The 30-day countdown to the nation’s switch to digital TV broadcasts starts today. This, of course, means that TV viewers who are using an antenna to watch an older analog TV won’t get service after June 12.
What has changed since we last counted down in January, only to be delayed by swift-moving legislation signed by the new president?
According to a poll from the National Association of Broadcasters (which has likely spent millions attempting to educate the analog-TV reliant), 82 percent of these rabbit-ear antenna people have switched to digital. That leaves 2.1 million people who: a) are procrastinators, b) have no idea what’s going on, or c) don’t care, don’t need it, don’t want it.
By comparison, in January the percentage of prepared households was 52 percent.
For those who are either a) or b), this is your friendly reminder.
I set up a guide to the digital TV transition RIGHT HERE (gadgetress.freedomblogging.com/dtv2009), but the essence is that you need to take action if you rely on an antenna and analog TV set. To convert, you can order cable or other paid TV service, buy a digital TV (all TVs sold after March 2007) or buy a converter box. The converter box is the cheapest option and the government still has $40 coupons available to offset the price. To apply for a coupon, visit www.dtv2009.gov.
Some of the problems occur after consumers install the converter box. The biggest issue has been reception and getting channels. But that is apparently changing too as more channels go digital and improve their broadcast strength. According to a new NAB survey of 1,080 broadcast-ready consumers, 75 percent of digital-ready households say they are getting better reception then before. Approximately 8 percent, however, say they are receiving fewer channels.
Follow the tips at antennaweb.org or my guide to understand the digital conversion and how to get better reception (suggestions are to buy a rooftop antenna and always rescan the converter box to pick up new channels).
More digital TV transition news:
Check out the Gadgetress Guide to the Digital TV transition