TYLER, TX (KLTV) - All the government's planning for The Big Switch from analog to digital broadcasting and now the word tonight is that it could be delayed. President-elect Barack Obama is putting pressure on congress to postpone the switch which is still scheduled for February 17th.
It comes partly because the Commerce Department has run out of money for those coupons that subsidize digital converter boxes. Most East Texans are ready for The Big Switch but still some don't agree.
"What's wrong with the old television," asked Ruth Johnson. "I didn't have a problem with it and I'm sure there's millions of others that don't have any problems with it."
Then there are those who aren't concerned at all.
"I've got a digital tv but we only do Netflix," said Lance Hart.
Nevertheless, Don's TV and Appliance says East Texans are now on waiting lists for discount coupons on converter boxes.
"We've definitely seen a rush in converter box sales in the last 30 days," said Donnie Thedford. "We've definitely seen people trying to get prepared for the switch. Digital tv sales have been awesome."
TV stations across the country, including KLTV 7, are set and ready to go.
"We've invested a lot of inventory, a lot of man hours in preparing to hit this deadline. And we continue to try to inform people through the crawls that you see all the time across the bottom of the screen, through our website," said KLTV Station Manager Pat Stacey. "So it would be an investment that we're happy to make cause we want it to go smooth but it's not without some cost."
Neilson estimates that as of December, seven percent of American homes are still not equipped for the transition.
"The human race is a procrastinating race sometimes and so i don't know that you'll ever get it at 100 percent," said Thedford.
In these tight economic times, some feel...
"It's just an added expense that so many people do not need nor can they afford," said Johnson.
As our own station manager says, "Whatever date the government sets, get ready, because The Big Switch is coming." He continued, "Waiting and assuming there's going to be an extension is probably not a safe bet."
There is a waiting list to get coupons and with those, you only have to shell-out about twenty to thirty bucks for the converter boxes. The government does expect to get everyone covered and off the waiting list. It's just a matter of timing. Again, the date is still set for February 17th. If that changes and there is a delay, we will let you know right away.