Digital: The New Black?

Glenn Fawcett/Baltimore Sun

Photo: Glenn Fawcett/Baltimore Sun

By: Stephanie Espina

On February 17, 2009  analog televisions across the nation will have to convert to a new digital format (after this story was printed, AdWeek released information stating that the conversion date will be pushed back to June 12). Televisions formerly operating on an analog system will have to conform to all digital-television broadcasting also referred to as digital television (DTV) transition.

With this concept of all-digital broadcasting, more frequencies for public safety communications will become available and the quality of picture and sound will see notable improvements. These newly available frequencies will also introduce advanced commercial wireless services aimed for consumers.

Consumers like Rob McNicholas, a communications major at Marist College, are not impressed and feel that they were not well informed about this digital conversion but pushed by advertisers towards high definition television technology instead.

“I think that while the federal government has attempted to educate the public about the conversion, I think that electronics retailers have taken advantage of the public’s naivete to try to get them to purchase expensive high definition television sets rather than selling the digital conversion boxes intended to upgrade current analog sets.” McNicholas said.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, in order to experience a smooth digital transition, consumers must determine whether or not their television sets carry a digital tuner. Since March 1, 2007, television retailers were required to administer a disclaimer on sets that would require a converter box. Consumers who have television sets that run on analog can only view over-the-air digital programming by purchasing this converter box. The FCC encourages consumers to check with their cable or satellite provider to find out what kinds of programming they can receive, as well as the equipment they might need to receive it.

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