Is America Really Ready for Digital Television?

Nearly 70 million Americans are still watching TV via an analogue signal and the GAO estimates that 35 million of them will be out of luck, and television programs, come winter. After an extensive survey, the GAO has discovered that an alarming amount of Americans have no clue when it comes to the conversion of the old analogue signal to a digital one that is scheduled to occur this February. Despite commercials briefly explaining the process, and coupon offers to lower the cost of conversion boxes, half of the group surveyed say they still do not know how to ensure they will be able to watch television when the switch occurs. Several members of Congress are proposing that the FCC take action now to prevent possible crises that could occur once the switch is complete. In addition, these representatives are proposing more funding toward the creation of coupons for the boxes. The only options for viewers with analogue will be to buy a conversion box or switch to cable or satellite services, none of which are considered cheap. Concerns include whether or not some Americans will lose their access to instantaneous news coverage and entertainment, if the conversion boxes will provide efficient service and whether consumers will find them before the big rush. Several areas to cover in just a matter of months raise the question of whether this new service will really be ready by winter.


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