DTV Transition Delay Bears Fruit After all

17 June 2009

The DTV transition date has come and gone and we can now take a minute to take stock of the merits of pushing back the transition date – number of complaints received = 1,000,000; number of lives saved = 1. According to The Commercial Appeal, the daily newspaper of Memphis, Tennessee, 86-year-old Shelby County resident Robert Monsarrat’s life was saved when he was forced to relocate from the analog TV set in his bedroom to the digital set in his kitchen to watch “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” narrowly avoiding a tree that fell and crushed the back of his house.

Although Nielsen estimated that twice as many people would have been without TV had the transition not been delayed, I still stand by my previous post on this blog that we are still only talking about a very small percentage of people and that the confusion could not be avoided all together regardless of how far you pushed this back. In fact, according to Joel Schectman and Esme Deprez of BusinessWeek, some folks thought that the delay meant that the whole transition was canceled and didn’t realize the government still planned to move forward with it.

As an avid TV watcher, I don’t wish anyone would suffer with a black television screen. I’m happy that many people used the extra time to get ready for the transition, but also happy we’re moving forward at the same time and embracing the reasons why the government decided to auction off the airwaves to begin with.

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