The exciting part of the 700MHz auction we have heard so much about has caused some people to forget where that spectrum is coming from. Early next year, analog television signals over the air in the U.S. are expected to disappear, rendering older equipment obsolete. In particular, televisions with only an analog input will no longer receive any channels, assuming the owner relies on an antenna to pick up analog TV. To encourage education, the FCC required companies to begin labeling equipment they sell as being outdated, letting customers know that without a DTV converter of some sort that would find themselves with useless equipment.
The FCC has made good on their warnings to those companies who didn't comply, and has issued over $6 million in fines to companies and retailers who have not labeled their equipment. Some of the companies fined include Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City, Target and Sears. But how much impact this lack of education will have remains to be seen, though I'm sure it will be pretty obvious come February 2009.