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Posts Tagged ‘DTV’

antenna.jpgWhen I was a kid, we only had a handful of TV stations. There were the Big Three networks, a snowy picture of PBS, and a few stations we could see only if the wind was blowing in the right direction. We were thankful; we were happy.

Today, it’s all different, of course. We have cable, satellite, as well as do-it-yourself media like TiVo and Apple TV. And with those media, and the extensive writing that Scott has churned out about the sea-change of Apple TV, I have begun to wonder, is traditional over-the-air TV obsolete?

To be sure, the vast majority of TV viewers get TV from a cable or satellite provider. The days of the TV rabbit ears have gone. Or, so it seems. While the numbers of subscribers to programming vendors vary wildly, depending on whom you ask, most agree that the numbers of viewers actually receiving TV transmissions from their local TV tower is less than 20%. That seems like a waste when you consider the time and energy your local TV station goes to in raising such a signal – towers can run over $1 million, transmitters don’t come cheap, and powering a UHF transmitter with an output power of a couple of hundred kilowatts is only for the deep-pocketed. And, it only adds insult to injury that soon hundreds of analog TV transmission plants are going to be nothing more than scrap.

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Over the next year, you are going to be deluged with commercials and articleimg00008.jpgs about the “DTV Transition,” the change-over from traditional analog television to swanky, new digital television (“DTV”). The final step in the transition, the shutdown of the old style analog transmitters is close — February 17, 2009.

This should not impact you too much. Unless you’re using an old analog TV with an antenna, drop-dead day likely will come and go without you noticing. Cable and/or satellite penetration (I love using that word!) is very high, indeed, and for those folks, the programming streams they get now will continue for the near future. But, there are a select few who either can’t afford cable, or just can’t be bothered. Unless they either buy a digital TV, or a converter box (which the government is helping with, but, we’ll save that for another post), that day next year could bring a rude awakening. They might wake up and flip on the CBS Early Show (wait, who are we kidding?) the Today Show, and find nothing but static.

Digital-capable TVs are getting quite affordable. And, big-box retailers like Best Buy and just lousy with ’em. After all, they have been forbidden to continue buying new stock for sale of analog TVs for quite some time. Most have simply removed the remaining sets from store shelves, and doubtless taken an accounting charge. But, not Target.

I was in Target today, and came upon a sad sight. A selection of soon-to-be obsolete TVs just begging for a buyer. And, the little consumer warning on the shelf just isn’t enough to warn the uninitiated that they are buying a 2009 paperweight. Do you think your Aunt Martha understands the difference between analog and digital? And, let’s not even talk about multi-casting!

Come on Target, pack up the 80s technology, K? 2009 ain’t too far off!

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