TVWeek Poll: DTV Delay – Pro or Con?

Jan 23, 2009  •  Post A Comment

With the senate moving forward to delay the switch to digital over-the-air broadcast TV signals, television station staff are bracing for a last-minute scramble to change plans.
Nine out of 10 station managers surveyed by TVWeek oppose a delay. The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress want to push back the scheduled Feb. 17 DTV switch, claiming the preceding administration failed to prepare the country in time.
Yesterday, Nielsen Co. said that 5.7% of all U.S. homes are totally unprepared for the switch.
Where do you stand on delaying the DTV switch? Make your voice heard in TVWeek’s online poll. Click here to take the survey.
For a running tally of results, click here.
For full coverage of the DTV transition, visit TVWeek.com’s DTV Navigator page.


  1. I’m all for the four month extension of the Analog Sunset, PROVIDED that the government would subsidize it, in some form or another and maybe provide a tax break to the stations involved. This COULD provide some much needed relief to the stations that would have to continue to pay for the cost of keeping their analog transmitters up and running until June 12th. This COULD also indirectly prevent any further job layoffs, as a result of the cost of keeping the analogs on the air. It would be the right thing to do.

  2. It is amazing how pervasive the “George messed up” mentality is. Congress, controlled by Democrats, were responsible for authorizing, funding, setting the sunset date, and promoting the whole change-over. Yes GWB appointees to the FCC demanded the move. How much more than three years notice does it take? Why is three years and six months better than three years? Because there’s a new face on Pennsylvania Ave? Why is there no money? The Democrat Party is in control of the purse strings and has been for almost eight years. I would be willing to bet there will be 5.6% of the population unprepared in June.

  3. First of all, the general public wasn’t really aware of the transition until at least the fall of 2007 when the first real promotions about the digital transition began airing on television. Second, there is still a significant amount of the population (the 5.7% still represents millions of viewers) that aren’t prepared for the switch. Did you know there are households without computer access and telephone access? There will, sadly, always be a disparity in this country when it comes to access to technology, and now television is heading in that direction as well.
    Plus, cable operators with their confusing ads to those with claims that “with cable, you won’t need to set up a bulky converter box” isn’t helping consumers without new televisions or digital boxes, which in my opinion shouldn’t cost no more than a new antenna in the first place.
    With that said, I don’t think they should delay the switch. The FCC knew a number of consumers were going to be unprepared for it. And nobody foresaw the high gas prices and recession to have such an effect as it did. Truth be told, if you didn’t have enough money to pay bills and buy food, medication, and gas for your household, getting a $20 digital box (even with the coupon) wouldn’t be a major priority for you.
    The whole digital transition in this country should be a textbook example of how NOT to perform similar moves in other countries. Look at the UK for a great example of how their digital switch was almost seamless. Still wish the US had something like Freeview available to viewers.
    Regardless, there’s no need to delay the transition any further. But they will need to learn a lesson from all they’ve done.

  4. Pro because the coupon program ran out of money and those who have not switched may not be in a position to buy new converter boxes or tvs and antennas.
    Big con for big business. The retailers can’t afford to keep that kind of stock on the shelves for much longer and manufacturers can not be certain of consumer demands. Circuit city is already shuttering. Hopefully this will not create more fiscal problems in a shaky retail environment.

  5. Shocking! You mean that 100% of American viewers didn’t rush out to spend considerable money on converter boxes and digital antennas (without the coupons that the Govt. can’t deliver), or sign up for expensive subscriptions for cable or satellite reception, even after they saw Kevin Martin’s expensive investment in advertising on a Nascar car?

  6. So if those who feel it is necessary to delay this switch to June 12 or whenever…What happens if there are 2 million people who have not paid attention to the additional thousands of messages bombarding every station by then? Are we going to push it back to August, Then 2010?
    Come on people, what happened to personal responsibility in this country.

  7. There has been so much already done to promote this transition. Stations have spent lots of money to promote this and to simultaneously run DTV and analog stations up to this transition. Who is going to pay for these stations to run the dual broadcasts for 4 more months? I understand that some people can’t get the DTV converter boxes because the program for coupons ran dry. But, it that the fault of the local stations who will suffer the most because of this? NO!
    What I think should happen is that a group of retailers like Best Buy and Walmart for example, should be mandated to lower their prices for these DTV converter boxes by the $40 after the digital transition deadline of Feb 17th. Then, when the government has the money to continue the rebate program, they should give the money directly to those retailers. That way the transition will not effect anyone adversely.

  8. Most people seem to ignore several things.
    1. The TV/radio spectrum belongs to THE AMERICAN PUBLIC, not any business or broadcaster, not even the Federal government.
    2. The converter box coupon program is funded by PART of the $19 billion generated by auction of the UHF spectrum (channels 52 and higher) being abandoned as a result of the digital transition. This money, then, belongs to the public — so the coupon program should be fully funded, and the conversion shouldn’t occur until/unless such full funding comes.
    3. Purchase of converter boxes represents only a fraction of the extra cost to be incurred by many citizens due to DTV. FCC predictions of digital reception are based on having an outdoor antenna, at 30 feet elevation. Um, *I* don’t have such an antenna, and it ain’t gonna be cheap to erect one. But without such an antenna, I personally lose about half of the viewable over-the-air stations I currently receive (that’s stations, not channels — I’m ignoring new digital sub-channels).

  9. I say go ahead and switch. There will always be procrastinators and others who just can’t be bothered to get a converter box until they need one. People have had plenty of time to take care of this. If someone’s TV stops working, you can be sure that they will be out there getting their converter soon enough. Besides, what’s the worst thing that could happen if we gave up TV for a while? People might read a book or talk to their families.

  10. how come no one ever thought that the reson some people are not ready is because they don’t see the need to upgrade at the moment and are just waiting for the cut off date to get ready.there is a difference between not being ready and not being capable of being ready.no one is complaining that they are not ready and need money to get a converter box.the government automatically assumes that just because some people are not ready that they need funds to get redy but they don’t, and the fact that a lot of the coupons issued has not been redeemed is perfect proof that people don’t relly need the money for the converter boxes,their just getting something for free that they don’t really need.

  11. OK, hasn’t anybody noticed that we’re talking about an ELECTIVE & NON-essential service here?!? This is NOT 911 emergency service, electrical power, or even telephone service. It’s television for Pete’s sake! It’s a privilege NOT a right! Do not change the date. We will never reach 100% readiness, and this smacks of our now-typical entitlement thinking in this country.

  12. I think we should just do it. Rip the band aid off as it were. Sure, some people will feel the sting, but it’s not a difficult wound to heal.
    My 85-year-old grandparents are ready. We can all be ready or get that way pretty quickly.

  13. I am amazed at the people here who believe a new antenna is needed for the digital switch. That just isn’t true, unless your station changes it’s transmission frequency which MIGHT require an antenna change, but is not required by the DTV switch. The people who weren’t ready in Feb won’t be ready in June. They are they ones who won’t do anything for themselves, the very attitude that put them in poverty in the first place

  14. When I quit working at a television affiliate in 1991, we had already heard and been talking about the switch! How much time does the country need, a full twenty years?? That’s almost a generation.
    Do you really think a few months will make people take action? They’ve have several years to do it.
    I agree with one of the above comments speaking on personal responsibility. It’s time people!

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