Will the transition to digital TV be postponed?


You pretty much have to be living under a rock to still be ignorant of the looming Feb. 17 deadline for the transition to digital TV. On that date, all old analog TVs will go dark, and the FCC will begin broadcasting in digital only.

But some lawmakers now say they want to postpone that deadline by 90 days, in response to some criticism that not everybody is ready. The FCC says a delay will only throw a wrench into transition plans and intends on moving forward with the switch.

While the majority of TV-watchers now own digital sets, or are served by cable or satelite service, which won't be affected, there are still a lot of folks out there who aren't ready.

According to the New York Times, only 6.8% of the viewing public are unprepared for the change. And consider who still uses old analog TVs: The very poor and the elderly. is it fair for those who for economic reasons or technological naivete be cut off from their favorite shows?

Not helping matters is the fact that the government has run out of coupons to help defray the cost of the converter box analog-TV users must install to keep their broadcasts coming in. There are reports that people claiming their coupons recieved expired coupons in the mail, and then had to get on waiting lists for new ones.

So far, this whole exercise has cost the government some $1.3 billion in subsidies. I don't know why it can't just print more coupons (as long as the Fed's printing money like it is). And the troubles don't end there. Still, a delay will end up costing more money. Which is preferable?

What do you think? Should the transition be delayed?