Latinos not ready for digital switch

July 19, 2008 at 6:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 19 (UPI) -- Hispanics are among the least prepared U.S. groups for the transition from analog to digital television, experts say.

A survey by Knowledge Networks/SRI Home Technology Monitor found that Hispanic households make up about one-third of U.S. households that rely on antennas to receive their TV signal, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Some Spanish-language broadcasters are advertising that viewers using an antenna to receive their TV signal will need to get a digital-to-analog converter box, buy a digital TV or subscribe to cable or satellite service.

"It seems everyone knows it's going to happen -- they're just not sure what to do about it," said Rudy Guernica, general manager of Entravision Communications, which operates the affiliates of Univision and TeleFutura in the Washington market. "We're going to get a lot of phone calls, and then it will get sorted out."

Last year, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, introduced legislation that would allow TV stations within 50 miles of the border to broadcast in analog for five years after the rest of the industry is required to switch to digital. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Hilda L. Solis, D-Calif.

"The FCC thinks things are going fine, and I couldn't disagree more," Solis said.

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