Consumers Union Wants Congress To Delay Digital TV Transition

from the oh-please,-just-get-it-over-with dept

Now, we all agree that the FCC has screwed up the conversion to digital TV for over-the-air TV watchers, especially with the "coupon" program running out of money. But, it's still pretty ridiculous for Consumers Union to ask Congress to delay the transition (found via Consumers Unions' newly owned Consumerist).

The transition to digital TV has been delayed for years. It was amazing that we finally got a hard deadline of February 2009 given how many forces were fighting against it. Part of the problem was always some ridiculous sliding scale of when we'd be "ready." But, a hard deadline was set, and now it's important to just get it over with. The end result will be much better for consumers, because the old spectrum will finally be put to good use where it can provide an awful lot of value. Yes, the transition coupon program has been poorly run. Yes, it would be better if we figured out a better way (even now) to get converter boxes to people. Yes, there are still a number of people who haven't gone out and picked up a convertor box. Yes, there will be some confused people who turn on their TV and discover it won't work, but it's a very small number of people at this point, and given how much time they've had to deal with it, having their TVs not work should be the final kick in the pants to move forward. There's simply no good reason to delay the transition yet again. Update: Unfortunately, it looks like the incoming Obama administration supports a delay as well.

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  1. identicon
    Jejagua, 12 Jan 2009 @ 8:28am

    A few thoughts...

    The transition coupon program has kept converter pricing artificially high. I've never seen on for less than $59 local retail. I believe they would be half this price, or less w/o the card program. Perhaps the price will come down now that the transition program is broke...and maybe now, folks too ignorant to have taken advantage of it may be enticed to buy a cheaper converter if/when the price drops.

    My extensive personal experience in my RV at "fringe areas" leans unanimously in favor of DTV. At locations where analog stations (perhaps only 1) is barely watchable, I can pull down 10 or more DTV stations with perfect clarity. I just crank up my existing antenna and turn on the amp. Granted, this does not parallel a home setup. Often now I don't bother aligning my satellite dish because the DTV converter suits the purpose.

    Did I hear correctly that once the conversion takes place that DTV signal power will be increased? Will that resolve the issues some folks have on the fringe?

    I just don't think it's wise to cater to the ignorance some folks have regarding technology. It impedes progress.

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