State of U.S DTV Transition – Confusing, Underfunded With Low Consumer Preparedness

Today’s hearing in the U.S Senate created a wave of concerns on the status of the U.S transition to digital TV. Again and again the panelists pointed out how underfunded the information efforts are in the U.S. Also compared to Germanys and the U.Ks transition campaigns. Today 22 Cent is now spent on each household for information about the transition. But no information campaigns are on the roll. In Sweden there was one dollar spent on each household on information.

Confusing and contradicting information is flourishing the U.S DTV transition today. Different definitions and terms are used by stakeholders. One example is that stakeholder’s isn´t using the word “converter box” to describe the equipment to be used with the analog TV set. Panelists warned that the confusion is high not only among poor and elderly but also among professionals. The elderly will be the hardest to reach and they are among the majority of analog TV users, according to a new study made by APTS. And there is still a confusion among officials about how many households that are really affected by the transition.

The Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) released a statement prior the hearing saying: “The time to act is now—before the digital transition devolves into digital disaster. We must work together to ensure that no citizen is left behind in the transition to digital television”.

The Chairman concluded the hearing by saying “I assure you that congress has heard your message, and we will do something about it”.

Anders Bjers

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