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CES 2008: Best Buy head worried about U.S. readiness for DTV transition

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 10 Jan 2008 20:10 User comments (14)

CES 2008: Best Buy head worried about U.S. readiness for DTV transition In a new twist on recent stories about the transition from analog to digital broadcast TV in the U.S., Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson is expressing concern over the challenges of getting converter boxes in the hands of consumers before the last analog signals are turned off in a little over a year.
Speaking to an industry audience at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), he said "I think it's one of the biggest risks our industry has." He added "The number of converter boxes that is going to be required could put tremendous pressure on us to solve all those problems."

Part of the prolem, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington is that there are no real goals set by the FCC, and therefore no way to know how far the country has to go. FCC chairman Kevin Martin recently defended himself, saying "the various orders contained in FCC dockets amount to a plan."

If the FCC does indeed have a plan, retailers apparently aren't convinced it will work. "The clock's ticking and this is coming very quickly," Anderson said. Best Buy is planning to have the converter boxes available for purchase by April.

If you're a U.S. resident you can apply for up to 2 vouchers, which will be good for $40 off the price of a DTV converter from stores like Best Buy, by visiting a special government website or calling 1-888-388-2009.

Most of the boxes are expected to retail for more than the $40 value of each voucher, although Dish Network parent company EchoStar has pledged to make their converters available for $39.99. While the price means they'll lose money, EchoStar hopes to make it up in consumer good will and sales of more expensive converters.

Source: Yahoo

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14 user comments

110.1.2008 20:53

Luckily for me, I haven't watched TV in over a year and a half since my cable got turned off for getting behind on the monthly payments. At first I missed television but now i realize that I was mostly sitting there for 3 to 4 hours just switching from one channel to the next and not really watching anything but several seconds of each show. Where I work, they have TV's for the customers and I sometimes watch it when on break or lunch and you know what? I'm not missing anything by not having it at home. It's the same old crap it always was. Seriously. If anything it's gotten worse. The "news" isn't really news anymore. It's the network's opinion on what the news should be. Anyways my point here to this long drawn out response is.......who cares if anyone is ready for digital? Who needs TV?

210.1.2008 21:41

Originally posted by Fiji5555:
Luckily for me, I haven't watched TV in over a year and a half since my cable got turned off for getting behind on the monthly payments. At first I missed television but now i realize that I was mostly sitting there for 3 to 4 hours just switching from one channel to the next and not really watching anything but several seconds of each show. Where I work, they have TV's for the customers and I sometimes watch it when on break or lunch and you know what? I'm not missing anything by not having it at home. It's the same old crap it always was. Seriously. If anything it's gotten worse. The "news" isn't really news anymore. It's the network's opinion on what the news should be. Anyways my point here to this long drawn out response is.......who cares if anyone is ready for digital? Who needs TV?
I will agree with most of that. News is no longer news, and shows tend to be geared to the dumb and lame....

310.1.2008 22:20

I don't think the demand is as much the problem as people actually understanding what is happening. I bet there will be a bunch of people sitting around with snowy TV's when the switch happens wondering what the heck happened.

411.1.2008 0:20

Originally posted by stumpied:
I don't think the demand is as much the problem as people actually understanding what is happening. I bet there will be a bunch of people sitting around with snowy TV's when the switch happens wondering what the heck happened.

this.

511.1.2008 1:17

Originally posted by stumpied:
I don't think the demand is as much the problem as people actually understanding what is happening. I bet there will be a bunch of people sitting around with snowy TV's when the switch happens wondering what the heck happened.

Actually that may be where the demand issue comes in. If people were gradually buying the converters it would probably be relatively easy for manufacturers and retailers to keep up. Since most people won't be getting their converters until shortly before, or in some cases right after, the analog service stops it means the inventory has to be ready to stock as soon as it runs out.

Unfortunately Kevin Martin is too busy going after the cable industry to worry about whether the people who pay his salary know what's going on with their TVs.

611.1.2008 5:37

Quote:
Originally posted by stumpied:
I don't think the demand is as much the problem as people actually understanding what is happening. I bet there will be a bunch of people sitting around with snowy TV's when the switch happens wondering what the heck happened.

