TV doomsday: Will the USA be ready?

Source: Michael J. Copps [USA Today]

Does Feb. 17, 2009, mean anything to you? If you're among the millions of American households that get over-the-air TV, it's the day your set will stop working unless you protect yourself. Here's why. TV stations broadcast separate analog and digital signals. On Feb. 17, 2009, they'll switch to all-digital. Analog sets — the majority of sets bought more than a few years ago — can't display those digital signals. If this is the first you've heard of it, you're not alone: 61% of Americans have no idea it's happening, according to a survey by the Association of Public Television Stations. Compare that with the United Kingdom, where 80% of consumers know they face a transition. Why? Well, last year, the U.K. launched a $400 million consumer education campaign.

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