“A seamless transition to digital TV” is the U.S. Congress main challenge to ensure, says Lobbyist Larry Sidman in a videoblog from The Hill. His bottom-of-the-line message ads little new to the state of the transition as of today. Mr. Sidman outlines the basics of the upcoming information campaigns that will bring awareness among consumers about the upcoming transition to DTV.
To make a transition seamless is in my view a technical aspect. In real life it wont be seamless. And I dont think it´s realistic. Many consumers will probably be confused, overwhellmed and frustrated when they are to get their TV-sets, VCR:s or DVD:s, going with a converterbox connected. This is a new new thing for many consumers that they haven´t asked for. But this also provides local media with stories that will spread, retailers and manufacturers will bring truckloads of ads to the consumers. The transition will be a buzz among consumers. And that is not seamless at all.
I think the goal is to make the transition as clear, practical and valuable as possible for consumers. That consumers view the transition as a practical step that they, who are really affected, can manage. And if not, they will know and understand how they can be helped. To make the market flow with a enough supplies of converterboxes, a diverse market of choices and resonable costs for the consumer.
Another challenge and key, is to ensure that cable- and satellite subscribers either understands that they aren´t affected, or are as little affected by the information campaigns as possible. Or even better, that the cable- and satellite providers put out their own information campaigns (they will, I think – to prevent loosing subscribers).
One of the experiences from the transition in Sweden is that TV-viewers in general really don´t know how they recieve TV. They just don’t think about it. That in effected gives that they neither can judge if they are affected by the transition to digital TV, or not. One way is to make people ask how they recieve TV today. That is one way to decrease the amount of households purchasing converterboxes.
I think it is intereseting that the Congress is named as the body that are supposed to oversee the transition. It is very unclear how the different tasks of the transition and the roles are distributed. This is something both consumers and media will ask for when the information campaigns are launched.
Who is responsible for what?