State Of The DTV Transition – Mixed But Going Forward

Yesterday was the big day for DTV stakeholders and officials. At the Best Buy meetup in D.C the NTIA:s DTV coupon was unveiled as a red “look-a-like” credit card that is worth $40 each.

Media is reporting about the event but with mixed results. It seams to me that even the stakeholders don’t really know for sure how many households that are really affected by the transitions.  Also,  the level of knowledge among consumers are unclear. Recent reports and surveys give varied results. Kim Hart at Washington Post writes, “consumers don’t know the transition is coming and have never heard about these converter boxes”. She also notes that this will be an interesting year.

U.S newsagency AFP writes about the event headlining it as “U.S gears up or the DTV switch” and cites FCC Chairman Martin saying ” more needs to be done” to inform the US consumers about the upcoming transition. AFP also sorts through some stats about the state of the transition as of now.

Media and bloggers love statistics and love when facts are unclear. Clear facts should be provided in sync among stakeholders, thats bascis Especially when they are on stage together. Wired blogger Bryan Gardiner picks up just that and keeps the ball of uncertainty rolling in his post.  Gardiner is citing Best Buys spokesperson Brian Lucas who comments on converter box sales, saying: “It’s a difficult situation because nobody has done this before. So, yes, there’s some uncertainty.”  My questions is – why don´t best buy send a team overseas to study sales and retailers efforts in Europe where actual transition has taken place. In Sweden for example the retailers really had a second Christmas season because of the transition. And during times of economic instability that shouldn’t be to bad. And I am firmly believing that consumer behaviour are just about the same in the U.S as in Europe. As well as retailers situation.

The Insignia converter box that Best buy will sell is a very simple box. Electronic house reporter Rachel Cericola writes about that box.

The Consumer Electronics Association, CEA, released new results from research that revealed the top sources consumers are using to learn about the transition. The prime source is television (72%), family and friends (39%) and the Internet (26%).  I think in any case this showes what important role the media itself will play to “move” the consumers into action.

I am astonished that either NAB or any of the stakeholders made a podcast or webbcast of yesterdays event. If there is anything important in a transition to do, it is to bring out unified messages. To bring down the level of uncertainty. I think this event was a great opportunity to spread the word from the top stakeholders to everyone involved in the mission. Also, it would be a great source for media to embed and pick up along with their own reporting. Even if the transition will be a hyper local event there will be few moments when the heads of the stakeholders share the stage together as they did yesterday.

Anders Bjers

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2 Responses to State Of The DTV Transition – Mixed But Going Forward

  1. Francisco says:

    Consumer Reports and HearUsNow.org have a great information site on DTV.
    http://www.hearusnow.org/tvradio/12/

    And they set up a way to share your experience with the transition to digital television.
    http://cu.convio.net/HUN_shareyourDTVstorypage

    Consumer Reports site with all the info: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/electronics-computers/news-electronics-computers/pulling-the-plug-on-analog-tv-206/index.htm

  2. Dennis says:

    I am interested in what all of this means to me. I have lived in a rural area from birth. Our TV reception has always been marginal, with just a couple of stations with decent reception and about 5 more with varying degrees of watchable reception. Locally, there are about 5 stations broadcasting DTV. I am still totally analog, so far. It seems that this coming transition is not well organized. I think a leader must emerge and take the risk to get the converter boxes to the public. At this time, a converter box is not available at my local Radio Shack. I am semi-patiently waiting. I haven’t signed up for my coupons, yet.

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