DTV milestone, millstone


Ed Markey (D-MA) noted that 9/25/07 marked the 20th anniversary of the push toward digital television. It was in September of 1987 that he held a hearing on HDTV and spurred the FCC and Congress to move toward a digital rather than an analog future. As the project rapidly nears fruition, however, he fears lack of consumer education may put the DTV transition at risk. "In 1987," he wrote, "the debate among policymakers was about facilitating the transition from traditional TV to high definition analog TV. After spurring the FCC to endorse digital technology instead of analog for the future of broadcasting, the DTV transition is now fully underway." Expressing his worries about a seamless transition, he added, "Unfortunately, the DTV transition picture I see today is fuzzy at best. I fear that far too few consumers know about the February 17, 2009 analog cut-off and the steps they must take to watch free, over-the-air television after that date. If we are going to make sure that millions of Americans don’t see their perfectly functional analog televisions go dark, Congress needs to start getting better reception from the parties who are responsible for making sure this digital transformation is a success." Markey’s subcommittee has two hearings on the topic on the schedule, on 10/17/07 and 10/31/07.