Actually that may be where the demand issue comes in. If people were gradually buying the converters it would probably be relatively easy for manufacturers and retailers to keep up. Since most people won't be getting their converters until shortly before, or in some cases right after, the analog service stops it means the inventory has to be ready to stock as soon as it runs out.
That is pretty much what will happen -- here in Finland, we switched off the analog broadcast in September, 2007 and there were huge queues on the very last week in electronics stores, people buying digital STBs. And we launched nationwide digital TV broadcast signal in 2001, so people had more than six years time to buy one and yet they still failed to get the message :-)

Lets see what'll happen in February this year when analog cable will be shut down (currently only about 70% of cable homes have either converter/STB or a TV with integrated digital tuner). Most likely the very same thing that happened few months ago.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Jan 2008 @ 6:47

711.1.2008 6:07

Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by stumpied:
I don't think the demand is as much the problem as people actually understanding what is happening. I bet there will be a bunch of people sitting around with snowy TV's when the switch happens wondering what the heck happened.

Actually that may be where the demand issue comes in. If people were gradually buying the converters it would probably be relatively easy for manufacturers and retailers to keep up. Since most people won't be getting their converters until shortly before, or in some cases right after, the analog service stops it means the inventory has to be ready to stock as soon as it runs out.
That is pretty much what will happen -- here in Finland, we switched off the analog broadcast in September, 2007 and there were huge queues on the very last week in electronics stores, people buying digital STBs. And we launched nationwide digital TV broadcast signal in 2001, so people had more than six years time to buy one and yet they still managed to get the message :-)

Lets see what'll happen in February this year when analog cable will be shut down (currently about 70% of cable homes have either converter/STB or a TV with integrated digital tuner). Most likely the very same thing that happened few months ago.
Ya the masses are slow to keep up.

I don't have any Dtv equipment don't want any either since I get my stuff off cable/net.

If I get anything Dtv it probably be in a VCR/DVD/DVR unit.

811.1.2008 8:35

Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by stumpied:
I don't think the demand is as much the problem as people actually understanding what is happening. I bet there will be a bunch of people sitting around with snowy TV's when the switch happens wondering what the heck happened.

Actually that may be where the demand issue comes in. If people were gradually buying the converters it would probably be relatively easy for manufacturers and retailers to keep up. Since most people won't be getting their converters until shortly before, or in some cases right after, the analog service stops it means the inventory has to be ready to stock as soon as it runs out.
That is pretty much what will happen -- here in Finland, we switched off the analog broadcast in September, 2007 and there were huge queues on the very last week in electronics stores, people buying digital STBs. And we launched nationwide digital TV broadcast signal in 2001, so people had more than six years time to buy one and yet they still failed to get the message :-)

Lets see what'll happen in February this year when analog cable will be shut down (currently only about 70% of cable homes have either converter/STB or a TV with integrated digital tuner). Most likely the very same thing that happened few months ago.
Exactly. It will be a mad rush full of pissed of customers that will find someone (who is at the very least innocent if not polite) to yell at and blame for their own sorry procrastination. Stores will be bombarded with them.

I feel for the employees (Best Buy, Radio Shack, etc.) who will have to deal with these people in droves.

911.1.2008 11:33

Fiji,

Agreed. There really isn't that much good TV anymore. I normally now listen to what others say about a show and then maybe watch a few show. If I like it enough, then I just go and buy the DVDs. That way I can watch them when I want.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Jan 2008 @ 11:35

1012.1.2008 0:54

I find myself watching less and less TV these days because of the poor programming on the networks. What few shows I do watch I pre-record on my 2 VCR's so that I can fast forward the commercials. I'm dreading the arrival of Feb. 09 because I will be forced to replace my 2 good VCR's and 2 good built-in analog TV's with no room for converter boxes. What will I do with the 10 new 8 Hr.VHS tapes I just bought? This whole situation sucks! I hoping for a postponement from the FCC.

1112.1.2008 12:43

WILL THESE BOXES CONVERT SIGNALS FOR OLD VCRS?

1212.1.2008 12:47

They should work for any NTSC device, including VCRs.

1312.1.2008 19:42

I've applied for a coupon to get a box for my Replay TV DVR.

1423.1.2008 16:27

I cant wait to see when the transition happens and everyone looses standard TV and then all mayhem will break loose.

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