Tuesday, February 27, 2007
A little less than two years from today, all non-cable subscribers will need to purchase new televisions:
(At least in the United States; other countries have different schedules.)
From Wikipedia on Digital Television
Many countries around the world currently operate a simulcast service where a broadcast is made available to viewers in both analog and digital at the same time. As digital becomes more popular it is likely that the existing analog services will be removed. In some cases this has already happened where a broadcaster has offered incentives to viewers to encourage them to switch to digital or simply switched their service regardless of whether they want to switch. In other cases government policies have been introduced to encourage the switch-over process — especially with regard to terrestrial broadcasts.
Switch-off in progress
In the United States, the switch-off of all analog terrestrial TV broadcasts has been mandated for no later than February 17, 2009. Legislation setting this deadline was signed into law in early 2006.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Are you ready for it?
For more, and there's a lot more, a good place to start is Wikipedia's High Definition Television in the United States
I think there's some kind of special set-top box that will take an HDTV digital signal and convert it to an SDTV analog signal. Still, even that won't be cheap. Gonna be a lot of TV's in the landfill and a lot of maxed out credit cards come 2009.
Given that cable and satellite viewers won't be directly affrected, I'd say that relatively few will be immediately impacted. How many of your neighbors still use that TV antenna on the roof?
BTW--It seems to have been largely overlooked, but there's no requirment for TV stations to use HD. They can comply with the rules by using just SD, even though most seem to be going for the better picture. Still the law would allow them to put up an SD picture for their main channel and sell an HD signal with the leftover bandwidth they have...
Right, digital doesn't necessarily mean high definition.
This has been coming for a decade though, it's a little late to be surprised and alarmed.
Uh... And this is a bad thing?
Welcome to the 21st century, dude. Here in the UK, the shutdown is supposed to start happening in 2008 and be done by 2012, but already 80% of houses have digital TV (either built-in or via set-top boxes).
My TV is an analogue model with a digital Freeview box on it; I get tons of free digital channels that I would never get with an analogue antenna. Of course, most of it is crap, but at least I don't have to pay for it.
Try doing without the idiot box. We have for 15 years. It's easy. Radio and computer more than make up for the stupid programming and commercials on teevee.
If enough try to live without it, the world will be a better place, especially for the kids.
Inevitably, in any blog post about television, someone will show up pretending they never watch television, and that the dolphins will rescue us from Iraq if we all just turned off the 'idiot box'.
Like books, film, radio, sculpture, music, etc, tv is a medium used for both good and ill, and it's inherently neither. The crucial thing is to be able to tell the difference.
I lived without a TV for ten years. Didn't miss a thing.
Many, many things are not inherently good or bad in theory. In practice, there isn't enough good TV programming to make it worth me flipping through a thousand channels and skipping commercials. YMMV.
I lived off books, magazines, laserdiscs and DVDs.
The big thing is that you can pick and choose what you want and skip ads much easier in alternate media.