Digital television is now old news


Editorial Board

Issue: The Federal Communications Commission has delayed the date for required digital television broadcasting and given TV broadcasters the option of when to turn off their digital signal.

The federal government will extend its required digital television – or DTV – switch date to June 12. Starting that date, all U.S. TV broadcasters must cease their analog broadcast and switch to a digital signal. If one can break through the jargon, the date change simply means the government will not care if a TV station doesn’t switch until June 12. Currently, any station can make the switch without penalty – and some already have.

The NBC affiliate out of Sioux Falls – KDLT – has already made the switch. Starting on Feb. 1, they have ceased analog broadcasting (, but only in certain areas. Up here in Brookings and Aberdeen, there is still an analog signal ( Doesn’t this all seem a little confusing?

Quite frankly, this simple change to digital television has become mired in perplexity. Where once was one easy-to-remember deadline, now are multiple deadlines that all or no stations may follow. Instead of sticking with a straightforward Feb. 17 mantra, the added months allows a wide variety of dates that signals could change at anytime in the next four months.

A June 12 deadline is only confusing the masses of people still mystified by the new technology. Quite frankly, if anyone hasn’t noticed the plethora of ads and notices that have flooded the airwaves for over a year, it’s time to sink or swim. Finding static on Feb. 17 will drive people to get their digital box. However, we wouldn’t want to be manning the Walmart electronics department that day.

Bottom line, if there’s an issue on how many boxes are available, a delay is deserved. If TV stations cannot broadcast in digital, give them a break. But if we are delaying this next step in technology simply because people have not informed themselves on the issue, then it’s time to analyze why exactly this is so hard.

Stance: DTV is being delayed for too long. If there are technological concerns, they need to be addressed and fixed. There are people that aren’t educated on the topic, but how long will it take for them to get aboard? Another delay will only delay people from taking care of their DTV issues. Plus, we’re sick of all the reminder ads.