Wilmington, N.C., was a testing ground for the DTV switchover, and the results weren't encouraging. It looks as if a lot of people were left in the dark--literally--when the town's TV stations shut off their analog signals at noon on September 5. Apparently, they didn't get the word, despite a high-visibility public information campaign.
"So what?" you might say. "They'll miss a few Everybody Loves Raymond reruns while they sort things out." Sure, TV is largely an entertainment medium, but--for better or worse--it's also a primary source of information for many people in an emergency. Right now, there may well be hundreds (if not thousands) of households in Wilmington that can't use their primary information source for news on approaching hurricanes, for instance.
So how do we do a better job of informing people of the analog TV shutdown? CNET's doing its part with our Quick Guide to DTV Transition, but because the analog shutoff only affects those with over-the-air reception (not cable or satellite TV households), these tend to be poorer or older folks who are less likely to have easy access to alternate information sources such as the Web.
Clearly, the main source of information has to be the TV itself. But more importantly, it needs to be targeted at those who are only watching TV over the air. So here's my fairly simple three-point plan to do just that: … Read more