Mexico has begun to distribute thousands of new TVs and set-top boxes suitable for receiving digital TV signals in its northern regions. The government has plans to distribute 13.8 million boxes in all to poor and underprivileged viewers as part of its efforts to switch off analogue TV by next year.
This past week saw a reported 106,428 units given away to low-income users in a total of 17 regions in the north of the country. The rationale for giving poor families new TV sets is that their power consumption is lower than old CRT sets. The government says that these low-power sets will, in a full year, result in power savings worth $254 million.
Currently only about 26 per cent of homes have made the switch to digital TV, either with a new suitable TV or using a convertor box.
The moves have met with considerable opposition, not least the giving away of ‘free’ TV sets. Some opposition figures argue that most families will still keep their old sets, thereby increasing overall power consumption.