We’ve all been reading and hearing about the FCC’s digital mandate that requires all broadcast entities to send their signals in a digital format by February 17, 2009. While some members of Congress had hoped to delay the ‘digital transition’, I for one am happy to hear that the FCC has held strong and things will go off according to plan three days after Cupid’s Ride.
The argument that our country isn’t ready or that there hasn’t been enough time for stations, consumers and businesses to prepare is bologna. We’ve had more than 12 years to make the change – September 1996 was when Congress first addressed the addition of digital signals, later followed by the decision to go all digital – and if that isn’t enough time, then shame on us.
But just because the FCC and your local TV stations are making the switch to digital, this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank on a new flat screen TV. There are several cost-effective options for you on the market – everything from digital converter boxes (which the government has offered at a discounted rate through this coupon program) to TV-to-PC gadgets – that won’t require hefty investments.
I think it’s important, as we make this switch to digital in the coming weeks, to remember why we’re doing this. Sure, the picture quality will be better and the audio will sound crisper when we watch our favorite “primetime” shows, but the real reason the FCC has mandated the change is with our safety in mind. Did you know that by switching to digital TV broadcast channels, we’re freeing up valuable analog communication links to public safety entities (police, fire, EMS)? Also, by making the transition, the FCC will be able to offer up more options for wireless technology…so when you ask ‘Can you hear me now?’ the person on the other end WILL actually get to hear you now. Nice!
I could run on and on about the benefits of digital v. anaglog broadcast, but as many of us have already learned, there really is no argument. Most stations have been pumping our digital signals for years – the city of Wilmington, NC beat us all the to the punch, September 8, 2008 by becoming the first city in America to broadcast in complete digital – so this change shouldn’t really come as a surprise.
So the question remains…are you ready for the ‘switch’?
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Dave (The High-Def Husband)