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Community Comment

The digital divide reviewed…

Good afternoon, Netizens...

For at least six months, perhaps even longer than that, we have been inundated with dire-sounding advertisements warning us that the analog-to-digital switch was coming for televisions, that old analog television antennas would be obsolete with the advent of digital television station transmissions. People were repeatedly given instructions on how to apply for discounted analog television converter boxes, not to mention the advertisements for analog television antennas. We were told over and over again that when the date came, old-style television equipment would simply cease working. I merely rolled my eyes, because we are satellite TV subscribers, and thus do not have a care in the world.

Apparently life isn't quite so sublime for some people, unfortunately. Based upon the obscenely-high number of people calling the federal hotline established for people making the conversion, over 100,000 homes still have not made the conversion to digital, and were calling for help as late as Friday, the day the conversion to fully-digital television signals took place.


Did people simply put off making the conversion until the last possible moment? Were they simply lazy and forgetful?

Are there actually that many homes where not having a working television is that unimportant? Of course, this begs the question, are there that many homes where people do not get their daily ration of news from their television sets? If not the TV, where do they get their news? Ah, I get it. These are people who pay for newspaper subscriptions, right?

Of course we could look on the positive side and imply from these statistics that there are that many homes where people are not dependent upon television for their entertainment needs, such as soap operas, reality TV shows, cartoons for the kids and game shows.

Whatever importance American television viewers place on television, apparently it wasn't important enough for them to make the conversion. What does this say about American tastes?

Now let's do a little test of our own: how many people reading this either are using a digital converter box to watch regular broadcast TV channels or know someone who does?


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.