Hearing on Digital Television

by Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

Time is running out for West Texans to make the transition from analog to digital TV. Tuesday, members of Congress warned Americans that in February of next year, all over-the-air analog broadcasting will stop. But many are still worried Americans haven't gotten the message.

Members of Congress said there are several big problems in the switch from analog to digital TV signals. Remember, if you do still pick up our signal through those rabbit ears, it won't work come February 17th. You can still buy a converter box for your old Television so that it works. However, lawmakers said even getting that message across is a problem.

Tuesday in Washington, regulators testifying before a congressional committee said government coupons to help purchase converter boxes are expiring. They said those free coupons all expire after 90 days. The second big problem is many people still don't know the change is coming.

"We think there is a fair amount of confusion still out there as I indicated -- Number one: roughly 45 percent of the households that are in the high risk group do not plan to take action, they seem to be unprepared," Mark Goldstein, with the U.S. Government's Accountability Office, said.

"The broadcasters are making significant progress in converting their facilities to all digital almost 1,000 have completed the construction and are providing full service to their viewers today," Kevin Martin, FCC Chairman, said.

Members of Congress also said while progress is being made, they worry many people include minorities, the elderly, and those living in remote areas are not ready for the transition.

They said the digital switch won't affect your TV if you're hooked up to cable or satellite. But again, if you use an antenna or get us with over-the-air signals, you'll have to buy a converter box to keep watching.

If you have any questions about the digital switch: