DTV is coming. Are you ready?

by Reclaim the Media

On June 12, over-the-air TV will change forever. Local stations across the country are switching over to a new digital (DTV) format, with clearer pictures, additional channels, and with broadcast schedules and closed captioning available at the touch of a button.

But the information needed to make the switch has not yet reached everyone in our community; many of our neighbors risk being left in the dark after the switch. Seniors, low-income families on fixed incomes, people with disabilities, people of color, and language communities are likely to be disproportionately impacted by the switch.

For that reason, Reclaim the Media is working with our partners in the Media Action Grassroots Network, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Consumers Union, and local partners in the Pacific Northwest, to help make the transition successful for all Northwest communities – to make sure that nobody is left in the dark.

What to do:

If you don't have cable or satellite, you may need to get a DTV converter box to keep watching TV after June 12. A government program offering free coupons good for $40 off the cost of a box has effectively run out of money for now, though you can still get on the waiting list for coupons by calling (888) DTV-2009. At this point you probably shouldn't wait for a coupon before buying a DTV converter, and leave time to try your new equipment before your screen goes black on June 12!

Neither the government nor private industry have done all that is needed to prepare everyone in our local communities for this switch. That's why Reclaim the Media is launching a Seattle DTV Assistance Center, providing trainings and phone support for local consumers with difficulty applying for DTV coupons, selecting a converter box, or installing their new hardware. We're partnering with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, which is supporting DTV Assistance Centers in seven cities nationwide. Our local partners include Youngstown Cultural Center, the Youth Media Institute, the City of Seattle, and the Seattle Housing Authority.

This website is part of that effort. Here we'll post regular updates including DTV-related news, local learning opportunities, other resources for DTV assistance and information, and insights on how digital TV connects with other media issues such as Internet access and community media.

Follow the links on this page for more information on digital TV, and what the transition means for you!

article originally published at .

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey