Powell Sees Consumers' Hand on Digital Swtich

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Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell said the transition to digital television will begin to take off when consumers adopt the technology.

“The variable that is most important is consumers and the depth and degree to which they accept the technology,” Powell said Tuesday at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association convention in New Orleans.

From a policy standpoint, he admitted, “we’re quite far,” from the transition to all digital television. But for consumers, “Digitalization allows for all kinds of changes,” he said.

“Televisions that can be in your lives and your homes.” He pointed to high definition as a driver for pushing consumers to adopt digital TV and “the Ipod-ization” of TV, allowing consumers to build their own TV preferences as music consumers do with Apple’s Ipod digital music device.

Under policy guidelines, the digital transition will be achieved if 85% of consumers receive digital TV. But Powell said the commission won’t overlook the remaining 15% that don’t upgrade their sets. “The commission is interested in looking at creative ways to deal with the remaining number of our citizens,” he said, but did not elaborate.

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