FCC Begins Digital Television Push

The USA’s Federal Bureau of Communications has started their big consumer campaign to switch the country over to digital television by December 2006, or January 2009 depending on who you ask. Starting with an interview with chairman Michael Powell at half time during Monday Night Football, the campaign is based around a website designed to help consumers learn about digital television and assist them in their decisions when moving from analogue.

I’m trying to imagine Tessa Jowell appearing at half time during ITV News Football Extra and it’s not really working for me.

Powell said during a press conference to mark the campaign: “Although for the vast majority of American households, digital television may be uncharted territory, we will not let them go it alone. If you have questions about digital television, the FCC is ready to serve as a primary resource for quick answers. Then we hope they will get DTV — get the set, get the connection, get the content.”

The FCC certainly have a huge task in front of them if they are to be stuck with the initial 2006 date: there are only 11 million digital TV sets in the US – that’s just 10% of households, with only two years to go. The deadline may well be put back to January 2009, a date that Powell intends have the commission vote on later this year.

The FCC’s DTV site

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?