Sunday, February 15, 2009

How the analog-to-digital TV mess happened

The transition from analog to digital television, bungled almost from the start, "is in many ways a classic Washington story," write Kim Hart and Peter Whoriskey of The Washington Post. It's a big issue for rural areas, and this story provides useful background.

Partisanship "time and again complicated its implementation. The heads of the two federal agencies charged with managing the transition barely spoke to each other. And in the end, the rifts between Republicans in the Bush administration running the program and the congressional Democrats overseeing it stymied efforts to right the transition as it steered off course."

There's much more detail, but the story's last paragraph gives the immediate impact: "On Tuesday, more than 400 stations are expected to drop their analog television broadcasts. It is not known how many people will lose programming." Earlier, there's a key point: "The idea that the government might deprive people of television reception strikes some as unjust and, in the event of emergencies, possibly dangerous." (Read more)

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