TV Lobbies Coordinate DTV Education Effort

The three major TV lobbies in Washington, which fight and make up like three sisters with one decent dress, are making nice for a DTV education campaign.

The NAB, the Consumer Electronic Association and the National Cable Telecommunications Association have pledged to combine their resources to let Americans know that analog broadcast TV will soon be no more. This pledge was in the form of two letters; one to Senate Commerce Committee leaders, and the other to correlative House leadership.

"Our goal is to ensure that no American loses the ability to view over-the-air television signals due to a lack of accurate information about the transition," goes the letter, signed by the chiefs of CEA, NAB and NCTA--respectively, Gary Shapiro, David Rehr and Kyle McSlarrow.

The campaign to let the populace know that analog broadcasting will end on Feb. 17, 2009, will include the usual stew of media forms: A Web site, print materials and TV commercials. The effort will also highlight the digital-to-analog converter subsidy program still being figured out at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, less exhaustively known as the NTIA.

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Commerce Committee, replied words to the effect of, "good for you guys."

"The upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting will considerably disrupt nearly 21 million American households dependent on over-the-air television, and millions of other Americans who subscribe to pay services but also use over-the-air sets," his response read "The most recent Congress established... the transition date, yet failed to ensure adequate consumer education. For this reason, I am particularly pleased that the broadcasting, cable and consumer electronics industries are joining to educate consumers on the transition and on how to obtain the converter box coupons to help keep their TVs functioning. I will closely monitor both public and private-sector efforts to ensure that no American household loses its television signal."