January 23, 2008
Meeting Scheduled to Discuss Digital Deadline for TV

Recently, in my regular daily e-mail update from TelevisionWeek, I saw the latest update from Ira Teinowitz on the House of Representatives' most recent reaction to preparations for the digital deadline for American televisions.

Teinowitz, who has covered this situation regularly for that publication for quite a while now, writes that House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell remains displeased with the ways in which everyone involved with preparing for the Feb. 17, 2009, transition from analog to digital signals for television broadcasting has been educating the public and preparing for the transition.

Now, a hearing is scheduled for Feb. 13, with the idea of looking at how well the preparation has been and needs to be, one year from the actual date of the conversion.

I first wrote on this topic early in 2007, and I've since pointed out (here and here) that little progress seems to have been made to really be prepared for an early 2009 switch.

Commentators such as Nolan Bowie (see my piece here for more) have pointed out that there are myriad issues of public concern surrounding this conversion, from public education to funding conversion boxes to disposal of analog television sets. I hope some of these issues are on the agenda for the Feb. 17 meeting.

My concern is often that our conversations on the cutting technological edge of the television industry obscures the very real television environment many live in, and there are still many televisions out there which rely on a broadcast signal, whether those be primary sets or secondary sets in people's homes. Let's hope the conversation in February ensures that not only government entities but the television industry as well pays heed to the pressing issues surrounding the digital deadline.