Obama Urges Digital TV Compliance

President urges unprepared viewers to get ready…because it’s coming.

Last Updated: June 7, 2009 @ 3:13 PM

A week away from the country’s digital TV transition, the concerns that it might not go well are reaching the highest levels of the government.

President Obama, traveling abroad and dealing mostly with foreign issues, took the unusual step Thursday of issuing a statement on the transition.

 

And the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Jay Rockefeller Friday sent letters to the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administrationand the National Association of Broadcasters, urging them to help consumers before, during and after the conversion.

Obama, who even before becoming president had expressed concern about readiness for the changeover–his transition team urged a four month delay–said he thinks the country is more ready now but consumers still need to act.

"In February, I worked with Congress to postpone the deadline television broadcasters had to end their analog signals, because it was clear that millions of Americans would have been left in the dark if the conversion had gone on as planned," President Obama said in the statement.

"I directed key members of my Administration to reach out and help Americans, especially those in our most vulnerable communities, to make the switch to digital television.

"In the months since then, we have worked hand in hand with state and local officials, broadcasters, and community groups to educate and assist millions of Americans with the transition.

"The number of households unprepared for digital television has been cut in half. Still, some people are not ready.

"I want to be clear: there will not be another delay. I urge everyone who is not yet prepared to act today, so you don’t lose important news and emergency information on June 12. And I encourage all Americans who are prepared, to talk to their friends, family, and neighbors to make sure they get ready before it’s too late. "