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The following press release contains some disturbing information about the transition to all digital terrestrial TV. There are still far too many over-the-air viewers who know nothing of what is coming upon them (shut off of analog on February 17, 2009). We, who already have these digital services, need to think of how we can individually advance the understanding of the transition to those who still have not a clue. It is important work and we thank you in advance for doing what you can for the cause. The nation needs the spectrum back to be then reissued by the FCC to Homeland Security first responders, among other things. There is a coupon subsidy program for ATSC decoder boxes designed to help those who simply cannot afford to make the transition, so no one is being led into a blind corner. The solutions are there for those dependent upon over-the-air services but the education needed to successfully engage those solutions is not._Dale

APTS Survey Finds Majority of Americans Remain Unaware of DTV Transition

APTS Will Ask Congress for Additional Funding for DTV Outreach Initiatives

WASHINGTON-January 31, 2007-The majority of U.S. households that receive their television signals over the air are still unaware of the digital TV transition even though an estimated 22 million over-the-air homes need to make some kind of digital decision by February 17, 2009, according to a Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) survey.

The bulk of the survey participants-61 percent-had no idea that the DTV transition was taking place. Ten percent said they had limited awareness, while 25 percent said they were somewhat aware or very aware. While some respondents were aware of the digital transition, 53 percent had no idea when analog transmissions were scheduled to be turned off.

In order for the DTV transition to be successful, consumers must be well-informed and primed to adapt successfully to the new technology. This cannot occur unless there is a comprehensive, coordinated national consumer outreach effort. Therefore, APTS is urging Congress to designate targeted funding for consumer outreach on the switch from analog to digital. During APTS Capitol Hill Day 2007 February 13-14 more than 200 executives and volunteer board members of local Public Television stations are scheduled to ask Congress to recognize Public Television's unique outreach ability in the community and provide funding for those efforts.

"There are more than 21 million U.S. households that get their TV exclusively free and over the air, and we know these homes are heavy viewers of Public Television," APTS President and CEO John Lawson said. "That puts us, working with our partners, in a strong position to provide information about the digital transition to the people who need it most."

APTS is spearheading a coalition of trade and interest groups to compete for the $5 million Congress set aside for consumer education in last year's DTV transition bill. The diverse group includes the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Consumer Electronics Association, American Library Association and Women Involved in Farm Economics. In addition, APTS is now a part of the DTV Transition Coalition, a separate but related effort led by the National Association of Broadcasters.

What to Opt For

The need for vigorous outreach efforts is evident when looking at analog consumers' attitudes and awareness toward their options for digital TV reception after the transition. Roughly 45 percent of respondents to APTS' survey said they will either "do nothing" or "don't know" what option they will take to obtain digital signals. Nineteen percent will purchase a converter box, 17 percent are likely to sign up for cable TV service, and 9 percent will sign up for satellite TV. Another 9 percent indicated they would buy a digital television set so that they can continue to receive over-the-air broadcasts.

The survey also found that at least 38 percent of analog households would "definitely not" or "probably not" select a particular video service provider if they didn't offer Public Television channels after the DTV transition. This suggests that the lack of Public Television offerings by video providers will cause a serious barrier to these analog households in choosing cable or satellite to receive digital television.

The survey results are based on an overall sample of 2,000 U.S. households conducted in the third quarter of 2006. Approximately 19 percent of these households said they receive television programming solely over the air - not having a subscription to either cable TV or satellite TV services. The survey was conducted for APTS by research firm ICR, Media, Pa.

Posted by Dale Cripps, February 1, 2007 8:01 AM

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About Dale Cripps

Dale Cripps is a professional journalist who has focused two thirds of his career on the subject of high-definition television. Upon completing his education in business and service in the military he formed Cripps and Associates, South Pasadena, California, in 1964, which operated as a market-development company for aerospace services. In 1983 he turned to television and began what has become a 20 year campaign to pioneer HDTV. For fifteen of those years he published the well-regarded HDTV Newsletter (an international monthly written for television professionals). During much of this same time he also served as the HDTV-Technical Editor for "Widescreen Review Magazine." On November 16, 1998 he launched the Internet distributed HDTV Magazine, which remains the only consumer publication devoted exclusively to high-definition television. In April of 2002 he co-founded with Tedson Meyers of Coudert Bros, the High-definition Television Association of America, which is presently based in Washington DC. Cripps is the president of this organization. Mr. Cripps is a charter member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers and honored by that organization with the DTV Press Leadership Award of 2002. He makes his home in Oregon.