Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just do it already

Apparently 6.5 million Americans aren't ready to make the switch to all digital broadcasts of television signals. Who are these people? Don't get me wrong. I don't want to discriminate against people who can't because of real economic reasons, but how many people are really not ready for economic reasons?

I tried Googling "psychology+deadlines" to find out if there were any studies on human behavior when presented with deadlines. I wanted to know if people tend to put off things until the last minute when presented with a deadline. Anecdotally, I think there's some truth to that, but I couldn't find any scientific studies on it.

When I was working in the consumer electronics industry I had a boss who told me about research that showed socioeconomic assumptions about HDTV purchases are often wrong. People from traditionally low income households purchase high-end electronics because it's often the only entertainment form they can afford. And thanks to zero interest, pay in two year offers, most people can get a decent HDTV.

That's my long rationale for not extending the DTV conversion beyond what congress already caved to a few days ago. I think the government underestimates how many people will convert, once their signals go dark . . . the day before the Superbowl. By the way, the original conversion date was purposely set for after the Superbowl because of pressure from the NFL.

One last thing, maybe those 6.5 million don't really watch all that much TV and won't even miss it.


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