Three Million People Are "Totally Unprepared" For The Digital Transition

We all know the switch to digital transition is next Friday, June 12. Most of us already have cable, or satellite, or digital converters. But not three million Americans, who according to Nielsen, are still “totally unprepared for the transition and will lose their reception.”

The government has spent more than $2 billion to ease the transition to digital television, and in the last few months has cut in half the number of households that are unprepared for the final conversion on June 12. But the latest survey by the Nielsen Company indicates that as of the end of May, more than 10 percent of the 114 million households that have television sets are either completely or partly unprepared.

Michael J. Copps, the acting head of the Federal Communications Commission, said that the people most likely to lose reception are society’s most vulnerable – lower-income families, the elderly, the handicapped and homes where little or no English is spoken. The transition will also hit inner-city and rural areas hardest, he said.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke chalks up the disturbing numbers to pure old American laziness. “There are so many people who are always waiting until the last minute, whether it is college students doing term papers, or people filing taxes, or people like me who wait until Christmas Eve to do their shopping,” he said.

The government advises people using digital converters to rescan their channels on Friday to make sure all their stories are in the right places. If they’re not, or if you have other questions, ring up the government’s $40 million hotline at 1-888-CALLFCC.

Last-minute DTV Tips [Consumer Reports]
The Digital TV Transition [FCC]
Millions Face Blank Screens in TV Switch [The New York Times]