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More time to switch to digital TV

Ashley Milne-Tyte Jan 9, 2009
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More time to switch to digital TV

Ashley Milne-Tyte Jan 9, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: TV broadcasting switches from analog to digital on February 17. By then, if you’re still using rabbit ears you need to buy a digital converter box — or a new television. But the Obama transition team just wrote to Congress asking them to push back the date. Hasn’t made electronics makers very happy. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.


Ashley Milne-Tyte: The Obama team says Americans aren’t ready for the February switch to digital TV. Part of the reason, they say, is there aren’t enough government-issued coupons to help consumers buy digital converter boxes before the deadline.

Meghan Pollock of the Consumer Electronics Association disagrees says a delay would be a mistake. She says retailers along with broadcasters and groups like the AARP have spent millions educating consumers about the February 17 deadline. If the date changes, she says all that could be for naught:

Meghan Pollock: It also sort of leads to the idea that consumers will think, OK, it’s delayed again, it’s never really happening. And the next time we try to put a deadline in place, who’s gonna actually take this seriously?

She says research shows 90 percent of consumers are aware of the deadline and taking steps to meet it.

I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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