HITN, Dish Partner in Digital Transition Educational Initiative


The Hispanic Information Telecomunications Network (HITN) has partnered with Dish Network to launch a multiplatform initiative to educate and inform U.S.-based Latinos about the February 2009 digital transition and how they can prepare for it.

The initiative, “Televisión Digital -- Es Hora del Cambio”(“Digital TV: It’s Time for Change”) incorporates live, televised video conference workshops via HITN’s network of community-based organizations and comes on the heels of similar efforts launched by the nation’s largest Spanish-language broadcasters.

But unlike the initiatives launched earlier this year by Telemundo and Univision, HITN’s effort places a higher emphasis on education at the grassroots level, working with local communities to raise awareness of the impact the digital switch will have on Hispanic households.

“We have a responsibility to bring the whole truth around this issue,” HITN president and CEO José Luis Rodriguez, said in an interview. “People think that the only ones affected will be the 3 million Latinos that don’t have cable and satellite, but that is far from the truth,” said Rodríguez, citing the overall confusion regarding the best and most affordable solutions they have for continuing their access to TV services once the switch to digital is made.

One of the workshops already on the air and online, provides community participants with information on how to obtain top-rated converter boxes from participating community-based organizations or Dish Network’s national network of independent retailers, many of whom are coupon-certified. Dish provided digital transition educational materials and will have experts available on-site to answer questions. The initiative also offers consumer-direct converter box dissemination in New York and Puerto Rico.

Supporting the grassroots efforts, HITN also launched a series of public service announcements on its national TV platforms featuring Federal Communications Commission members Jonathan Adelstein and Robert McDowell, who can be seen on the PSAs speaking in fluent, if slightly accented, Spanish.