Digital TV transition — get it on already!

Please, goodness, no. What is all this madness from the Obama transition team about delaying the digital TV transition?!? Does anyone know how long some of us have been writing and editing dry-as-dirt stories about the digital transition? Let it happen already!

Don’t tell me that after forking over $700 billion to Wall Street and billions to automakers, the feds can’t find th spare change to fully fund the $40 coupon program to help television Luddites offset the cost of converter boxes. The news that the government program handing out those coupons has blown through its original $1.3 billion budget is what started the eleventh-hour calls for the delay earlier this week.

According to Nielsen, the number of TV homes that are “completely unprepared” for the big switchover to all-digital broadcasting on Feb. 17 stands at 7.8 million, or 6.8% of the nation’s TV households. That works out to about $312 million in additional coupons needed. We could hold a benefit at the Beverly Hilton, fer chrissakes.

After all the hand-wringing over the timing of the switch, after all the PSAs (even Oprah has been informing people that the big day is Feb. 17), after all the what-it-all-means blather at industry conferences and frankly, after the billions that TV station owners were forced at the gunpoint of the looming deadline to fork out for digital upgrades, it’s time to get it on — digitally.

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