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US House and Senate schedule more hearings to assess readiness for DTV transition

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 02 Feb 2008 22:22 User comments (3)

US House and Senate schedule more hearings to assess readiness for DTV transition The Committee on Energy and Commerce for the U.S. House of Representatives has announced a hearing regarding the upcoming DTV (digital television) transition. The hearing will be held on February 13, just over a year before analog signals are scheduled to disappear from U.S. airwaves. Not to be outdone, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will be holding a hearing of their own the next day.
"As part of our ongoing oversight of the DTV transition process, this hearing will be a key opportunity to check-in on the various aspects of the transition, which is so important for public safety, economic growth, innovation, consumer welfare, and the future of television itself. With just a year to go, we want this transition to be as smooth as possible for American consumers, said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

The problem is that everyone in the government already seems to have a pretty good idea where things stand right now, or if they don't it's not for a lack of available information. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued more than one report indicating that government agencies have done a horrible job of preparing the public for the 2009 transition, and in in one report even went so far as to suggest that the FCC doesn't have so much as a single benchmark in place to figure out whether the process is on track or not.

While it's nice to see legislators asking some questions, it appears that the answers they're looking can generally be found in the public record. Rather than ask the same questions over and over again, in an apparent hope that the answers will change enough to avoid any sort of action, maybe its time to see what needs done, and what role the government should be playing.

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.

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3 user comments

13.2.2008 6:36

they're gonna have a couple of big parties-er-meetings about the infusion of cash and support all of the dtv partner companies have brought to the table to force-rush this transition. this coupon program looks like something they hobbled together at the last minute.

the best buy store brand converter box is $60 right now, so that's still $20 out-of-pocket for each converter box purchased. they say there are 31 million households using over-the-air broadcasts, 19 million of which have antennae as their only receiver. i'm not doing any math on that, because it won't be pretty.

the coupons expire like 90 days after they're mailed, and that wouldn't be a problem except that they're available first-come-first-served. there's no way to know if you should hurry to get one before they run out or not, because you don't know what's in your tv. videohelp can tell me what video formats play on any dvd player/recorder in their hardware section; so where's the similar list the government should have already compiled to figure out which tv has a digital tuner?
this sure doesn't help.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Feb 2008 @ 6:38

23.2.2008 16:00

I have heard that Wal-Mart is going to carry them for about $49.00

327.2.2008 0:57

this is going to be a long process.

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