There’s still no official FCC strategy for the nation’s switchover to digital television in February 2009, reports the General Accounting Office. We guess this will be one of those let-the-private-sector-sort-it-out “initiatives.” [Reuters]

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  1. Gopher bond says:

    No matter what they do, I think they will be surprised at the number of people who complain that they aren’t getting a television signal.

  2. Munsoned says:

    @testsicles: “complain” or “riot”?

  3. Crymson_77 says:

    @ErnieMcCracken: riot…and this is no surprise. I mean really…

  4. archieleach says:

    Don’t you mean FCC?

  5. rollinghills says:

    Good. Let the private sector sort it out. I don’t want my tax dollars paying for converter boxes and such at all.

    This isn’t an overnight change, as in it’s been coming for years, and it’s not a change that is going to kill anyone or even make them sick. All the TVs will still work just fine, they’ll do everything they were advertised to do, but no one will be broadcasting signals to them anymore.

    Things change. Get over it. It’s not the government’s job to make your TV time warm fuzzy and uncomplicated.

  6. notallcompaniesarebad says:

    Dear Consumerist: please read the articles you blog about.

    I would hope the FTC has no plans, after all, it’s the FCC’s job. What next, a post lamenting the lack of a pentagon plan to regulate casino slot machine rates?

  7. G-Dog says:

    I don’t know a single person the switchover will effect. The misinformation and idiots claiming to know what they are talking about worries me more that the switchover itself.

  8. gman863 says:

    The $40 off coupons towards the purchase of a digital converter box will (allegedly) be available in February on-line or by mail.

    There is a limit of two coupons per household – the catch is that, given the number of coupons Uncle Sam has budgeted for, the number of available coupons won’t even begin to cover the number of converter boxes needed for every analog-tuner TV.

    Stay tuned, and get ready to pounce on the ‘net the day they are released to the public – my guess is all the coupons will be gone by the end of the first day.

    That, and don’t feel any guilt about accepting the video version of food stamps: The FCC is already selling the bandwith currently used by analog TV to cell phone and communication giants for use once everyone is forced to go digital. Compared to the $$$ the govermnet will rake in from this, the $40 coupons are a drop in the bucket.

  9. gte910h says:

    While theoretically speaking, TV news is of some importance, it’s really not a bad thing if TV just turns off. That’s really all that happens when that switch is thrown. Water shortages don’t happen, home loans don’t get harder to get, army and national guard soldiers don’t get deployed somewhere, and we don’t lose any lives or have any education issues.

  10. scoosdad says:

    @rollinghills: Allegedly some of the proceeds of the auction of the left-over 700 Mhz spectrum after the move to all digital TV is supposed to fund the coupon program, not taxes.

  11. scoosdad says:

    @gman863: “Stay tuned, and get ready to pounce on the ‘net the day they are released to the public – my guess is all the coupons will be gone by the end of the first day.”

    And someone posted here the other day the fact that the coupons are only good for 90 days…. good luck trying to spend it so soon if you actually end up getting one.

  12. nrwfos says:

    one thing about the TV’s being shut down – the riots one person suggested would occur might actually get some people off their couches and behinds to actually get exercise. This country was based on revolution and dissatisfaction – and this should be the one thing that will energize the public! Tea Parties won’t do it anymore! LOL!!

  13. martyf says:

    Just a minor addition here – all radios that pick up TV band audio, and all in-vehicle televisions that pick up broadcast signals will not work anymore.
    Also, in terms of PORTABLE televisions – you know, like the one you bring to the stadium to watch the game you’re watching – there’s only one model with an ATSC tuner that I know of.

  14. GearheadGeek says:

    @gman863: Houses using satellite or digital cable won’t need the DTV-to-analog converter boxes anyway, that’s what the set-top from your service provider does already. That’ll take a huge number of analog sets out of the competition for these converters, though I’m sure lots of panic-stricken cable/satellite customers will buy one anyway.

  15. notallcompaniesarebad says:

    I don’t know of a single person who will need one of these coupons. I can’t imagine it’s going to be all that big of a deal. I don’t think they should even bother.