For now, the date for the shutoff of analog television is set in stone. That was pretty much the consensus of the DTV panel at the Consumer Electronics Association Washington Forum, yesterday at Washington DC’s Ronald Reagan Building.
The panel, consisting of representatives from the National Association of Broadcasters, Association of Public Television, National Cable and Telecommunications Association and CEA, discussed current issues affecting the digital television transmission. But unlike previous years, there was a lot less disagreement among the participants, as most of the issues - especially the firm analog cutoff date of February 17, 2009 - have been settled.
Consumer education, however, is one issue that still needs to be addressed, panelists agreed. John Lawson, president and CEO of the Association of Public Television, said that a poll of public television viewers found over 60 percent “had no clue” about the DTV transition or the coupon program to fund the digital-to-analog converter boxes. Rather than getting the public worried over their loss of analog television, Lawson asserted that the public needs to be informed of the positive values of the digital transition, not only new channels, better picture and better sound, but also the benefits to public safety.