Digital TV delay isn’t clear picture

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, February 7, 2009

Just like the reception when a TV antenna isn’t tuned correctly, the digital television delay passed by Congress creates a fuzzy picture for many Americans.

The law that is headed to President Barack Obama moved the deadline for the digital conversion for television stations from Feb. 17 to June 12. Lawmakers say this will help the more than 6.5 million Americans who still aren’t ready to keep their screens from going black.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

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Not so fast.

This law still leaves local stations the options of converting early, something that all four Charleston-Huntington network affiliates are still planning to do.

So this change will do very little to help the Tri-State and actually may have just confused the issue even more.

The Federal Communications Commission mandated the conversion to the more efficient digital signal more than three years ago and TV stations have been working to make this switch.

People who subscribe to cable or satellite TV or have a newer TV with a digital tuner will not be affected.

Viewers who watch television on an analog TV with rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna, can continue to receive the station by using a digital-to-analog converter box

The problems were compounded when the government’s coupon program for digital converter boxes fell apart because of insufficient supply and mismanagement.

So the federal government dropped the ball and couldn’t get ready, now they have confused the issue by trying to cleanup their own mess in way that won’t do much for many viewers.

TV viewers need to just take it upon themselves to make sure they are ready by next week and not rely on the government’s fix.