Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ready or not, digital TV's coming

Ready or not, digital TV's coming

LOS ANGELES, April 2 (UPI) -- The countdown toward the U.S. conversion to digital television is ticking downward, slowly but inexorably.

Statistics show about 20 percent of U.S. households use rabbit ears or rooftop antennae rather than pay for cable or satellite programming. But because federal law mandates the switch from analog to digital in 2009, most of those sets will go dark unless a converter box costing about $50, less any government subsidy, is installed.
A recent poll found 61 percent of people who rely on broadcast TV aren't aware of the coming changes, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. About half of those households have incomes under $30,000, and blacks and Hispanics comprise a higher percentage than whites, according to the survey.

Alex Nogales of the Los Angeles-based National Hispanic Media Coalition told a congressional panel last week: "Am I concerned that our community is going to be left out? Of course."
Nancy Zirkin of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights worries those needing the converter-box coupons will be the last know.
"Like some science-fiction nightmare, the news they watch, the programs that actually keep them company and let them know what is happening in the world, could -- poof -- disappear," she said.

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