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New DTV Switch Date Pitched: June 12

Jan 15, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is proposing the transition to all-digital television signals be delayed until June 12.
The current DTV-switch date is Feb. 17, but President-elect Barack Obama last week asked legislators to push the date back.
Sen. Rockefeller said the Bush administration had mismanaged the digital transition, and said he was concerned that “our most vulnerable citizens” would be hurt if the tranisition went forward as planned.
The legislation is being offered as nearly 2 million requests for $40 coupons for DTV converter boxes are on hold. The government has run out of money for the program and new coupons can’t be issued until some current coupons expire.
“The outgoing Bush Administration has mismanaged this initiative and President-elect Obama has asked Congress to delay the date of the transition,” Mr. Rockefeller said in a statement. “Over 2 million Americans are waiting to receive a coupon to help them offset the cost of equipment that will help them manage the transition–millions more don’t have the proper information they need.”
Republicans have called the call for a delay in the switch panicky, saying pushing back the date would create confusion.
Sen. Rockefeller in his proposal said a June date made sense so that the poor, elderly, disabled and rural communities would be hard hit if the DTV switch went down without more time to prepare.
(Editor: Baumann)

33 Comments

  1. There are no sure investments in this world, unless someone offers odds as to whether the June 12 date will be pushed back.
    There will still be people who “aren’t aware” and who complain about the switch no matter when it occurs.
    The current date has been on the books for over two years; another four months just means increased hassles and a major pain in the butt for each and every broadcaster out there as they continue to have to power and maintain two separate transmitters.
    In the current economy I wouldn’t be surprised to see the extra power and maintenance costs be enough to tip at least some stations over the edge, and surely a number of people in the industry are going to lose their jobs as a result.
    So in the name of appearing to be empathetic with those who were too clueless to get their converters sometime in the past year, more people will become unemployed.
    Not really the way Obama is supposed to send the job numbers.

  2. Agreed! Keep the current DTV date in place!
    Michael

  3. WELL said, Bill. In addition to the hassles mentioned above, there are SO many things contingent upon the 2/17 date–not the least of which is the turnover of analog spectrum to emergency responders.
    Changing the date to a few months later will do NOTHING to lessen the number of procrastinators. It WILL only cause more confusion, job losses and spur further revenue declines in the TV industry.
    Meantime (and sadly) the cable, satellite and consumer electronics folks can sit back, laugh and benefit from a change they pushed for in the first place but have done very little to support. Broadcasters didn’t go looking for this, but have promoted the 2/17 event more than ANY OTHER entity out there in order to comply with the wishes of Congress. And now Congress wants to change the rules at the end of the game. No wonder their approval ratings are even worse than the current president’s.

  4. Have the President-elect and Mr. Rockefeller not been watching broadcast TV over the past two years? If so, they would have clearly seen the fantastic job the NAB, local broadcasters and the Bush administration has done in informing the public about the analog-to-digital transition.
    There will always be a group of seemingly helpless and perhaps lazy and irresponsible individuals who will not be prepared for any kind of technological transition. Is this the group of people we should set our policies for? Certainly there will be those consumers who could be considered innocent bystanders who didn’t get the message or don’t have the means to take action through no fault of there own. And for them, the transition may be an unfortunate headache. However, we need to move forward. I’d hate to see stations go under, staffs get cut further, a delaying in the turnover of needed emergency bandwidth and the hassle to those who have been working feverishly in preparation for this date simply for the sake of a few bureaucrats who have probably been very uninvolved in this process to this point.
    Nothing will get the ill-prepared up-to-date quicker than a suddenly-black TV screen.

  5. I think what the FCC should have originally done
    is roll out the “digital television” transition
    over a period of several months, but with the
    idea being proposed to move the date to June
    12th, this might be the best plan, especially
    since February 17th is in the middle of a TV
    sweeps month, as is May, after that, the
    amount of viewership goes down as the television
    season ends, and the weather in most of the
    United States will be warm, winter is not a
    good time to make the move.

  6. Throw the switch! How many times does someone have to see the crawl at the bottom of their favorite TV programs to get this message? How many public service announcements do people have to watch before they actually get it? I agree with Brian’s comment that a black TV screen will finally motivate the procrastinators.

  7. Get used to it folks. We’re in for four long years of people wanting government to take care of everything. Why have personal accountability on things like say, buying a $50 box sometime in a 2 year period, when the government will just take care of it for me. And pay for it with tax increases, regardless of what they choose to call it.

  8. I agree with Randy…the crawl on my screen is a pain. I’ve been looking forward to the switch, just to avoid this interference. I believe also, that 2 years ‘warning’ is enough time for anyone to get it together. If they haven’t done it yet, they probably don’t watch television. Just do it! Please!

  9. I wonder if the Obama admin will be interested in reimbursing TV stations for the additional expenditure they will be incurring for electic used to keep their analog transmitters on the air? I am sure most stations have budgeted to lose that expense in March and now their budgets will be thrown off.
    One the other hand, I NEVER liked the February date. Why the middle of winter? How many people in the northern areas are going to break their necks going up to the icy roof to put up an antenna? The summer shutdown will be much safer!

  10. Hi; I am a sorry Canadian.I wish our people would follow you guys when you change,but no,they are waiting til next year.Our government doesn’t offer the box for us to get your stations and we do not qualify here for your boxes. I know you guys don’t care but I thought I would put my 2 cents in anyway Thanks

  11. Yet another waste of taxpayers money.
    if you watch tv then you already know about the change is coming.
    if you cant afford $40 for a box – stop watching tv and go get a job.
    Dean

  12. If I could point to one weakness in the publicity campaign, it would that most people think that they have to wait until the morning of February 18 to get their converter boxes connected and running and see pictures.
    In my market we’ve had all of the digital stations up and running for about two years, but I’ve had friends and relatives ask me if I can come over on the 18th to help hook up their box. I say, “why not right now?” and there is this amazed look on their face, almost as if I’m offering to hook them up with free cable.

  13. Dissaponited!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I have not watched TV for 2 years, was never home to watch it and i even know about the switch in Feb. I am tired of hearing about it. Just do it. And i agree, it will save many dollars to the Stations who provide service. Stop wasting money and start thinking how to save it.

  15. We need to be a country that leads new technologies and innovation.
    We also need to save the power presently being used by both the analog and digital transmission.
    The NAB has given great coverage of the change.
    With both Hawaii and Wilmington, N.C already making the switch we should move the rest of the country forward on Feb 17.

  16. Without our daily broadcasts of the Maury and Springer show via analogue broadcast , how are the tailer parks of america going to keep focus of the task’s at hand ??? You people are soooo
    cruel. ;O)
    But seriously , do the math
    2 million complainers
    303 million americans
    .6% of the population the new administration is
    catering to .. Future is looking bright …
    Tune in ( via analogue ) and see …..
    :o)

  17. How out of touch are the Obama administration. I think the Bush Administration did a good job warning people about the transition. People are just lazy and then panic when it is too late. Why were people applying for those coupons at the last minute? Don’t they plan ahead? They had at least 2 years to get ready, to them I say, too bad, you should of done it by now. It isn’t cheap running analog and digital signals at the same time. For crying out loud, end analog already!

  18. You know if the people really knew what this dtv conversion is really goning to do in the future they would be glad that they can’t afford the boxes. So please do not change the feb 17th date cause the people who will not have tv will be better off with out Big Brother really in their living room!

  19. do not switch

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