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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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12

Infrastructural Changeover

The US Digital TV Transition and Media Futures

Lisa Parks

ABSTRACT

Media and communication studies scholars have been tracking the US digital terrestrial television (DTV) transition for over a decade, conducting research crucial for understanding the future of media systems. The existing research tends to focus on two areas. First, some scholars have used diffusion theory to consider issues of technological adoption, exploring the relative willingness of consumers to adapt to DTV. Second, others have examined how the transition has impacted the consumer electronics industry and the United States' precarious position in that global industry. Few, if any, have engaged critically with the ways that the federal government, trade organizations, and community groups have communicated with the public in an effort to prepare them for the digital TV transition. In this chapter, Lisa Parks adds a vital dimension to existing work in this area by exploring how technical information about DTV was communicated to the public in the months leading up to the transition. Examining a variety of materials, from press releases to news reports from public service announcements to video kinescopes that document the end of analog service, Parks considers how consumer-citizens were addressed by public outreach initiatives and how they negotiated the digital TV transition. She highlights three issues crucial for understanding this major infrastructural transition: (1) the ...

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