National Consumers League

Props to Congress for Move to Delay DTV Transition Date


The National Consumers League has issued kudos to the U.S. House of Representatives for voting to delay the official date of the federal transition from analog to digital television. You've probably heard of the impending transition, which is set for Feb. 17. Consumer advocates are concerned, however, that there are still many consumers out there - an estimated 6.5 million! - who are unprepared for the switch. Those rabbit-ear-relying TV watchers would be in for a rude awakening when the analog signals stop airing. If they haven't yet subscribed to cable or satellite, swapped their TV for one with a digital signal, or purchased a converter box, they may be baffled when their sets go blank later this month. Unless, that is, the delay is made official, and advocates, government, and others are given more time to reach those millions of consumers with the info they need to make the switch. Sally Greenberg, NCL's Executive Director, had this to say about the move by the House: “The decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to approve a four-month delay in the shutdown of analog TV signals is a victory for the estimated 6.5 million U.S. households that remain unprepared for the DTV transition. Consumers in these unprepared households are disproportionately elderly, low-income, rural, and minority. The delay will allow time for governmental, private, and non-profit educational efforts to have greater effect and for more converter box coupons to be sent to consumers currently on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s waiting list. The delay will also help avoid the nightmare scenario of consumers, particularly older ones, climbing their roofs in February to adjust TV antennas due to the transition. We urge President Obama to sign the bill to law as soon as possible.”