We've been told now for years that The Deadline was coming… only to have the government postpone the mandatory transition to digital TV for another few months or years.
The excuses: Consumers aren't ready. Well, shoot, the more you postpone and procrastinate, the more folks will procrastinate their preparation. If they suddenly are without their "Lost" episode or "American Idol" segment, maybe they'll get a move on.
On Dec. 22, 2008, SNEWS addressed the coming deadline, which was Feb. 17 for full digital conversion, and its potential affect on fitness, equipment and clubs. Click here to see that story. In fact, the transition had potential impact on clubs and fitness facilities that had older equipment -- and since the law had stated non-compliant equipment could not be shipped "interstate" one has to wonder what facilities in the same state as some manufacturers may have ended up with older stock.
Plus, home equipment could need additional converter boxes to function -- not as large of a hit as with sprawling clubs but still one that may not make consumers happy if they suddenly can't use the embedded screen on their pricey treadmill. Or control its function from the screen.
So the government stepped in again, with President Obama signing into action another postponement from Feb. 17 to June 12, 2009. However, some stations may already begin the conversion before June, meaning now is the time to make sure equipment is all compliant. To read details about how this could affect equipment, clubs and home users -- not a trivial detail to be sure and one many may not know about -- see our Dec. 22 story, "Be aware of the digital TV transition's affect on fitness equipment."
At that time, industry consultant Peter Haigh (www.peterahaigh.com) had told SNEWS there was nothing that could be done with some of the equipment out there right now and the situation could indeed be a "scary" one.