DTV Conversion Concerns

There are an estimated 13 million plus households who will not be ready for the digital conversion on Feb. 17, despite efforts of national broadcasters and various government organizations. The Federal Communications Commission told the Senate Commerce Committee last September in a DTV transition meeting that “the people most in need of help are senior citizens, non-English speakers and minorities, people with disabilities, low-income consumers and those living in rural or tribal areas.”

Both the FCC along with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, as well as other committees and organizations are working hard to try to implement a smooth transition by Feb. 17. Many areas are running tests throughout certain boundaries by shutting off their analog signals prematurely to see where they are as far as being ready. Many of these tests have been regarded as being largely successful. However, many citizens still need help in setting up their converter boxes and digital antennas.

According to the Consumer Federation of America, many consumers will spend hundreds of dollars on new cable/satellite subscriptions or even buy a new television when all they need is a $50 converter box per television set. The CFA is convinced that once consumers have switched over to the digital signals they will get better quality in sound and in pictures, as well as more channels.

The DTV Transition Coalition offers some ways to make sure your television set is already digital ready; check the owner’s manual, check the television for an {input connection labeled “digital input” or “ATSC” for Advanced Television Systems Committee, which developed the DTV format} or check the manufacturers website. If your television was manufactured before 1998, it probably does not have an internal digital tuner. Even the televisions built after 2004 may not necessarily have them.

Don’t assume because your television is HD ready or is considered a HDTV monitor that it has an appropriate digital tuner. Use the above recommendations to make sure your televisions are ready. Remember this conversion affects all the televisions in your home, cars and motor homes. Please check with your family and friends to make sure they are ready as well.

-Written by acwriter


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