The Consumers Union wants Congress to delay the nation's transition to digital television because it believes the program to help American's transition has been underfunded and poorly implemented. It was announced earlier this week that the $1.3 billion dollar program to offset the cost of buying converter boxes is all tapped out.
All full-power television stations in the US are required to stop using the old method of transmitting TV signals, known as analog, and start broadcasting exclusively in a digital format on Feb. 17. Americans who use an antenna to watch free, over-the-air television on an analog TV set (and don't subscribe to a pay TV service) will need to purchase a DTV converter box. (Don't worry, if you pay for TV services, such as cable or satellite, then you will not need to upgrade — geeksugar has all the details.) Up until now the government was giving out discount coupons worth $40 to help lessen the cost to consumers, but those funds all wore out and there is now a long waiting list.
What's interesting about the deadline is that it's the first time the government has ever shut off technology that everyone uses. Estimates suggest there are 70 million TVs in the United States that use antennas. Their owners will all see blank screens on the 17th, unless they have a digital converter box.