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Jack Simpson - Ready or not, digital TV is coming soon

We have been getting warnings about digital conversion for many months. Some of us have responded, and others are dragging their feet. In fact, it has been estimated that about 8 million Americans still have not adapted and will be complaining after the switchover deadline, which was delayed from Feb. 17 to June earlier this week.

Those of us having older television sets with rabbit ears will need converters to enable us to receive digital television broadcasts. Our government has felt sorry for us, offering two coupons per household to help pay for converter boxes that cost about $70 each. Individuals have a 90-day period to use the $40 government coupons, so I joined the crowd and bought several boxes.

Being uneducated in things electronic, I sought help from a professional to make my switchover. After seeing my ancient equipment, the serviceman told me to "take these boxes back. They won't work on these old television sets."

Yes sir, just as I had expected. I needed an update, so I got it. Goodbye analog. Hello digital television, with a new satellite dish up on the roof. The change ended up costing more than expected, but once the bugs are worked out, we should have a sharper, clearer picture.

Even with the delay, prepare eventually to kiss your analog television sets bye-bye. Change has not only arrived in government offices but right in your own living room as well.

If you do not want to watch snow on your television screen after June, get cable, dish or converter boxes. The rabbit ears may not help you be among those properly equipped for digital conversion.

With the disappearance of analog television, emergency broadcast systems will benefit from additional space on the airwaves. That's supposed to be the motivation for the big change.

Welcome to the advent of the Digital Transition and Public Safety Act. Prepare yourself for the transformation, modification, conversion and alteration of your family television sets. We are going to turn over a new leaf. After the dust of the big change clears, maybe "Meet the Press" will still look like it always did.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.