Monday, February 18, 2008

Transition to digital TV - T-minus one year

Confusion abounds over the biggest change in television broadcasting since color was introduced more than half a century ago. In exactly one year television stations will stop transmitting an analog signal. The replacement digital signals are (with a few exceptions) already on the air and providing viewers with newer televisions a new viewing experience.
This does not really matter to about 80% of U.S. households whose television is delivered by cable or satellite. For those who rely on rabbit ears or rooftop antennas (like the fourteen foot monster perched on the roof of my house) good old Uncle Sam has a coupon program to offset most of the cost of an analog converter box to allow standard analog sets to display the digital signals.
Some critics claim the new TV signals will be more difficult to receive. A TV engineer who operates the website TV Fool conducted his own analysis, The Analog Shutdown, for Better or for Worse. It makes for good reading if both statistics and technology float your boat.
The main point here is that change is coming and people in general don't like change.
My charge to you is to help spread the word, especially to older family members who rely on free over the air television, that change is coming, but that it need not be a cause for panic next February 18.