TV picture remains cloudy for many

Perennial procrastinators may get relief this week from Congress. The Senate has reportedly reached agreement on a bill that would delay until June 12 the transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting.

Oh joy! Another four months of those chirpy TV ads explaining how to make your television set ready for the switch.

The change was to occur Feb. 17, as anyone who has spent even a smattering of time in front of a TV over the past year should know. And it won’t affect viewers who receive their TV signal either through cable or via satellite.

However, despite the relentless advertising warning people about the upcoming transition, an estimated 6.5 million households have done little or nothing to prepare for the switch, and their television sets could go dark next month.

Additionally, the Commerce Department has reached its funding limit for coupons to assist people in buying the digital converter boxes, which cost between $30 and $40. That was a key reason President Barack Obama asked Congress to postpone the transition, which had already been postponed once.

We hope people facing the TV transition challenge will pay attention this time. Perhaps they will if Congress says, “We really mean it, now.”

But it’s been four years since Congress passed the legislation requiring the change. And it’s been well over a year since advertisements warning of the impending switch began hitting the airways. Yet millions of people still failed to act.

It’s all but certain that if the delay is approved by Congress, when June 12 rolls around there will still be people complaining, “We’re not ready yet. Why didn’t you tell us sooner?”


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