The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a bureau of the United States Commerce Department, announced yesterday that they are having a hard time keeping up with the demand for coupons for digital TV converter boxes that will keep traditional analog televisions working after the February 2009 switchover to an all-digital television system in the U.S.
Despite the millions of low-priced HDTVs sold every month for the past five-plus years, there are still tens of millions of traditional 480i 4:3 standard-definition television sets installed in the marketplace and some consumers are not ready for the switch.
Gone are the days of borrowing money from the equity of your home to purchase home theater and consumer electronics. Outgoing President Bush asked Americans to spend our way out of the economic malaise that came after 9/11. What he and his advisors didn't see coming was the economic meltdown that was started when people were spending as he asked them to - directly from the soon-to-be-shrinking equity in their homes.
The good news for the consumer electronics industry is the idea that there are tens of millions of potential HDTV sets that will be sold in the near future, as the February 2009 cutoff date will inspire some people to finally get out to the big-box stores and buy some new "glass." The question is, other than Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Costco, how many of these stores will still be in business by the end of 2009?