Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Doomsday For Matlock Fans: 2-17-2009

There are a bunch of stories online today about how U.S. Senators are already terrified of possible consumer backlash coming in 2009. This is all about the impending switchover from analog to digital TV signals. Here are some quotes from some Senators:

"They're not going to call you, they're going to call me. And they're going to be mad." - Senator Claire McCaskill, D-MO

"The transition poses a high potential for a train wreck here." - Senator Maria Cantwell, D-WA

"The government needs to act before the digital transition devolves into digital disaster." - Daniel Inouye, D-HI

This feels like the millennium bug coming all over again, except this time we know it will happen. The big difference this time is it will likely impact the poor and the elderly the worst. This will be the Katrina version of the millennium bug. It’s interesting how the UK is spending $400 million on their educational campaign while we are only spending $7 million.

Knowing that the poor and elderly will be the ones most affected, AARP is trying to predict their reaction:

"These consumers will be confused, frustrated and angry that this important information and entertainment source in their home is no longer operational, through no fault of their own." - AARP board member Nelda Barnett

This clearly won't end well. Only 10% of people surveyed in the U.S. know of the February 17, 2009 deadline. Managing customer expectations is something we are very aware of in the User Experience Design field. This impact is on a scale that is very hard to relate to.

Stay tuned?

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