Congress Hears from Consumer Groups about DTV Transtition

Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America and US PIRG urged the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday to make sure that 80 million TV viewers aren't left in the dark on January 1, 2009, when the transition from analog to digital TV is set to be "completed."

Summary of the House Bill can be found here.

More background about the DTV transition can be found here.

Many people are already in the dark when it comes to these and other media policy issues. How can ACMEBoston raise awareness about the DTV transition?

Do we really learn about what's happening about the media policy and Congress from the media? How are we expected to know about these issues when many of these policies are crafted by ($$) and for media companies and Wall Street–not for consumers, independent media makers, and concerned citizens?

ACMEBoston should play a lead role to raise awareness about this issue. We can make sure that people in the Boston area know–right now–that Congress is making decisions–right now–about who will benefit most from the DTV transition. When January 1st 2009 comes, let's make sure none of us are left in the dark.

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3 Responses to Congress Hears from Consumer Groups about DTV Transtition

  1. jdaniels says:

    I know this may sound like it is from out in left field, but does everyone need to go to DTV?

    Will TV be a computer screen?

    With all the online sharing of files, and these groups starting to coalesce, is it worthwhile to envision local/relevant community media of the future as totally bypassing DTV?

    What vital information is on analog television sets that would be lost in a DTV transition? Is it any information that can’t be accessed in a newspaper, on radio or online?

    Would 2 years of darkness cause a rebellion?

    Maybe this is a defeatist or a dreamer angle, but I wonder how you folks imagine the seemingly radical changes in the media landscape which are already underway will be realized in 4 years from now.

  2. Colin says:

    The concern is that, yes, everyone will have to go to DTV–and it’ll cost money for consumers with only over-the-air TV to make the transition.

    The debate has been, will government provide the neccessary funds so consumers will not be left in the dark? The much larger issue, however, is what will the tens of billions of dollars of existing analog spectrum be used for when the transition occurs?

    Some questions remain:

    1. Will part of the auctioned off spectrum be used to promote community broadband projects?

    2. Will part of the auctioned off spectrum be used to provide access to low-power radio and television stations (in some communities, low-power radio is the only local content.

    3. What will the public get in return when decision makers auction off the public’s airwaves? Will we just have a hundred more channels with nothing on, or will there be more space provided for educational content that may be used to engage citizens to think more critically?

    You make some good points, but the question still remains, who will benefit most from this new digitial media environment, when many are still left behind/out of our existing media?

    Thank you for your comments!

  3. Fred Johnson sent out this great article assuaging my fear of the end of television for the masses:

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/andrewkantor/2005-10-27-digital-tv_x.htm

    But you do ask some good questions, Colin, about who will control and benefit from the auctioned off spectrum. We were actually discussing this last night at the Tactical Media meeting. We’re hopefully going to podcast our discussions soon!

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