Consumers Have No F*&@#%! Clue What's Going On With The Digital TV Conversion

Consumer Reports tells us that according to a survey they commissioned, consumers have absolutely no f@#$@%$ clue what the heck is going on with the digital TV conversion.

What is the Digital TV Conversion?

Free over-the-air broadcasting will switch to a digital format on Feb 17, 2009. If you have an older (analog) television, and use an antenna, you may need to purchase a converter box in order to continue watching All My Children. Coupons for converter boxes are available from the FCC’s digital conversion website.

Consumer Reports says that this imfornation is proving incredibly difficult to convey:

Even among those who are aware of the switch to digital broadcasts, there is rampant confusion about what it will require of consumers. Among those consumers who are aware of the transition, over half (58%) believe all TVs will need a digital converter box to function, 48 percent believe that only digital televisions will work after 2009 and nearly one quarter (24%) believe they will need to throw away all of their analog television sets; none of which is true.

The main concern isn’t that a few people won’t be able to watch tv, but that a huge amount of consumers will be tricked into buying new TVs that they don’t even need. Consumer Reports says that large amounts of consumers who are completely unaffected by the switch think they need to buy new TVs, and that many people who are planning to buy converter boxes aren’t aware of the coupon program:

  • One-third (33%) of consumers completely unaffected by the transition also plan to buy a converter box and 31 percent plan to purchase a new digital television set with a built in digital tuner.

  • Although purchasing a converter box is by far the most popular action planned by those aware of the transition, a staggering 73 percent are unaware of the government coupon created to offset the cost of purchasing one of these boxes.


How to survive the digital TV transition [Consumer Reports]