New report on retailers points to bigger DTV problems, says Adelstein

February 21, 2008

FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein used the release of a new report from U.S. PIRG on DTV misinformation from retailers to take aim at the government’s lack of a coordinated effort to inform the public about the February 2009 DTV transition.

The report generally gave electronics retailers poor marks in accurately informing consumers of the actual date of the transition and what they need to continue receiving over-the-air television with their NTSC TVs. It also found retailers are using the transition to up-sell consumers to more expensive converters that are not covered under the government’s $40 reimbursement coupon program.

Adelstein, who commented on the report on Feb. 13, said the new report “unearthed problems the entire consumer electronics industry and the federal government have not fully confronted,” specifically the first point of personal contact consumers will have in the transition, namely sales personnel at electronics stores.

The commissioner called on the FCC to get involved with retailers “to facilitate retailers’ efforts to invest more in staff training, on-floor displays and general DTV education.”

“If young, tech savvy retail workers don’t get it, imagine how your grandma who’s owned the same TV for 30 years is going to cope,” he said.

The lack of knowledge on the part of retailers is a symptom of the government’s “failure to have a real national DTV plan” to coordinate public and private sector efforts to inform the public of the transition, he said.

“It is long overdue for the FCC to present a comprehensive strategy — a DTV State of the Union — about how it plans to provide better guidance to the American people,” he said.

For more information, visit: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-280210A1.pdf.

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