HDTV: one year to go

 

Televisionados” — people who like to watch television — are just a year away from the biggest change since the advent of color broadcasting in the mid-1950s.

On Feb. 17, 2009, all broadcasters must complete the changeover from analog to digital broadcasting, which not only involves a change in technology but also a change in channel frequency assignments — changes that will render many television sets obsolete.

 

Beginning next week, broadcasters will begin speaking to local communities at planned engagements in all 50 states and will answer questions from consumers about the digital television, or DTV, transition.

In California, 40 speakers representing 31 stations are participating in the NAB’s DTV Speakers Bureau.

The community-focused awareness effort boasts nearly 1,000 speakers from nearly 600 television stations across the country.

 

“We became a quick and very active part of this DTV Speakers Bureau initiative,” said Stan Statham, President and CEO of the California Broadcasters Association. “We quickly discovered that face-to-face contact is a very effective way to tell California viewers exactly what they need to know to never lose their TV signal.”

The DTV Speakers Bureau is the largest grassroots initiative ever orchestrated by the broadcasting industry. To date, the DTV Speakers Bureau has scheduled more than 1,200 speaking engagements and is on target to reach 8,000 audiences before the transition occurs in February 2009. Speaking engagements take place at nursing homes, Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, Chamber of Commerce assemblies, elementary schools and many other local community venues.

 

With nearly 17 percent of households — as many as 5 million people — at risk of losing reception in California, informing viewers throughout the state is critical. Over the past few months, the DTV Speakers Bureau in California has been active in speaking to various organizations, including Rotary and Kiwanis clubs in San Francisco, Bakersfield, Orange County, San Diego, and Fresno, and has reached out to senior homes all over the state.

To learn more about the NAB’s DTV consumer education efforts, including the DTV Speakers Bureau, visit www.dtvanswers.com. Anyone interested in having a member of NAB’s DTV Speakers Bureau address their organization should contact Katherine Mitchell at (202) 232-6601 or kmitchell@crosbyvolmer.com.