With more households going digital, the U.S. Senate's plan to push back the mandated DTV transition date from Feb. 17 to June 12 makes less sense than ever. Hey, if we're supposed to be entering a new age of personal and national responsibility, let's bite the bullet and exercise some technological leadership here.Earlier this month, as the Congressional delay gained momentum, I blogged about the pointlessness of the plan. (As in: We've been planning the move, and we're going to do it, so let's just get it over with.)
At that time, there was at least some cogent argument for a push back. Nielsen was reporting that nearly 8 million homes, or 7% of all viewing households, would be caught short without converter boxes.
However, Nielsen has updated its figures and now says the tally unconverted has dropped to 6.5 million homes and 5.7% of households.
According to the Radio Business Report, when you investigate the figures, there's an even more optimistic take on DTV uptake. For example, the Hartford-New Haven, Conn.-area shows only 1.76% of households as being unprepared. (Only two locales -- Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M., and Dallas, Texas, are at 10% unpreparedness or higher.)
Clearly, people are getting with the program, thus removing any possible rationale for a delay.
As I wrote in the earlier post: "Given that the United States has been well behind Japan in moving to digital and high-definition TV, and also noting that many consumers are off on a DTV buying spree, I can't see any compelling reasons for a further delay." Check out my HDTV Buyer's Guide 2008.
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Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.