CES: Little appetite for delay of DTV deadline

January 10, 2009

A panel at the Consumer Electronics Show, discussing the Feb 17 deadline for a mandatory U.S. switch to a nationwide digital television system, were less than keen on President-Elect Barack Obama’s backing of a proposal for a delay. The idea of postponing was floated amid fears viewers were unprepared and funding problems for a government program to provide $40 coupons for consumers to buy digital-to-analog converters.

“Delaying the transition in my opinion, you’re just delaying the same problems,” said Emily Neilson, president and general manager of KLAS-TV a Las Vegas CBS affiliate who said that about 7 percent of consumers were still not ready for the change over. She said that while the transfer was not likely to go perfectly, the problems would eventually be ironed out. “I think most of the people waiting on the coupons don’t need the $40 and I’d like to give those to the people who truly need it,” she said.

Henry Hauser, a display product manager for television maker Panasonic said it did not make sense to delay and that the transition would only see isolated snafus. “We feel it would be better to just end the confusion. People are going to delay until they don’t have a picture and then they’ll go get it,” he said. “We feel very strongly it should go forward”

But Lynn Mento, senior vice president at AARP, said that the advocacy group for people over 50, effectively supports the delay as it could help them to get more convertor coupons to the people who need them.

“We have been working to try to communicate to our members that if they have coupons to please donate them … The added time would give us more time to get those messages out.”

But she said if there is a day, something should happen on Feb 17th that would remind people they need to make sure their televisions will be able to receive digital TV. “In terms of seasonality we support not having the change in the winter months,” said Mento, who worries about her members having to climb on their rooftops to change their antennas in order to transfer to digital.


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Roll it out on schedule. You could wait years and still have problems.

The industry has spent billions to be on schedule all of which would be wasted because of people who are too dumb to convert.

The won’t go without Oprah or other mondless shows..they would quickly fix their rabbit ear TV’s

Posted by Ray | Report as abusive

This fiasco represents yet another defrauding of the American public by its government, which spent less than 10% of the funds generated by its auction of OUR analog RF spectrum to run this program – never mind the previously collected billions from the initial auction for the spectrum used by digital.

It seems also that the requirements to successfully implement digital in many locations has been grossly understated. Kind of an non-lethal version of the balderdash that got us into Iraq. This government just didn’t know when to stop lying.

I am a technologist who would love to see the transition – but not yet. To make the change in February would amount to ripping off millions of Americans and be a further reflection of class warfare. Gotta ask yourself, why should ANY AMERICAN have to shell out even a single DIME for this? I would not be surprised if making the switch in February led to violent protests in many locations as many people who recently lost cable service owing to the economics of recently lost jobs feel like they are being picked on – one of their few resources for information and entertainment being taken away from them.

You’d have to be morally bankrupt to think it ok to proceed while leaving many who have lost local radio programming owing to media consolidation even more defenseless in times of emergency.

Indeed the public should be up in arms and demanding to know how Congress and the Bush administration managed to forget how to do math and squander funds that should have been used for this. Just another example of those having trampling on those without.

How many old Tv’s will end up in a mad rush to the landfill as a result of this, too – considering that many will be unable to afford to convert all of their TV.s to digital for some time to come.

Hello… we are in a deep recession…

selfish pigs…

Posted by T Partier | Report as abusive