America may be facing a “national state of confusion and panic” over the DTV transition, as the analog cutoff date scheduled for February 17th, 2009, approaches, stressed FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein at a policy keynote address during the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) recent DTV Summit.
Adelstein said that the American public needs to be made aware of the situation so they can make the necessary decisions so as not to not be left behind. In his keynote, the commissioner issued a call to action for the word to be put out about the DTV transition, as well as a “coordinated, comprehensive campaign,” involving public and private partnerships—retail and manufacturer. The Deficit Reduction Act provides for $5 million for educating the public on the transition. Rick Chessen, a lawyer with Sheppard, Mullin and Richter and former chairman of the FCC’s Digital Television Task Force noted in a Summit panel, “It’s going to fall on industry to do the job.”
The capitol has a plan for those people who haven’t, or don’t intend to, move over to HDTV willingly. In a DTV bill the President signed, $1.5 billion has been set aside for digital-to-analog converter devices, which would allow an analog TV to receive a digital signal. LG showed such a set-top-box product at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Of course there’s still a lot to be worked out on that front. LG has stated that the set-top-boxes will cost about $50 each to make. The FCC’s www.DTV.gov Web site states that consumers will be able to receive up to two coupons with $40 from the NTIA toward the purchase of these set-top-boxes. How these products will be distributed, allocated and priced has not been established.