Monday, December 22, 2008

In Move to Digital TV, Confusion Is in the Air

D-Day, less than 2 months away and confusion over digital transition still reigns. Many with antenna still haven't added a converter box to assure clear reception of their broadcast channels. Many with cable TV subscriptions still have TVs in their house not connected. And some cable homeowners inaccurately believe that every TV set connected by a cable wire, also needs a cable box.

Some research indicate that almost 10% of the country will be without TV signals on February 18. With a recession in our midst, the weather cold, timing seems off to stay firm to this date. "The fear is that those Americans least likely to understand or afford the transition — such as the poor, the elderly and the non-English speaking — will be most affected." And so, let it be noted that this deadline will not be met and that consumers will be given more time to understand how this digital transition will affect them and have more time to convert.

Cable is not helping, as they move channels from a non-scrambled position (normally channels 2-98) to one that requires a cable converter of its own to receive channels. For those Tivo users that connect direct to the wire, channels will be lost unless your TV has a cable card or you add a converter box and jury rig the Tivo to change converter box channels. Not ideal! And so, "... the cable TV industry has agreed not to switch some of its channels to a digital tier until March 1, to avoid further confusing consumers about the broadcast switch." Wow, 2 whole weeks; not much help truthfully. It is looking like a mess and needs more leadership and common sense to right this ship.

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