In less than 24 hours all full-power broadcast TV stations in the U.S. will flip a switch to stop broadcasting their analog TV signals and will only broadcast TV signals in digital. And for millions who are unprepared, it could mean lights out on their favorite TV shows.
I know what you're thinking. "We've heard this before." In fact, you've probably been hearing about the transition to digital television for the last decade. You likely started seeing public service commercials last year encouraging you to buy a digital converter box to turn your old analog TV into one that could receive digital signals.
In early February another supposed deadline loomed. And then it didn't happen. Congress, fearing that too many people weren't prepared, postponed the switch, and more than 6 million procrastinators were saved.
But now the new deadline of June 12 is upon us once again. And this time it's for real. President Obama himself issued a statement last week:
"We have worked hand in hand with state and local officials, broadcasters and community groups to educate and assist millions of Americans with the transition...I want to be clear: there will not be another delay."
So here we are, less than a day away from the final transition. And despite months of public service announcements and more than $2 billion spent by the U.S. government to help people prepare, millions will still face a blank screen when they hit that little power button on their TV remotes starting Friday at 12:01 a.m.
The good news is that delaying the switch from February to June has given the Federal Communications Commission some time to ramp up efforts to get the public prepared. The agency has enlisted the help of dozens of groups including volunteers from AmeriCorps, civil rights groups, and even firefighters to help people purchase and install their converter boxes and antennas.… Read more