2008-09-10, 14:51

Switching to Digital TV --- Avoid a Public Relations Fiasco

By: Multifamily Real Estate Industry Team
I was just reading a piece by Betsy Feigin Befus of the National Multi-Family Housing Council about the upcoming (February 17, 2009) nation-wide switch from analog to digital television. According to varous groups who have been studying the state of consumer preparedness, nearly half of the consumers who will not be able to use their TV sets after February 17 are unaware of the impending switch.

Apartment owners have no legal obligation with respect to the conversion itself. Nonetheless, in cases where residents receive television programming via over-the-air rooftop antennae, the apartment owner would be prudent to determine whether the equipment can be modified to receive the digital signal, or whether it needs to be replaced ---- which will likely take some time. It's probably safe to say that residents consider ready access to television programs a condition of habitability, and not an amenity. Unless apartment owners address this situation very soon, they are likely to have a very ugly public relations situation on their hands come February 17.

On the other hand, apartment owners can do a lot (in addition to addressing the situation described above) to help their residents be ready for the switch. Ms. Befus' piece contains much helpful advice, and is available at http://www.multihousingnews.com/multihousing/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003844509.

(This post submitted by Karen Estelle Carey, a member of the multi-family housing team.)

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