My next-door neighbors spent their DTV transition coupons for a pair of converter boxes to go with their analog TV sets. As I watched the set-up process of one of their Magnavox converter boxes (purchased at WalMart) I contemplated the absolute horror that likely awaits us on February 17th. My neighbors did get the box working eventually, but it wasn’t painless, and they’re left with some irritating quirks on their new digital-via-analog kitchen television. For example, they now have silly station numbers like 45.2. And for some reason my neighbors can’t access any digital PBS channels – a critical problem when you have kids and no cable programming.
On the good side, the picture reception on the channels they do get is awesome, and they get some new digital channels as part of the deal. There’s even a basic EPG. Will the good outweigh the bad? For some people, yes. But there are going to be an awful lot of busy customer support folks getting these converter boxes to work in Grandma’s house early next year.