By Steve Macek and Mitchell Szczepanczyk

On February 17, 2009, all full-power analog television broadcasts in the United States will cease and existing TV stations will begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format. The switch to digital television (DTV) will free up frequencies for emergency uses and allow broadcasters to provide more programming for their viewers through "multicasting."

As a practical matter, people will need to subscribe to a cable or satellite television service, use a digital-ready TV set, or hook up a digital converter box to an analog TV set, in order to continue watching broadcast television.

Unfortunately, the number of people who stand to lose their access to TV programming in the coming DTV transition is considerable. Roughly 10 to 15 percent of all TV households (about 30 to 40 million people) still rely on over-the-air television, most of whom are senior citizens, poor, or non-English speakers. In a city like Chicago, with high poverty rates and a large immigrant population, some 20 percent of residents still use antenna-only TV and an estimated 230,000 households are completely unready for the conversion.


Anonymous said...

The transition is delayed, but problems are still present. It's a lose-lose situation either way. However, with the delay, a lot have begun to complain and confusion has arisen.