New DTV Transition Date May Result Converter Box Shortage

Not surprisingly, shifting the DTV transition date to June 12th could mean that converter boxes will run out.

Many manufactures stopped making the devices in January, expecting the demand to peak around the original Feb. 17th shutoff date. Therefore, the extension kind of leaves them with their pants down—so to speak.

The trade association estimates U.S. retailers have 3 million to 6 million boxes at hand.

"The worst case is that there are only 3 million boxes," Petricone said. "Retailers would then run out of inventory by the end of February."

Throw that on top of a huge waiting list of 3.7 million rebate coupons, and you have yourself a powder keg of problems. The stimulus package that is currently in the works could help diffuse the situation to a degree, but the bottom line is that this is never going to go down without people being left out in the lurch. They should have just pulled the trigger on it this month and got it over with. [Physorg and Getty Images Photo]