Death of Rabbit Ears

Do you still have a television that hooks up to an outisde antenna or the ubiquitous "rabbit ears" that sit on top of the box?

You may be in for a rude surprise come February 17, 2009 when broadcasters, by law, stop sending analog signals when they broadcast
your favorite shows:

But many consumers have no idea that this change is coming, and members of Congress are voicing concern over the lack of cooperation between federal agencies and the entertainment industry.

The political static comes as broadcasters, retailers, cable operators and regulators clash over how to educate consumers about the change.

Sales of digital television sets have nearly tripled since 2005, and the Consumer Electronics Association expects annual sales to top $26 billion this year. With the holiday season approaching, government officials in charge of managing the transition to digital TV say that they're severely underprepared and that they worry that the biggest electronics retailers are misinformed.

"If we don't do a better job of planning, we'll have one of the biggest outrages Congress has ever seen," Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein told the Senate Special Committee on Aging last week. "This is a huge market opportunity, but also an opportunity for a huge disaster."
There are currently 70 million TV sets that rely on rooftop antennas and rabbit ears for reception. Unless these consumers purchase a converter box, their TV's will go dark when broadcasters make the switch.

This obviously has politicians sweating so no doubt we will see a massive effort to inform the public of the switch. The problem is that apparently, no one is in charge of seeing that the transition goes smoothly. The FCC has nominal authority in the matter but has requested only a paltry $20 million to get the word out.

Instead, the FCC will probably rely on their regulatory authority, forcing consumer electronics stores to inform customers of the change over when they buy a new TV.

The Commerce Department has also taken a hand in educating consumers with programs targeting likely consumers who don't have cable; the elderly, the poor, and those who don't speak any English.

What all this adds up to is big trouble on February 17, 2009 when millions of TV's across America are likely to go dark.
Do you still have a television that hooks up to an outisde antenna or the ubiquitous "rabbit ears" that sit on top of the box?

You may be in for a rude surprise come February 17, 2009 when broadcasters, by law, stop sending analog signals when they broadcast
your favorite shows:

But many consumers have no idea that this change is coming, and members of Congress are voicing concern over the lack of cooperation between federal agencies and the entertainment industry.

The political static comes as broadcasters, retailers, cable operators and regulators clash over how to educate consumers about the change.

Sales of digital television sets have nearly tripled since 2005, and the Consumer Electronics Association expects annual sales to top $26 billion this year. With the holiday season approaching, government officials in charge of managing the transition to digital TV say that they're severely underprepared and that they worry that the biggest electronics retailers are misinformed.

"If we don't do a better job of planning, we'll have one of the biggest outrages Congress has ever seen," Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein told the Senate Special Committee on Aging last week. "This is a huge market opportunity, but also an opportunity for a huge disaster."
There are currently 70 million TV sets that rely on rooftop antennas and rabbit ears for reception. Unless these consumers purchase a converter box, their TV's will go dark when broadcasters make the switch.

This obviously has politicians sweating so no doubt we will see a massive effort to inform the public of the switch. The problem is that apparently, no one is in charge of seeing that the transition goes smoothly. The FCC has nominal authority in the matter but has requested only a paltry $20 million to get the word out.

Instead, the FCC will probably rely on their regulatory authority, forcing consumer electronics stores to inform customers of the change over when they buy a new TV.

The Commerce Department has also taken a hand in educating consumers with programs targeting likely consumers who don't have cable; the elderly, the poor, and those who don't speak any English.

What all this adds up to is big trouble on February 17, 2009 when millions of TV's across America are likely to go dark.