take, and 19 percent said they would "do nothing." Of those who said they would do "do nothing," 17 percent planned on waiting before taking steps.

While more Americans are aware of the switch to digital television, most don’t know why the federal government is ordering the change. Seventy-seven percent who are aware of the transition did not know why the federal government mandated the change.

"It appears that the government’s positive message regarding the reasons for the transition has fallen on deaf ears," Lawson said
 

Americans Confused About DTV Switch
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  • Guest

    We received a converter box and switched to digital services. However, the government has a very serious issue to address:

    Closed Captioning did not appear and is not compatible with the government issued converter boxes. What we are also shocked to find out that when we addressed the issue to the retailer, they said they are not required, yet the FCC has made it clear that it is. See: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/dtvcaptions.html

    Not only are there approximately 31 million Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals in the country, there is the beginning of the FIRST WAVE of aging baby-boomers who often losing hearing due to age.

    Federal Law requires that such devices be compatible for the switch because the law still applies for accessible accommodations.

    If this doesnt get resolve, the government’s looking at a country-wide class action suit due to the lack of telecommunication accessibility.

  • http://williambryson.blogspot.com William Bryson

    I purchased a used digital television converter box about a year ago  from a well-known online auction site.  The difference between over-the-air analog vs. over-the-air digital television is simply remarkable.

    Regarding analog signals, I picked up 3-4 static filled channels with an antenna. 

    Regarding digital television, I can pick up some 30 channels, all crystal clear. 

    I beleive if more people knew about the quality of free, over-the-air digital television, more people would ditch their monthly cable or satellite bill and enjoy local programming for free.

  • Sharon

    I have a concern about receiving uninterrupted critical TV 
    weather coverage here during severe storms and tornado 
    warnings once analog transmissions are discontinued.

    My husband is trying out a digital converter, and we can 
    consistently receive only one station! We are able to receive 
    8-10 analog stations using the same antenna!

    When dangerous weather approaches, following the path of
    severe storms or the path of tornados is very reliable on 
    analog stations, but as soon as the weather surrounds us, 
    the digital station is effectively blacked-out! This is similar to the way that satellite TV transmissions are blocked.

    It is assumed that even if we are forced to buy a decibel 
    power-gain appliance and power-up our antenna reception, 
    we will still be without critical weather warning broadcasts 
    when they are needed the most as digital signals are 
    unreliable at best when blanketed by heavy weather…

    Can you help me understand how rural America will be 
    notified of severe weather and kept safe (as possible) when 
    analog weather newscasts are no longer available?

    I believe this is a very valid concern that should be addressed immediately with everyone who is vulnerable to such severe weather threats.

    Thank you.

    Sharon Jones
    RURAL USA

  • http://thelwsealsshow.blogspot.com/2008/05/satellite-tv-1999-entertain-everyone.html Satellite Or Cable Services?

    I’ve been a little confused about the whole switch to digital tv thing.  The stat about 43% of households saying they would buy a converter box or digital television seemed pretty high to me.  You then state that 12% would just sign up for cable or satellite installation.  Does this mean that a whopping 43% of households curently have no stations besides the local antenna channels?

    Does this also mean that for those 43% of people who say they may buy a converter box or digital television, that if they were to choose to not buy either of those, they would be in the dark as far as television programming goes? 

    From those stats, it seems that those 43% that don’t have cable or satellite would not be able to afford a "digital television", or maybe even a converter box.  Maybe I’m missing something here…