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CEA says DTV converters may run out within 2 weeks

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 09 Feb 2009 13:41 User comments (3)

CEA says DTV converters may run out within 2 weeks Just in case there wasn't enough chaos surrounding the US DTV transition, an executive from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) gave the FCC some more bad news last Thursday. Speaking at an open meeting of FCC commissioners on the DTV transition Michael Petricone, CEA's Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs, said there may soon be a shortage of converter boxes.
The problem, Petricone explained, is the consumer electronics industry's inability to accurately predict demand for the boxes, most of which will be purchased with the assistance of government vouchers. Once the transition is complete there will be little or no market for them, which is why most manufacturers stopped production in early January in anticipation of a February 17 switchover.

This isn't the first time we've seen problems with the DTV converter supply chain. With some notable exceptions, such as Best Buy and Radio Shack, many retailers were unable to meet consumer demand last summer. During the last few months of 2008 retailer stock seemed to catch up to demand.

Ironically the good news for consumers in need of DTV converters is the bad news for the economy. Due to decreased demand for consumer electronics many assembly lines which would normally have been re-tooled to make other products have simply been shut down instead. This means it should be possible to get additional units on store shelves in half the normal time.

The bad new is that still means an approximately 60 day wait. Petricone said he expects the new boxes to be available some time in the middle of April. The CEA is optomistically predicting that's about the same time existing stock will be running out, but they acknowledge it could happen as soon as the end of February.

Depending on whether the government decides to increase the voucher program's budget, things could get even more complicated. If they wait too long there may be another shortage as manufacturers once again halt production based on the number of vouchers still in circulation.

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3 user comments

111.2.2009 5:11

Here we go again! Around and round they go, and were they stop nobody knows! Converter boxes again in short supply, and the only good thing that came out of the delay of DT was this, delayed supply and demand. Isn't tech wonderful? (sarcasm ends)

211.2.2009 6:38

All it points out (if there was ever any doubt) is that if you want to perpetrate a Royal American Screw-up - hire a politician.
Note:these people are actually elected by otherwise sensible working class people;unfortunately 'their' screw-up is always excepted from the general rule.

327.2.2009 22:30

Have you ever though that part of the converter shortage is folks (such as myself) buying converters & antennas for elderly & low income people they know about so that those persons will have TV after the switchover? There are people out there helping others to get ready for the big switch!!

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