After some stonewalling from the Republicans in Senate, President Obama managed to push through and sign a bill delaying the transition from analog to digital signals for television broadcast in the United States in order to give people more time to prepare for the irrevocable transition.
Despite concerted efforts from the US Government and the National Association of Broadcasters to create awareness about the need to acquire one of the digital converters that will provide television feeds to the home, there was a still a shortfall that incited the push to move the date back four months.
In the last year, the internet has seen a sharp rise in popularity as the new go-to for television events and reruns of both film and television. This may have had something to do with the lack of response from the public to the impending changeover. What is interesting, however, is that news of the transition was rarely seen online in terms of advertisement or otherwise.
Had the President not signed the bill, the switch over would have taken place next Tuesday, leaving anyone without the new digital converter without any television signal.
A similar transition is set to take place in Canada in 2011.
For information on how to get your own US government issued coupon for the new digital converter visit the official website at https://www.dtv2009.gov/
Two years ago when I was invited to speak at the National Association of Broadcasters convention’s Career Day, I was able to sit in on some seminars by big time players in the broadcasting world. The primary focus of the conference that year was in building awareness with the American public about the coming transition from analog to digital broadcasting. The government was set to issue $40 vouchers for every household towards the cost of the new digital set top converter that would replace the old analog antenna that we have seen in so many John Hughes films.
The campaign for awareness of this fundamental transition did alright, but penetration hasn’t been nearly as high as some would have hoped and so recently there was a move to delay the transition for an additional four months to prepare the American public.
Well the news today from Associated Press is as follows:
January 29, 2009 – WASHINGTON – Bucking the Obama administration, House Republicans on Wednesday defeated a bill to postpone the upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting to June 12 – leaving an estimated 6.5 million U.S. households unprepared for the currently scheduled Feb. 17 switchover.
But the battle over a delay may not be over, with some predicting the House will take up the measure again next week.
Read the rest of the story here:
House defeats bill to delay digital TV transition
So unless you have your business in order, say goodbye to grabbing Conan on Late Night with that old RCA, because the analog airwaves as you have known them to be since you were born are going bye bye.
As an aside – this will not be implemented in Canada until 2011. But it IS coming so be prepared. That is, if anyone still watches TV broadcasts anywhere but online in 2011.