DTV Conversion: 199 and counting

We’re now just 199 days from the end of (the vast majority of) analog TV broadcasts in the United States.

That would be February 17, 2009 for those keeping score.

I’m ready — I’m sitting on cable and I have a DTV antenna outside — it’s just not hooked to the TV yet. How about you?

5 thoughts on “DTV Conversion: 199 and counting

  1. My DTV boxes have been hooked up for a couple months and they’re great. The reception is good and my 15 year old tv looks brand new.

    In my household we have one HD set with the monster digital HD cable package, one tv with basic cable and two off-air. The off-air looks so good we’re thinking about cutting the cable cord!

  2. @bonita — I hope more follow your example. It would strengthen traditional broadcasters, especially pubTV, because off-air you have fewer choices and we’re one of them! 😉

    @Johnny — I like hulu as well. I watch A LOT of hulu these days. I actually watch very little TV via cable or otherwise. Perhaps if I got a DVR (e.g. a TiVo) I might watch more actual broadcast television.

  3. Last summer I was visiting a freind in San Francisco who was showing me his new HD tv, hooked up to Comcast cable. He was not paying the extra bucks for their HD service but was considering it. I took him down to Sears and had him buy a set of $15 rabbit ears. We hooked it up to the antenna connection on his HD, and told his tv to search for channels. Zowie! Over 40 virtual channels popped up with all kinds of programming, from the big networks (who switch to HD at night) to the little community channels. Lots of partnerships obviously happening with what would seem to be disparate services riding on the same carriers but with their own virtual identities. Very cool.

    By the way, there are approximately 1,760 full power television stations in the US. These full power stations are the only ones required to turn off their analog transmitters in February 09. There are 560 Class A stations, 2,300 Low Power stations, and over 4,400 translators. These stations are NOT required to turn off their analog transmitters, and the FCC has yet to lay out a timetable or the details of how, when, or even if, they will require them to transition to digital.

    So while the majority of viewers in the US may see digital-only broadcasts come February, there are some 7,260 stations that will still be analog. We are not yet seeing “…the end of (the vast majority of) analog TV broadcasts in the United States”, just the big players for now.

  4. Thanks for the comment, Steve. One of the things that concerns me, however, is the weakness of DTV signals (compared to the analog forebears) and the increased directionality of them. Plus, over the past 20-30 years most consumers have gotten away from fiddling with antennas and all that, opting for the simpler cable hookup.

    I think people in the largest cities with the highest concentrations of DTV transmitters will have a grand old time. Here in Anchorage, not so much. Or am I wrong?

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