Bill seeks to educate consumers of analog shutoff

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill aimed at raising the public's awareness of the impending analog broadcast switchoff.

Offered by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), who serves on the House Commerce Committee, the Digital Television Consumer Education Act of 2007 calls for specific actions to be taken by retailers, regulators and broadcasters designed to educate the public about the February 2009 end of analog transmission.

The bill would require:

  • retailers to post signs near analog TVs to educate consumers that they'll need a converter box or cable or satellite service to use the set after Feb. 17, 2009;
  • cable and satellite operators to include notices with their bills informing subscribers about the government's converter box program;
  • broadcasters to file regular reports to the FCC explaining consumer DTV education efforts they are making;
  • the FCC to create a consumer DTV education working group and outreach program and to submit regular progress reports to Congress on the DTV transition;
  • the NTIA to establish energy standards for the convert box.