Environment Could Be the Loser in Change to Digital TV Broadcasting

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Millions of analog television sets will become obsolete in the next 18 months. Legislators and concerned business leaders are acting to avoid an environmental emergency that could result if those sets and the toxic substances they contain end up in landfills.

State and local lawmakers are fast becoming aware of a devil in the details of a federal mandate that takes place early in 2009. On February 17, 2009 - only 18 months from now - television broadcasts in the United States will be all digital.

This means big change for the tens of millions of Americans who receive over-the-air broadcast signals on one or more televisions in their homes. Televisions that receive only traditional analog signals no longer will be able to display broadcasts. To receive and view digital signals over the air, owners of these TVs will have to add a digital converter box or buy a new set equipped to receive digital signals.

Industry expert Keith Prather says digital televisions now account for virtually all sales of televisions 30 inches and larger in the United States. However, most smaller TVs sold - many of them second sets for the kitchen or shop - are inexpensive analog sets likely to be discarded.

Also, millions of households rely on over-the-air, broadcast signals. Because converter boxes do not offer the full image quality of a digital TV, indications are that a high percentage of consumers will opt to buy new digital sets instead of adding converter boxes to old ones.

This means millions of old TV sets could be scrapped in the next few months, which is the source of concern for legislators and landfill managers. "If people simply put the old TV sets out with the trash, damage to the environment could be severe," Prather said. "Each cathode ray tube - the traditional 'picture tube' - contains several pounds of lead, as well as other toxic substances."

Prather, president of Doctor Sound Home Theater, Inc., said his company is working to help keep old TVs out of landfills by encouraging recycling of older sets. "When people recycle electronics equipment they not only prevent pollutants from entering the ecosystem, they also make valuable materials available for re-use in new products."

Some communities are making it easier to recycle old televisions by partnering with service clubs and opening special drop-off points for bulky items. State legislatures and municipalities are putting teeth into recycling laws. House Bill 2714 and Senate Bill 1324, pending before the Texas legislature, spell out specific requirements for recycling of computers. Legislators are being urged to broaden the law to include disposal of televisions, as well.

Doctor Sound and other conscientious retailers will have more definitive announcements in the near future. Meanwhile, Prather urges consumers to learn more about the importance of recycling electronic goods at http://www.earth911.org , and digital TV conversion at http://www.dtv.gov. He said his company will be glad to attempt to answer questions for consumers who send a message to info @ drsoundinc.com.

"The issue of electronics recycling will only get bigger," Prather said. "The conversion to all digital broadcasting compounds an already huge problem. Industry estimates indicate that as much as 75 percent of obsolete electronics equipment, including computers and monitors, currently is being stored while owners figure out what to do with it. We owe it to our kids to get this done right."

About Doctor Sound

Doctor Sound is a leader in the design, sale and installation of custom home theater and sound systems. A North Texas standout for more than 10 years, Doctor Sound has earned its reputation for excellence through elegant design and skilled installation by CEDIA-certified installers. For more information, Call Doctor Sound at 972-317-6525 or visit our Website at http://www.drsoundinc.com.

Contact:
Cassidy Prather
972-317-6525
cassidy @ drsoundinc.com

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