Digital TV Transition: Senior Workshops

September 23rd, 2008

Inside Thirteen Blogger: Dan Allen, Friends of Thirteen Intern

Attendees watch on as a converter box is
connected to a television using “rabbit ears”

On September 17th, I traveled uptown with Dorothy Pacella, Executive Director, Friends of Thirteen, to represent Channel Thirteen at “Harlem Connects,” an educational conference to prepare Harlem’s seniors for the digital television transition in 2009. Studies show that seniors are most likely to be left behind on February 17th, 2009, when all analog TV signals cease. The Harlem Consumer Education Council, under the leadership of dedicated community activists Dennis Lane and Florence Rice, hosted the event at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. building on 125th Street.

As the day progressed, my eyes were opened to an array of issues surrounding the “big switch.” Barriers of age, language and cost are frequently overlooked obstacles when it comes to the digital transition. Even with a $40 coupon, a digital converter box is a still a serious financial concern for someone living on a fixed income.

Below: sample coupon; for real coupon, go to

Even if your household subscribes to cable, I urge you to spread the word and educate your parents, relatives, friends, co-workers or neighbors; someone you know who is not ready for February 17th. With 148 days to go, it’s important to be as proactive as Harlem’s seniors who have already held two forums about the digital transition. It’s a daunting task, but Friends of Thirteen is doing our best to make sure that no one misses out. Learn more about the digital transition here: