SYRACUSE, NY--The June 12 switch from analog to digital television is fast approaching, and many Central New Yorkers are having a difficult time with the conversion.
"I think the whole thing is just absurd," said Syracuse resident Phillip Crosby. "This transition is a waste of time and money. The economy is bad enough. Analog has worked for how many years?! Don't change it!"
Fellow Syracuse resident Robin Joy agreed.
"Especially in today's economy, we don't have another forty dollars to buy another box just to listen to our local channels."
A Nielsen Media Research reported that as of last week, 3.1 million Americans were still unequipped for next week's switch. Analog owners looking to go digital have three options: buy a new television, buy a converter box, or subscribe to cable television.
The government offered consumers two forty-dollar coupons to minimize the cost of converter boxes. With the coupon, boxes can cost as little as ten dollars. As of May 16, Syracuse residents requested more than 150,000 of these government coupons, but only 80,000 had been redeemed.
David Murray, who works at RA-LIN Discount in Syracuse, thinks he knows the reason for the disparity.
"When they see how much the prices have dropped, especially on smaller TVs they skip the converter and buy a TV," said Murray. "It gave a lot of people the incentive to get a new TV."
RA-LIN has seen HDTV sales spike in the past few months.
"Most people know the converter box isn't going to give you High Def, just keep you able to keep television," said Murray. "Everybody's seen HD by now, either in a store or friend's house, so they're kind of liking that idea."
Analog transmission was originally scheduled to end in February this year, but Congress voted to delay the switch until June 12th because many weren't ready for the change.