CEA Offers Obama TV Delay Alternatives
Jan 13, 2009
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The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) issued a letter to President-elect Barack Obama’s administration urging that the scheduled shutoff of analog broadcasting go forward on Feb. 17 as scheduled.

Gary Shapiro, CEA president and CEO, reacted skeptically to a letter sent to Congressional leaders Jan. 8 by Obama-Biden presidential transition team co-chair John Podesta asking them to delay to an unspecified date the DTV transition deadline to ensure an effective transition, particularly with the poor and elderly.

During CES, Shapiro argued the plan would be problematic for a variety of reasons, including the likelihood that it would create even more confusion for consumers who need to make changes to continue viewing terrestrially broadcast television programming.

In a formal letter, Shapiro said: "A change in the date could engender skepticism, confusion and distrust” the next time government asks the public to take specific actions around a specific event." It would also do little "to promote a successful transition to digital television … with awareness now close to 100 percent," he said.

Additionally, he said, "A delay will require significant unbudgeted expenditures from the public and private sectors. Resources would have to be found for a new national public education campaign centered on the new date. NTIA [The National Telecommunications and Information Administration] would incur ongoing administrative costs to oversee the coupon program. Broadcasters would be forced to extend leases on their analog towers (to the extent extensions are even possible) and power their analog transmitters at a cost of up to tens of thousands of dollars per month, per station," he said.

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