When the switch is thrown to convert all TV transmissions in America to digital by the Feb. 17 deadline, millions of people could be left with no signal at all, reports the New York Times, as efforts to educate the public have been largely unsuccessful so far. The Federal Communications Commission sponsored a NASCAR race car as part of its effort to inform Americans that on Feb. 18, television signals transmitted over the air will be transmitted solely in digital format–and old TV sets no longer will work. It paid $350,000 to emblazon "The Digital TV Transition" and other phrases on a Ford driven by David Gilliland. So how’s that going? In November, the car crashed during a race in Phoenix. It was the second crash in as many months. And how is the digital TV transition going? According to critics, about as well, despite a major marketing campaign that includes nightly ads on TV. According to surveys conducted by the Consumers Union, a consumer-advocacy group that also publishes Consumer Reports magazine, while 90 percent of the nation is aware of the transition, 25 percent mistakenly believe that one must subscribe to cable or satellite after February, and 41 percent think that every TV in a house must have a new converter box–even those that are already connected to cable or satellite. "We need boots on the ground," said Joel Kelsey, a Consumers Union policy analyst who advocates armies of people, from firefighters to television industry personnel, going into homes and setting up converter boxes for consumers…

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