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Best Buy Finds Confusion Over DTV

Minneapolis — A new Best Buy survey found that while 88 percent of consumers are aware of the digital broadcast transition (DTV), many are confused about why the transition is happening and what they need to do to prepare.

Best Buy said it commissioned GfK Custom Research North America in April to survey consumers nationwide on their level of understanding and awareness of the federally mandated transition to digital television. The survey found that 45 percent of those who haven’t already prepared for the transition are going to wait until after the digital deadline to take action.

“At Best Buy we have been encouraging consumers to act sooner rather than later to get ready for the DTV transition,” stated Mike Mohan, Best Buy consumer electronics senior VP. “In addition to detailed information on our Web site,, we have trained home theater specialists in our stores and on our dedicated hotline to help answer questions and help people prepare now.”

Although 60 percent of consumers are aware that Feb. 17, 2009, is the DTV transition deadline, 54 percent do not understand why the transition is happening.

According to Best Buy: “The government decided to mandate the switch to digital broadcasting for all full-power stations to free up portions of the broadcast spectrum for other important services, such as public and safety services (police and fire departments, emergency rescue), and advanced wireless services.”

Other interesting and notable statistics from the survey include:

  • 31 percent of TV owners don’t know what type of TV they have — analog or digital.
  • 43 percent of consumers who will prepare, plan to subscribe to cable or satellite.
  • 21 percent of the households who have done nothing to prepare for the transition believe they can not afford to, while those with an analog TV incorrectly believe the cost of the converter box is $56, after the $40 coupon.
  • 18 percent of consumers with an analog TV believe nothing will happen after the DTV transition, and that their analog televisions will look similar to how they look now.