BY JACQUELINE RENFROW
The consumer’s desire for a higher quality television picture
has been evident in the rapidly increasing demand for HDTV
sets. Purchases in the past few years have far outpaced that of
color television sets when they were first released, making the
move by broadcasters to deliver HD to consumers an obvious
and logical next step.
While there are misconceptions about the transition,
Shermaze Ingram, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), says that this switch will mean
a crystal clear picture and better sound for all consumers,
not just those with an HDTV set.
“Even old TV sets with antenna do not have to be
replaced: the owner just has to buy a converter box,” says
Ingram. “And those homes that are currently set up for
cable or satellite dishes will in no way be affected.”
An estimated 93 percent of television stations are
already showing both analog and digital programming. The switch is cost-
ing about $2 to $3 million per station and, collectively, the industry has spent $5 billion on the
upgrade. The switch also means an increased efficiency for broadcasters. In the analog world, only one
station could be broadcast in 6 MHz of spectrum. “But with digital, networks will be able to put out
five or six stations in the same amount of space. This could mean increased advertising opportunities
for stations,” says Ingram.
The NAB has been working with other agencies to run a major consumer education campaign that