Thursday, June 11, 2009


Tomorrow, television will convert from an analog transmission format to the brighter, clearer digital system. While some sources suggest that all this federally mandated change is nothing but forced obsolescence. It really is a significant technological improvement for all television viewers, which frees broadcast spectrum for more efficient utilization.

The well recognized national research firm, A.C. Nielsen, reports that 2.8 million homes are still not ready to receive a digital signal even after a delay of four months in the implementation of the conversion deadline. Only homes that receive their television signal over-the-air without a digital TV, cable, satellite service, or a converter box will be without a viewable television picture tomorrow.

Frankly, anyone who is without service tomorrow must have been living in total isolation for the past two years considering all the announcements that have flooded the air-waves and media outlets. Unfortunately there are many unfortunate soles that live alone or have infirmities that prevent their understanding of this country-wide transition. I cannot believe that there are 2.8 million in this latter category, so I suggest that some number are just cheap or lazy in addressing the situation.

Tomorrow there will be 252,180 homes (4.46%) in Los Angeles who are not ready, and Albuquerque has the highest percentage of unconverted homes at 7.58% or 52,235. While the viewers without television service will lose their entertainment and vital information stations, the local television stations will be negatively impacted from a financial point of view. With already seriously depressed revenue streams during the current economic recession, all of our television stations will have lower total viewing, which directly impacts their pricing and revenue.

One very good bi-product of this conversion, however, has been the huge increase in the sale of digital high-definition television sets, which have positively impacted national retail sales. Additionally with increased sales we saw the price of these HDTV sets drop significantly, and we the viewers have improved picture quality with better viewing enjoyment.

Enjoy the new world of digital High-Definition Television. I wonder what the next new electronic development will be on our horizon. I remember when homes did not even have one television, never mind multiple sets, and we seemed to live happy, satisfying lives. In those days we heard about War, but now we see War, crime, violence, death, and hate in full HDTV color. I guess progress carries a heavy price.


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