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Silver Surfers May Prove Tough to Transition to Digital TV

Dead air does not a
happy audience make

On February 17, 2009, an expected transition of TV from over-the-air transmission to digital may hit television's biggest fans the hardest, reports Ars Technica.

Yesterday Nelda Barnett of the AARP appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee to foretell the sturm and drang that may occur among senior citizens, come February '09: "Consumers will be confused, frustrated, and angry that this important information and entertainment source in their household is no longer operational, through no fault of their own.

"Thousands of telephones will ring in communities around the country as well as right here in hundreds of congressional offices."

The AARP reports that Americans over the age of 50 watch the most television of any other demographic - 5.5 hours per day on average. They are also the least likely to own digital tuners. Currently, some 20 million Americans still use over-the-air transmission to power their TV sets.

Well aware of senior voting power, Democrat Daniel Inouye of Hawaii said the government must act on this oversight "before the digital transition devolves into digital disaster."


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