It doesn't seem as if the digital transition has been the resounding success we were told it would be. The FCC
has admitted that they're confounded by some of the problems that have arisen across the country
. With frustrated tv viewers mobbing the FCC hotlines (and major metropolises like Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore amongst the largest numbers reporting ongoing problems), some have yet to experience the mind-blowing crystal clear pictures and sound promised in those ubiquitous DTV commercials.
While many local stations have claimed to have completed smooth transitions, viewers continue to have problems picking up reception all over the country. From not setting up supposedly intuitive converter boxes correctly to not having sufficient antennas
, many people are still left in the dark. Sure, some of these problems can be easily fixed through troubleshooting with an expert, but it's possible that some reception issues won't be easily remedied. For people who have neither the money nor the technological know-how, solutions are sometimes elusive. "For Charlene Davis, the switch to digital TV has been worse than terrible. "Hell. Hell. It's something we don't understand," the 88-year-old Davis said
The FCC hotline has extended its 24/7 services and is still running in overdrive. "I am pleased with the way our FCC team responded to the technical challenges that arose throughout the course of the day [June 12, 2009]," acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said in a statement. "But our job is far from over. This transition is not a one-day affair. We have known about re-scanning and reception issues for some time and have been doing our best to get the word out. We will continue to work with every consumer who needs assistance in making this important and necessary transition."
If you're still having a problem hooking up your 'oh so easy' digital converter boxes or getting any channels (yes, even after you rescan over and over again and try multiple models of new antennas
), call 1-888-CALL-FCC for troubleshooting advice. Know that you're not alone, and hopefully we'll all be enjoying our 'free' tv soon.
Besides successfully hooking up the remaining televisions, a few questions remain about our digital future. 1) How will local stations perform in the digital age
? and 2) Since many people (myself included) rushed out to spend big bucks to replace old sets that worked fine, will an e-waste crisis be our next concern
If you're already nostalgic for the good old days of.. five days ago.. when analog reigned supreme, here are some odes to analog
: those dependable old sets
) and even the lovable rabbit ears
that brought living history, laughter, and tears into our homes for over sixty glorious years.