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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
4/16/2008  9:47:00 AM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Vinh Tang, Councilmember Harrell Office, 684-8804

Councilmember Bruce Harrell

COUNCILMEMBER BRUCE HARRELL ADDRESSES DIGITAL TELEVISION TRANSITION
Council Chambers, City Hall, 12:00 PM, April 22

SEATTLE —On February 17, 2009 all television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to digital broadcasting, affecting the 20% of Seattle residents without cable subscriptions or digital televisions. To inform the public about this impending digital television transition, Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell will host a televised public forum on April 22 at noon in Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, Council Chambers, Second Floor.

At the forum, a panel of experts will educate residents on how they can prepare for the digital television transition including who will be affected, how to purchase and connect a converter box, where to get federally-subsidized discount coupons, and how to responsibly dispose of an old television. The forum will also explore how the media will be affected by this change. The panelists include Bill Schrier, Chief Technology Officer of the Seattle Department of Information Technology, Timothy Croll, Solid Waste Director at Seattle Public Utility, Greg Jones, Radio Shack District Manager, Glenn Farley of KING 5 News, and Steve Kipp of Comcast.

“Access to information via television is a vital component of citizen engagement. As Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, I would like to make sure that Seattle residents are informed about the digital television transition and know what they need to do to ensure continued television access,” said Councilmember Harrell. “I intend this forum to be a platform through which to get the word out to a greater audience.”

Councilmember Harrell’s office and the Office of Cable Communications are making an extra effort to get this information out to senior citizens and immigrant communities, the groups expected to be most affected by the change. The forum will be broadcast on the Seattle Channel (Channel 21). In addition, brochures in a variety of languages will be distributed around town.

What is Digital Television Transition?
On February 17, 2009, all television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. Digital broadcasting promises to provide a clearer picture and more programming options and will free up airwaves for use by emergency responders. The Office of Cable Communications estimates that 20% of Seattle residents have non-cable analog TV and will be affected by this transition.

The Federal Government created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep using their analog TV sets. The Program allows households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, which can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes. The boxes are priced between $50 and $70 and sold at mainstream electronics retailers. A television connected to cable, satellite or other pay TV service does not require a converter box. For more information on the digital television transition and coupon program, visit www.dtv2009.gov or www.seattle.gov/cable/digital.htm

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City Council

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