McDowell says DTV transition will be messy

October 20, 2008

Next February’s turnoff of analog television is going to be “messy,” and broadcasters need to educate viewers in specific markets about what to do if their signal goes blank, FCC commissioner Robert McDowell warned last week.

McDowell, a Republican, urged broadcasters to customize informational campaigns to specific local markets. In some areas, viewers are certain to lose signals. “The transition will be messy — but we will get through it,” McDowell told Reuters.

Broadcasters should target their educational materials based on the technical needs of local markets, McDowell said. In some markets, for example, consumers are more likely to require new antennas for their converter boxes to work.

McDowell has been traveling as part of a DTV educational campaign. He just returned from Montana, Oklahoma and Alaska.

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