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Go ahead and build it, but they won't come if they don't know how it works, or care. A spate of studies has indicated consumer confusion and lack of understanding of the digital world is holding back broadband development.

Enter the National Association of Broadcasters and the Consumer Electronics Association, who will launch a digital TV education and awareness program in three pilot cities this month.

Indianapolis, Portland and Houston — the first three "Digital TV Zones" — all are "diverse regional centers where all local, network affiliated stations have made the transition to digital broadcasting, and where there is also a strong retail commitment to digital television marketing and sales," the two entities said in a joint statement.

The Digital TV Zone campaigns will launch between the end of January and beginning of February, and last about eight weeks. A fourth city, Washington, D.C., will become a Zone later this year.

Each Zone will make sure residents have a chance to see, hear and use digital TV firsthand, the two say. Methods include station tours, HDTV sets in high-traffic areas, and "a significant advertising program in each community," via broadcast time from local stations. Meantime, manufacturers will work with local retailers to combine promotions.

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