Is Politics Good For A Transition To DTV?

Yesterday the blog Digital TV facts reported about the DTV caucus in the Congress, led by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va). The caucus focuses on the evolving transition to DTV. This was also reported by The Bend bulletin and earlier in april by Tech Daily Dose, when the caucus was first announced. But it is interesting that a caucus has set out to be part of the efforts to bring the DTV message out to the consumers.

Mixing politics with the transition to digital TV is a difficult exercise that you want to handle with care. My own experience from Sweden is that politics can blur the information and reasons for a transition to digital TV. Politics brings in values and ways that both the audience / consumers and stakeholders have to take in and process. That itself may make it harder to communicate a transition than easier. In my view, a transition is easier for consumers to embrace if it is kept as a practical step to improve the television as they know it.

So my question is if politics are good for a smooth transition?

The flip side of the coin is about responsibility. Who is responsible for the different parts of a transition if it backfires. Since TV is the prime information source for the public it can be a disaster if a transition would stall. In that case maybe politicians would like to keep a transition at arms lenght. What would the caucuses standpoint be in that case? Hopefully they would still embrace the transition and make it work great.

In any case, media will be tracking a caucus about DTV in a different way than caucus’s about potatoes and other commodities. Why? Because media loves media and a transition is a milestone not to be missed to report about. That will probably put a DTV caucus in the local limelight.

Bring the shades dear Representatives – you may be out for a ride.

Anders Bjers

P.S. Digital TV facts is one of the best sources for interesting news about DTV. I have it on my Google reader and check it out on a regular basis. Often Steven Sande picks up and writes about DTV stuff that no one else have tracked. They work hard to put out clear and good information about the basics of digital television. D.S.

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