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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.”
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is calling it quits as of inauguration day. The Chairman, who could have served for three more years, is heading to the Aspen Institute, a preserve for endangered spectacles masquerading as a “nonprofit leadership group.” Martin’s tenure was a mixed bag for consumers…
…the five FCC Commissioners and other Commission staff will fan out to [selected] markets to raise awareness and educate consumers.
Best Buy, Circuit City, and Sears are all contesting the FCC’s recent fines against them for not properly following analog transition rules in their stores, reports Ars Technica. Last week, Best Buy submitted a 41-page response (PDF) that claimed among other things that the FCC has no authority to fine them.
The FCC handed out a whole basketful of fines to electronics retailers today: $1.1 million for Sears and Kmart; $992,000 for Wal-Mart; $712,000 for Circuit City; and amounts between $168,000-384,000 for Target, Best Buy, CompUSA, and Fry’s Electronics. What made Christmas come so early? They were all failing to warn consumers that analog-only TVs and tuners will stop working on their own when the digital switchover comes next year.
Cablevision is trying to scare consumers into signing up for basic cable service ahead of the planned transition to digital television. After February 17, 2009, consumers will need a $60 converter box to receive television signals over-the-air. The transition to digital will significantly improve the quality of over-the-air television, but that isn’t stopping Cablevision from funding a scare-mongering campaign to rustle up new business.