by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 12th 2007 7:55pm
The debate over the shift from analog over-the-air TV to digital over-the-air TV has gone on for ages, but it's finally (fingers crossed) going to happen in 2009. This is important because it will free up a ton of useful spectrum that could be put to much better use. Even if it ends up costing billions, the overall benefit will certainly outweigh the cost of subsidized TV converters. Remember, that the transition really only impacts those who use over-the-air TV signals -- meaning those of you with cable or satellite or IPTV are basically unaffected by this move. Still, there are likely to be problems. The Government Accountability Office, one of the few government agencies who you can actually trust to be pretty honest in its assessment of things, is now warning that the FCC isn't prepared for the switch, noting that it doesn't seem to have much of a plan to educate people about the switch. The FCC claims that isn't the case at all (its response was apparently longer than the initial GAO report itself). And, perhaps the timing is a coincidence (somehow I doubt it), but right after the news of the GAO report came out, so did press reports about major retailers starting to stock up on converters. So, perhaps there is a plan after all...
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