TV Switch Will Catch Some Off-Guard, No Matter What

70M sets could be affected in digital move; half of owners won't know what to do
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2008 4:42 PM CDT
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin speaks during the CITA wireless show at the Hilton convention center in Las Vegas on Tuesday, April 1, 2008.    (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
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(Newser) – Roughly half of Americans who still own analog TVs aren’t ready for February's switch to digital broadcasting, a government report concludes. Consumers are confused about what to do, and will go dark if they fail to buy a converter box, buy a digital TV or sign up for satellite or cable for the 70 million sets still using analog signals, the Washington Post reports.

Most consumers (84%) did know the switch was coming; half knew about the government coupon program that will help pay for converters, but most didn’t now how to get a coupon. Making matters worse, the $40 coupons expire after 90 days; less than half of a recent batch of 800,000 were redeemed before expiration.