Monday, April 16, 2007
The big disadvantage of the end of over the air analog TV transmissions is that TV's without digital tuners will no longer work unless they're outfitted with conversion boxes. Given that TV's with analog only tuners are still being sold and the public isn't widely aware that the conversion is imminent, it's very realistic to expect that a lot of people will be unable to watch TV at all on February 17, 2009. Some analysts have predicted that enough people could be taken by surprise by this event that there could be major civil unrest as many people are unable to watch the TV that they rely so heavily on for entertainment and information. While civil unrest may see a little extreme, there can be little doubt that if things keep going the way they've been going, there will be a lot of people inconvenienced about two years from now.
There have been measures taken to offset these problems though. For example, congress has authorized five million dollars to educate people about the transition. This has been criticized as not being nearly enough money for the kind of educational campaign need to inform the general public. Many analysts argue that the TV industry shouldn't be expected to foot the bill for the educational program because congress was the one who authorized the switch to digital. This seems to be faulty reasoning though. After all, the TV electronics industry stands to make a lot of money from the changeover as people have to buy new TV's or at least the set top boxes to make their old TV's work. The TV electronics industry is also positioning itself so that people will have to spend more money by continuing to sell analog TV's that will have to be replaced or fitted with a box in order to function after the changeover. Considering that the TV industry probably lobbied congress to authorize the switch, it can also be the one to pay for the switch and the educational program that should precede it.