MEDIA

Digital TV Transition Still Largely Misunderstood

01/22/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Federal Communications Commission sponsored a Nascar race car as part of its effort to inform Americans that on Feb. 18, television signals transmitted over the air will be transmitted solely in digital format. Old TV sets will no longer work.

It paid $350,000 to emblazon "The Digital TV Transition" and other phrases on a Ford driven by David Gilliland.

So how's that going? In November, the car crashed during a Nascar race in Phoenix. It was the second crash in as many months.

And how is the digital TV transition going? According to critics, about as well, despite a major marketing campaign that includes nightly ads on TV.

According to surveys conducted by the Consumers Union, a consumer advocacy group that also publishes Consumer Reports magazine, while 90 percent of the nation is aware of the transition, 25 percent mistakenly believe that one must subscribe to cable or satellite after February, and 41 percent think that every TV in a house must have a new converter box, even those that are already connected to cable or satellite.

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