12 June 2009
More than two million households in the US will have blank television screens today when stations across the country switch off their analogue signal for good. The nationwide digital transition has caused a last minute rush to buy converter boxes and new TVs.
Matt Cleghorn reading report from Greg Wood in New York
Click to hear the report
American television viewers have been bombarded with a series of adverts over recent weeks, warning them that the analogue signal would be switched off today and urging them to buy set- top converter boxes if they didn't want to lose reception.
The government has issued coupons, worth 40 dollars each, to cover most of the cost. In total the US authorities have spent two billion dollars to smooth the transition. But, according to the Federal Communications Commission, there are still 2.2 million households which have made no preparations.
Unlike the United Kingdom, where the analogue signal is being switched off region by region, the United States has decided to pull the plug in one go, across the nation, leading to accusations that some groups, especially the elderly and the low income households, have been left behind in the digital rush.
Greg Wood, BBC News, New York
Click to hear the vocabulary
- had lots of information directed at them
- commonly used abbreviation for 'advertisements': films, pictures or songs aimed at selling a product or idea to viewers
- analogue signal
- the system of broadcasting by which televisions currently receive programmes
- strongly encouraging
- set-top converter boxes
- digital receivers which sit on top of televisions and contain the technology to convert TV pictures and sound into a digital format
- the television's ability to receive programmes
- official pieces of paper which can be used instead of money
- region by region
- one area or location at a time
- pull the plug
- to stop an activity continuing in the way it has done
- digital rush
- the changeover to digital technology which is happening very quickly