Friday, December 12, 2008

Digital Divide

In a recent study, the FCC found that up to 5 percent of Tennesseans are not ready for the digital TV transition February 17th.

In fact, about 5 percent of Americans nationwide aren't ready, so the FCC is sending representatives around the country to talk about the switch.

FCC lawyer Katherine Power will be at the Oak Court Mall tonight from 5 - 8 p.m. and at the Kmart on Austin Peay Highway tomorrow (Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., answering questions about the digital switch and demonstrating how to plug the digital converter box into an analog television.

"You should plug [the converter box] in now. Don't wait," Power says. "Digital television is on the air now."

The federal government has a coupon program to offset the cost of the digital converters. Each household can apply for two $40 coupons by visiting Each analog television needs its own converter box.

"Television has been free all these year for people with analog sets. To have to incur a cost for these converter boxes, we felt a coupon program would help people make the transition," Power says.

The conversion will free up broadcasting space for health and public safety uses.

Not sure you need a converter box?

If you have cable, satellite, or a newer TV, chances are you don't need a converter box (the exceptions are if you live in rural area and have satellite service and pick up your local channels over the air AND if you want a back-up should your cable service go out). To test it, local stations will be doing a soft test Wednesday, Dec. 17th, sometime between 6 to 7 p.m. If the screen goes blank, you need a converter box.


polar donkey said...

I still have an old 19" tv and I don't get cable. I haven't gotten my converter box yet or the new rabbit ears. What a pain the ass.

marycash said...

Yeah, my parents were kind of nagging me about getting a converter box (they know how much I love TV) and finally they just sent me one in the mail.

But I had to admit to Katherine Power that I hadn't hooked it up yet.