FCC Chief Blasts Obama's Call to Delay Digital TV Changeover

Just last week, President-elect Obama asked Congress to stop the analog TV shut down, due to funding issues and confusion. At CES yesterday, FCC chief Kevin Martin was having none of that at all.

“[W]e’ve spent a lot of time and energy getting ready for the February 17 date,” Martin said during a CES Q&A. “I am concerned about the consumer confusion that would be created.”

No kidding he's concerned, but he's probably more confused today than anything. As many of you may have put together by now, this is the same Martin we caught watching the DTV parody video on Friday, mouth agape. Perhaps the experience on Friday influenced his answers on Saturday? We may never know, but it doesn't sound like it did.

What we do know is that, according to Nielsen, the failure of DTV coupon program has resulted in as much as 7% of the nation's households being “completely unready” for the switch. That's 7% of the population daytime TV and the Price is Right simply can't afford to lose.

Most broadcasting companies are critical of Obama's position too, since many have not budgeted in the cost of operating two transmitters past the February 17 deadline.

“No matter when the deadline is, there will always be some who are not going to be prepared,” said Michelle Vetterkind, president of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Regardless of the infighting, DTV will become the standard on February 17, unless Congress swoops in with a last-minute delay. We'll keep an eye out this month for additional info. Until then, maybe check in on grandma, and see if your geeky skills can be put to good use. [MSNBC]