Delaying the inevitable: DTV transition pushed back to June 12

Update: The FCC says it will still allow some stations to make the switch early, but that the it “reserve[s] the right to deny those requests if we find that it would not serve the public interest or if it would frustrate Congress’ goal of giving consumers adequate time to prepare.”


Ah Congress.  How I loathe love thee.  Let me count the ways…nevermind. The point here is that Congress’ decision to delay the DTV transition from February 17 to June 12 (Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law) is just postponing the inevitable.  People will complain just as much come the beginning of June that they’ve not had adequate time to request converter-box coupons and the same advocacy groups will play the same old tune about how unfair and discriminatory this transition is to indigent and elderly folks.

Look, I respect and understand that this transition is not as easy or convenient for some as it is for others, but the reality is, the DTV transition was originally announced 3+ years ago, back in 2005 (enacted through the Digital Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 on October 20, 2005). In other words, people have had ample opportunities to request and receive their $40 vouchers to buy the necessary converter boxes (many of which cost no more than $40, thus they are free).

Besides pointing out the obvious here, the other reason this delay will be pointless stems from the fact that the delay is voluntary, i.e. those channels that are ready and willing to make the jump from analog to digital as of February 17 will be allowed to do so independent of the pending DTV Delay Act. And let’s be honest here, once Americans (rich or poor, old or young) turn on their TVs only to find static…that will be their real motivation to buy a new tv, request a coupon, or switch to cable/satellite services.  Americans are cool like that.  We need sh*t to hit the fan before we make sweeping changes.  Instead of ousting Bush after his first 4 years of failure, a (slim) majority of this great country felt that we might as well give him another 4 years, just to make sure he was on his way to becoming one of the worst Presidents in US history.  But alas, I digress…

The bottom line here is that if we are to heed President Obama’s call to action then people need to stop blaming the Government for all of their problems and start being proactive for themselves. If you waited too long and now there are no more coupons, you have a few options:  1. Try reading a BOOK; 2. Spend more time outdoors and/or away from the TV;  3. Take advantage of the transition offers from Comcast etc (such as $10/mth basic cable) and switch to cable or satellite; 4. Buy a new TV; 5. Watch TV online (i.e. use the Internet access most people pay for independent of TV); or 6. Pay more attention when the Government and EVERY TV channel that you watch has been telling you for at least 2 years to request a coupon so that during the next transition (although this may be the last one) you are actually prepared.

Alright, so maybe I’m being a little harsh (but isn’t that part of the definition of a ‘rant’?) here, but I just think it is time to stop making excuses and to start taking more responsibility for our own actions.  Now if you will excuse me, I’ve got to go catch up on Top Chef and LOST…