Sunday, June 10, 2007
Some TV industry analysts predict that if the majority of over the air TV viewers suddenly can't watch TV and there's no explanation for why their TV sets won't work, we can expect to see riots and thefts of digital TV's from businesses and individual homes. The reasoning is that a large number of the people who rely on over the air TV signals for their TV entertainment are lower income people who would be less likely to be informed of the changeover and be likely to cause trouble if they don't get their TV. While this view does have some plausibility it seems to blow the situation out of proportion.
Nonetheless, the recent legislation provides provisions for educating the general public about the switch in several way. For one thing, the legislation would require that all analog only TV's that are sold or rented have a tag on them that says something to the effect of "This set will not receive over the air TV signals after February 17, 2009 without a digital conversion box. It should still work with cable boxes, satellite receivers, and other home entertainment system components." Of course no one can mandate that tags like that are read. The legislation also requires the TV industry to educate consumers about the TV format switch, and requires that the digital converter boxes that will allow analog TV's to display digital over the air TV content conform to energy consumption standards.
While, these Representatives are to be commended for taking initiative on this issue, it seems like Congress should deal with more important things than an issue that will effect only a small portion of the population- and not effect them in a way that will impact their health and well being or their financial situation. The TV industry is the one that's making the switch, so it would be nice if it stepped up to the plate and facilitated a change which is really in its own best interest and that the rest of the public will adapt to, one way or another.