In fact, it has now become ingrained enough that parodies of those spots are popping up all over the place:
This could have been my grandmother.
Some are just plain odd...
Some are just plain odd...
Some are for the younger generation...
And now, of course, there are blooper reels for the PSAs!
There are plenty of news stories on local and national news programs... in fact, there are quite a few PROGRAMS devoted to passing along information on the transition, like PBS's GET READY FOR DTV which is showing a lot between now and February 19th.
The FCC has made DTV education a requirement, saying that stations must devote x-amount of airtime to programming and PSAs on this topic - so you'll be seeing these spots for some time to come.
Lots of things are going on in the background too. A couple of weeks ago, my station switched to the new satellite. In a couple more weeks, we will be having our own HD transition, where our sources for much of our standard definition programing will be going away. This means a changing of naming conventions internally, and technical hoops to be jumped through by engineering.
We offer 4 streams of programming from 6am to 6pm, then go to one HD and one SD stream. HD takes up a lot more bandwidth, so we have to lose something else in order to bring you HD. Since we won't be taking away any of our services, all daytime programming will remain SD - children's programming sent to us in HD will be downconverted to SD for air during the day when the other programming streams are active. That means, for us and for lots of other stations, that the notice "In HD where available" at the beginning of some programs, means that the program, if airing during our SD time slots, will actually be broadcast in SD.
That won't be true of every station, but if your station offers more than two streams of video at any given time, it's a good bet you're actually watching standard definition (or downconverted) programming during those times.
Sounds confusing, I know - but most of the public won't have a clue as to how any of this gets to their television. All they have to know is the information contained in the PSAs and TV is theirs for the asking.
In a nutshell:
If you have cable or satellite TV, you don't have to do anything. I mean, you CAN if you want to - it's a great excuse to tell your less-savy spouse that you've got to get a new TV (My mom and dad are now sporting a lovely HD television!), but it really isn't necessary.
If you don't have cable or satellite and are using bunny-ears or an outside antenna, and you wish to continue using the same analog television set, you'll need to get one of those converter boxes. That will be virtually free with the coupons from the government and each household is entitled to two. Or... you could use this as an excuse to buy a NEW TV that has a digital tuner built in. Of course, you'll still need that antenna...
The transition is coming... are you ready?