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All TV digital? – No problem

BY ALINA RUBEZHOVA | JUNE 15, 2009 7:26 AM

While households around the world are experiencing the transition from analog to digital television, some forgo television altogether, preferring the Internet and DVDs instead.

UI senior Megan Lisman said the long-awaited transition didn’t affect her. She choosing to watch DVDs over cable because of the convenience. There are no commercials, and she can watch the episodes consecutively without waiting a week.

“I love it,” Lisman said, “I’m not too big on Internet, though, because of slow loading time.”

Though slow loading time may lure viewers away from Internet streaming, such websites as Hulu are still increasingly making television shows readily available to users. It’s legal and free of charge. The typical users are people between the ages of 18 and 49.

Adam Carros, a TV producer for Cedar Rapids-based news station KCRG, believes the Internet is a benefit, not a challenge, to news networks because it allows the station to distribute more information, he said.

It’s a “limitless forum to expand and offer better content,” he said.

Some companies, such as Mediacom, are taking the transition into their own hands. Mediacom has spent more than $1 billion to build a fiber-optic infrastructure that leaves it prepared to deliver broadcast stations in digital to any customer hooked up to cable.

According to the Nielsen Company, before June 12 — the deadline for switching to digital — 2.8 million American households were not ready for the transition. Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program, which allowed U.S. households to apply for two $40 coupons for those who wished to keep their analog sets.

However, the study also reported the number of unprepared households were cut in half, from 5.8 million to 2.8 million, since the transition deadline moved from February to June.

The transition to digital was an easy process for KCRG, but getting the message across to viewers proved to be a difficult task, Carros said.

“There was a lot of confusion, and we received a lot of phone calls,” he said.

As for the transition to digital, Lisman and Carros both agree it will not cause many to quit cable television just yet.

“The basics of TV news will stay. But as to how we watch it, it’s exciting to see how it will be 20 years from now,” Carros said.

UI senior Abby Bendlage is faithful to the TV set.

“My Internet is slow at home, so it’s easier for me,” said Bendlage, who does not own an analog set.


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