Valley Reaction to DTV Countdown

February 3, 2009 10:19:49 PM PST
The era of digital television is either two weeks away or if a delay happens it could be four months away. One thing's for sure, there's no escaping it even with so many people not yet Digital TV ready and so many Americans saying they simply may not be able to afford it.There's no doubt about it, the transition to digital TV is a challenge for many people whether they understand the transition or don't feel they can afford it. Just drive through any older neighborhood in the Central Valley and you'll see a lot of analog antenna's pulling in signals to TV sets like those at Shari Garbet's home in Fresno. We encountered her at the TV department of Target looking for answers, "Well, I would like them to delay it forever, ha ha ha! Because I've got two TV's now that work and I'm afraid that they won't."

Across town in Central Fresno Handy Man David Rivera told us that too many folks on limited incomes are struggling with this mandated switch, "What can they do? They can't do nothing' about it. They're gonna have to make the change. They'll just have to do it."

The fact is with or without a delay the switch to digital TV is coming. And analog TV converter boxes are in high demand at stores like Target where new supplies can hardly keep up with demands says Samantha Cole, "As soon as we get them in they're pretty much out the same day we get them: half day, midday, by the end of the day we're sold out."

Shari Garbett is trying to make the move but is afraid the results with her converters won't be good, "We bought the boxes and I don't know if it's really gonna work." We were able to ease Shari's mind about the weak signal she's receiving from ABC30 with her new converter boxes. It's due to an unavoidable issue caused by a channel assignment that is UHF instead of VHF. That problem will disappear when the change to digital actually occurs.

In the meantime, her tv's picture will improve by just turning off the converter box until the switch takes place.

She is, in fact, ready for the transition. David Rivera has cable so he doesn't need a convertor box; still he's worried about those folks living on fixed incomes, "Yeah, I got it. These other people can't afford it."

The federal agency that was supplying $40 discount converter coupons ran out of money to supply them. It's waiting on the 6-hundred -50 million dollars in the "delay legislation" to get the coupons rolling once again. Converter boxes run anywhere from 50 to 95-dollars without the coupon. And right now it's in the hands of congress whether the delay and funding for coupons will become available. President Obama supports the delay.

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