Tech news source ArsTechnica reported last night that more than 200 civil rights groups are panicking about the transition to digital TV and asking the government to do more. According to Mark Lloyd of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, “There is an absence of clear Federal leadership and a comprehensive transition plan to address the needs of those most vulnerable to the transition.” LCCR claims that the $5 million dollars the government has already spent on DTV transition education alone – which is not to mention the two free converter boxes per household – is “not nearly enough.”
Luckily, some cooler heads are explaining why the transition to digital broadcasting is no crisis. Over at the Technology Liberation Front, Tim Lee explains that the hysteria is unjustified. As he points out:
If someone is too oblivious to apply for a converter box in the months leading up to the transition, I can only assume there will be lots of discussion of it on their televisions the week or two before the transition. And if that doesn’t convince them to get a converter box, surely they’ll figure it out the day their TV stops working.
Sometimes, Ars needs a gentle reminder that not every little inconvenience is a climacteric needing quick government intervention.