Attitudes: Hailing the Benefits of the DTV Transition
At the Consumer Electronics Association’s Washington Forum last month, the topic of the digital television transition was discussed by panelists representing various interests in the consumer electronics industry including cable, broadcasters and manufacturers. All parties pretty much agreed that the major issues are now settled (the fact that digital television was covered by only one session this year is evidence of that), including the deadline for the cutoff of analog broadcasting.
While only a small number of Americans will be affected by the loss of analog signals (cable providers will continue to transmit analog channels, and satellite subscribers are already digital), there remain some education issues, for which retailers will need to be on the front lines in addressing. Consumers understand the attraction of large high definition televisions, and those who are exposed to high definition content easily understand the enhanced entertainment value, but there are other values beyond that. Consumers need to know that the digital transition is not a conspiracy concocted by the electronics manufacturers.
For those consumers who don’t intend to upgrade their TVs, there’s the government’s coupon program for digital-to-analog set-top-boxes. Qualifying households can receive two coupons good for $40 toward the purchase of the receivers, available next year. LG has predicted that the products will cost about $60, bringing the cost to consumers to only $20 (see RCA’s converter, p. 80).