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Digital TV is Coming, Are You Ready?

The Federal Communications Commission actually recently sponsored a Nascar race. It’s purpose? To inform consumers across the country that they’ll soon be transitioning to fully digital signals. That makes older TV you might have guessed..completely obsolete.

Th cost of emblazoning this transition across the Ford driven by David Gilliland? Around $350,000. That’s a hefty price for getting the word to consumers, but it actually turned out to be a surprisingly effective tactic, considering that the car crashed during a race in Phoenix. I couldn’t write that story better if I wanted to.

Unfortunately despite those escapades there’s still a lot of work to be done. A major marketing campaign has failed to help consumers understand what they need to do to get the new digital airwaves. Joe Kelsey, a Consumers Union policy analyst, recently stated that they “Need more boots on the ground” to help spread the word. They’ve advocated armies of people like firefighters and industry employees to go and help set up the new boxes.

Even with all these efforts, I’m not entirely shocked that many believe there will be millions of Americans that will be confused when their TV suddenly stops working on February 17. 20 million households or so use an antenna instead of cable, while another 15 million have a mix of the two. If you don’t know yet, you’re going to need to buy a new digital to analog converter box in order to continue getting a signal. Also not so surprisingly, some people may need a new antenna.

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