The DTV transition has followed into history other do-nothing scares such as the Y2K Bug, Avian Flu, Trans Fats and every other Nostradamus-level prediction that expected chaos to ensue when analog television signals ceased.
There was no terror in the streets in the U.S., except in Los Angeles where fans decided burning cars was a good way to celebrate the Lakers’ NBA championship, and, try as I might, I could not connect those foolish actions to the lack of an analog signals permeating the air over America. But you never know.
According to reports issued right after the transition took effect, there were about 2.8 million American homes caught with their digital pants down when their rabbit-ear antenna’s stopped bringing in “The Price Is Right” on Friday. This is a pretty high figure considering how many millions of ad dollars were spent getting the word out, but I suppose most of these people simply did not understand what the ads were talking about. After all, “The Price Is Right” had never stopped coming in before despite real disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.
In the end, getting these people fully equipped will result in one more decent financial quarter for retailers like RadioShack, who made a minor fortune accepting federal DTV coupons and handing out converter boxes to the digital-less during the run up to DTV day.
Frankly, I’m glad DTV day has come and gone, but I wonder what issue will replace it.
My best guess is the Mayan prophecy that the world will come to a complete end on Dec. 21, 2012, will grab this honor, just nudging out the fear that we are running out of IP addresses, thus forcing the Web to shut down.
I suppose the end of the world’s impact on the CE industry will be less then the DTV transition as it is scheduled to arrive after Black Friday and most people will have made their holiday purchases for the 2012 season before the world ends. On the bright side, the FCC’s control over the ancient Mayans is limited; the Feds should not be able to delay the apocalypse to any great extent.