Did You Know: Analog TV Goes Bye Bye In 2009

You probably already know, but, according to this article, Congress is concerned that too few American realize their older, analog TVs (i.e.- non-HD) will become giant paperweights on February 18, 2009. That’s the date Congress has mandated that all over the air broadcast TV must be in digital High-Def, and all current analog signals must stop. That’s in a little under two years from now, and many people don’t know it’s going to happen.

What I find crazy is the bureaucrats mandated this change and are now complaining that the networks aren’t doing enough to educate the viewing public about the change. Also, what about all the people who can’t afford to buy a new TV, let alone a cable connection or HD antenna? Those people are SOL and yet the government is trying to blame the networks.

You may be wondering why there is a mandate at all. You’d think the market would eventually sort through the process and HD would win in the end. Of course, the answer comes down to money. By shutting off access to the analog TV portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the government can then auction parts of the spectrum off. This means big money for them, and big headaches for the rest of us.

I find this whole thing stupid in the extreme, and the whining from the congress critters about the networks really, really irritates me. They helped create this mess and now won’t take part of the blame. Typical really. I try not to get political on this blog, as that’s just asking for trouble. But this makes me wish the government was way smaller than it actually is and less influence on public life.

Anyway, consider this a heads up for anyone who didn’t know about the switchover. You’ll need to upgrade your TV to an HD set soon and you’ll either have to buy an HD antenna or get an HD capable cable box. The only good news is that any network science fiction shows will be shown in HD. Which, as an avid LOST viewer, looks really sweet.

And if you have an HD set and get Universal HD, they are running Firefly on Saturday nights. In HD. Sweet.

11 thoughts on “Did You Know: Analog TV Goes Bye Bye In 2009”

  1. I agree with everything you said here. But how is LOST SF? I don’t watch it, so am clueless.

  2. Shrug, so I’ll buy an HD TV on 02/17/09. Maybe by then the prices will be more realistic. Or I’ll just watch old DVD’s and ignore the networks.

    I have to wonder if I already have this built-in to my satellite receiver. Or maybe they will do it during an upgrade offer.

    Why can’t Congress do something appropriately SF like fund a trip to Mars. Now, that would be fun.

  3. No worries, I am sure your local cable office will be quite please to rent you a HD cable box to hook up to your TV :)

    Note: yes, there is that whole separable security thing coming so we can’t rent you boxes anymore. *sigh*

  4. Actually the deadline that was initially put in place was extended if I remember correctly.

    In any event, they also indicated that low-cost ($50) boxes would be available that would convert bring in OTA HD and convert to SD for folks who can’t or won’t upgrade existing TVs. Oh, and they plan on making these converters available for free to low income families.

    I also don’t believe it was congress that mandated the initial switchover – that was the FCC. Clinton’s FCC chairman was very progressive in terms of pushing the country to HD. However, it was made law in 2005 (which did take congress and the president.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-definition_television_in_the_United_States

  5. After reading through my own link and more details, I see that they assume the market will create the boxes with the government providing vouchers for folks to purchase them. Frankly, this will probably work out perfectly – the OTAHD->SD circuitry won’t cost that much to make in volume yet the price ($40) will be fixed.

  6. In the UK the digital switchover is not to HD. Which means that the DTT boxes (Freeview as the system is called) can be bought for £30 and your old TV used. Also no nasty DRM which might be in the HD.

    I think the UK was at one point going to be the first to switchover, but then everyone moaned about it and it’s now phased over a few years.

    Personally I think they should get on with it, because only when the analogue signals are tunred off can they increase the digital signal strength, stop interference from analogue transmisisons and free up some space to use DAB-H for portable digital TV.

  7. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe this legislation requires one to run out and buy an HD TV. All that is required is a set capable of receiving a digital signal. I believe that if you can watch digital cable through your current CRT, then you should be just fine in oooh nine.

  8. The switch in 2009-02 is from analog to digital over the air signal (digital is not necessarily HD). It does not affect cable or satelite signal and with the proper tuner (ATSC) can be caught with a standard pair of rabbit ears. Over the air digital TV FAQ.

    Also, all new TVs and tuner equipped devices must have an ATSC receiver. ATSC tuner on wiki-pedia

  9. We HAVE BOUGHT A HD TV DO WE HAVE TO GET A BOX STILL OR ARE WE OKAY WITH JUST HAVING A HD TV. PLEASE E-MAIL ME AT MY E-MAIL ADDRESS.

  10. I DON’T KNOW MARY. WHY DON’T YOU DO A WEB SEARCH AND LOOK FOR THE FCC SITE. MAYBE THEY CAN HELP YOU. OR CONTACT YOUR MANUFACTURER. OR READ THE MANUAL THAT CAME WITH YOUR HD TV. AND, BY THE WAY, YOU DID NOT INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS SO HOW CAN WE CONTACT YOU. AND HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF TAKING OFF THE CAPS LOCK KEY?

    :O

  11. Yep…it’s another typical ill-informed dumba@@ columnist who writes the “news” without checking his facts – JP Frantz!  AND PEOPLE WILL BELIEVE THIS B.S.!!!

    You will NOT need to buy an HD-ANYTHING!!!  Converter boxes can be had for FREE, if you know where to look.  The $40 coupon from the Federal Gummint (that is, out of YOUR OWN pocket) will cover the cost of several DTV converters that are on the market now.  DTV is NOT HDTV (moron)…check with a source who actually KNOWS what they’re talking about before you send keystrokes to blog.  Most TV rabbit ears/single pole indoor antennas will work OK in most urban areas for DTV signals.  Basically, whatcha got now will be fine when you add a box.  BUT…don’t wait until February 16, 2009 to go get one – you won’t find any on the shelves.  Oh, and tell your gramma, too.  Old people will wonder where “The Price Is Right” went if their TVs aren’t converted in time.  Start now and insure that those reruns of “Gilligan’s Island” will still be visible after DTV-Day.   Thenk yew.

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