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GAO report criticizes government inaction in DTV transition

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 30 Sep 2007 6:03 User comments (1)

GAO report criticizes government inaction in DTV transition A new study from the U.S. Federal Government's General Accounting Office indicates that not only is there every reason to believe that many residents won't be prepared for, or even informed about, the digital TV transition set for 2009, but there isn't even any effort underway to assess what portion of the public isn't going to be prepared or how to reach them with the message.
"There is no one in charge, and that is cause for concern," said Mark L. Goldstein, director of physical infrastructure issues for the GAO. "There is no comprehensive planning effort, and no one is assessing what gaps exist."

Goldstein says the Federal Communications Commision needs to take the lead in educating consumers, but commisioners there don't seem to be able to reach a consensus as to what exactly their responsibility is. Although they've mandated that cable television providers ensure analog signals are available after the transition, little else has even been decided, let alone accomplished. Meanwhile, a recent study indicated more than half of all consumers aren't aware the transition will take place.

What's even worse is the misinformation coming from many retailers. A U.S. Public Interest Research Group study of retailers in Virginia found that sales people often gave "incorrect and misleading information" about the transition, frequently claiming that consumers need to buy new televisions. In reality, even people who rely on over the air broadcasts should be fine since the government will be offering vouchers for digital to analog converter set-top boxes.

The situation is so bad that some at the FCC have suggested handing off part of the job to retailers. Given how little most retail employees know about the technology, and their vested interest in consumer ignorance, it hardly seems reasonable to leave consumer education in their hands.

Washington Post

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1 user comment

12.10.2007 19:00

I am ready for the change due to the fact it is affordable for me however it may not be affordable for other people. Put an incentive for the public to change over besides the better quality picture.

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