Thursday, January 8, 2009

Calls to Postpone Digital Switchover

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The switching off of analog over the air TV signals is now just a little more than a month away and calls for a postponement haven't silenced but instead are coming from high places. Consumers' Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine claim that "millions of at-risk consumers, including rural, low-income and elderly citizens across the country could be left with blank television screens," according to Joel Kelsey and Christopher Murray of Consumers' Union.

The co-chair of the Obama-Biden transisition team, John Podesta has joined in the call for a postponement of the transition to digital broadcast television. Podestra notes that demand for the forty dollar vouchers for DTV converter boxes has increased to a point that there are now a million people on a waiting list to get vouchers.

The US government agency in charge of the voucher program, National Telecommunications and Information Administration has run out of money for the voucher program. This would seem to be problematic if the cost of the converter boxes was in the hundreds of dollars, but boxes are now approaching the forty dollar price point. Even if funding doesn't come until after the Febuary, 17th analog cutoff, there is not reason to hold off the switch over and turn the voucher program into a rebate. There are very few that can't scratch together forty dollars. DTV brings better picture and sound quality to all television viewers, don't postpone just get on with it.

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