[The FCC’s decision] simply added [to the] confusion; the date has been set in place for years. I remember buying a CRT TV back in 2005 and seeing a sticker on it about February 17, 2009 — and that wasn’t even the first I’d heard about it. I think if people did not know about it by that date, then they must not care about TV and therefore would not be affected by it. Also, the fact that a lot of stations still turned off their analog broadcast towers on February 17 just added more confusion. Even my 80-plus-year-old grandparents knew about the change way before it happened.
I guess one idea is that some people cannot afford the converter boxes, but I don’t see how an extra few months will help that situation.
It was a bad decision that serves no meaningful purpose other than to appease stupid people with their heads in the sand. An incredible amount of money was spent in the last two years to educate people on what was going to happen on February 17, but the general public was still confused and delaying the date did nothing but cost broadcasters more money spent on electricity to power their old analog transmitters.
In response to our question about the FCC’s postponement, Marc Hunt, who teaches video and sound production to high school students at the Harkness Career and Technical Center in Cheektowaga, N.Y., asked his junior-class students to write about their reactions. Here are two of his students’ letters:
I think it was a good idea to extend the deadline. It allows companies and people a little extra time to prepare.
The day after the change was supposed to take place, the FCC received 28,315 calls on its consumer hotline. According to the FCC, 421 nationwide television stations didn’t terminate their analog broadcasting until midnight of February 14, 2009. There was a lot of confusion about this. A lot of people were unprepared [due to] lack of knowledge, not enough money or procrastination. In giving more time to people, I think they will understand the importance of getting prepared.
I believe that [in] the shorter amount of time that people have now, they will understand the importance of switching over and prepare properly. Those people who haven’t switched over by now are very fortunate to be given this window of time.
I think the FCC made a mistake in postponing the changeover to digital television. People saw and heard s on TV and the radio for months preparing them for the switch. Now by postponing it, the FCC is allowing people who ignored the alerts for the first changeover to continue to put it off until a later date. People can’t feel the full effect of the change until the change is complete.
The FCC should have gone on with the change according to plan, and if people didn’t go through the right preparations, then that’s their problem. According to an FCC news release, 421 television stations didn’t terminate their analog stations until midnight on Tuesday, February 17. That Tuesday, 28,315 calls were made to the FCC consumer hotline in regards to confusion about the transition. People were unaware of how to reset their televisions or when they should do so. It’s obvious that people took the subject too lightly and failed to adhere to the warnings.
The change to digital shouldn’t have been postponed because the people who ignored the issue the first time are being let off easily and will do the same for the second deadline.
If the consumer is confused about the need to add a converter or upgrade to cable after the media blitz in our area, I believe they deserve a dark-screen future. Back to the radio for them: It’s still free, it’s mobile and can be stimulating enough to turn a couch-potato butt into those buns of steel once envied on the black box in the corner.