Digital Transition Hysteria

by on July 8, 2008 · 7 comments

Ars has a write-up of a new report that claims that the transition to digital television will be a disaster, and that the government needs to spend still more money to ease the transition process. The whole thing is just silly. The government is providing two free converter boxes to every household. If someone is too oblivious to apply for a converter box in the months leading up to the transition, I can only assume there will be lots of discussion of it on their televisions the week or two before the transition. And if that doesn’t convince them to get a converter box, surely they’ll figure it out the day their TV stops working.

I’m sorry, but going for a few days with no television just isn’t an emergency. I suppose it’s remotely possible that a natural disaster will hit the day after the transition and somebody won’t be warned because they didn’t have their converter box installed. But this is frankly quite a reach. People don’t have access to TV for all sorts of reasons. I rarely turn mine on because I’ve got better things to do with my time. That doesn’t constitute an emergency.

It warms my heart to see common sense prevailing among Ars’s commenters. As Ars reader brownd4 puts it, “If people aren’t smart enough to know about this ahead of time, they’ll do something about it when their TVs go dark. Not a big deal.”

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