TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: The End of Analog TV

Re: The End of Analog TV
Thu, 28 Apr 2005 03:09:36 -0700

Anyone have any idea what the converter boxes for NTSC sets will cost?
And, how many folks will it affect? Seems like if an NTSC set is on
cable, the cable provider will have to provide the solution and may
very well already be ready to do just that.

I recently switched our living room set out to HDTV (and we are
*really* glad we did) but our bedroom set is NTSC. I suppose our
situation is not unusual.

Also, I thought there was some 85% "rule" that had to occur in a given
market to switch off NTSC.

The downside of all this is that no broadcaster will be forced to
provide HTDV even after going digital. That will be up to the
marketplace, or so it seems.

And, my local cable company does not even carry all the local (Los
Angeles) broadcast stations that presently have over-the-air HDTV.
That I find to be really, really odd.

Monty Solomon wrote:

> The end of analog TV
> Will America's favorite technology really go dark next year?

> By Michael Rogers
> Columnist
> Special to MSNBC

> Depending on the outcome of discussions in Congress, television as we
> know it may end at exactly midnight Dec. 31, 2006.

> That's the date Congress targeted, a decade ago, for the end of analog
> television broadcasting and a full cutover to a digital format. If
> enforced, that means that overnight, somewhere around 70 million
> television sets now connected to rabbit ears or roof-top antennas will
> suddenly and forever go blank, unless their owners purchase a special
> converter box. Back when the legislation was written, New Year's Eve
> 2006 probably looked as safely distant as the dark side of the
> moon. But now that date is right around the corner and Congress and
> the FCC are struggling mightily to figure out what to do.

> Congress, however, left itself a loophole in the 1996 legislation, and
> could actually let the cut-off date slide by. But powerful lobbyists
> now are pressing legislators to set a "date certain" for the analog
> lights-out. The debate over when to throw the switch is a strange brew
> of big money, high technology, homeland security and a single,
> unanswerable question: just how angry are the couch potatoes going to
> be? It's also a textbook example of why the future almost never
> happens as fast as technologists promise.

> It all started back in the Eighties, when the Japanese shocked
> American consumer electronics companies with trade-show displays of
> high definition television sets that delivered razor-sharp images and
> stunning audio. Everyone from Congress to the Wall Street Journal
> raised outcries: America's favorite technology was being taken over by
> the then-fearsome Japan Inc. As a result, a group of American
> companies formed the "Grand Alliance" that leapfrogged the Japanese
> technology by inventing digital HDTV. Thus, early on, HDTV invoked not
> just pretty pictures, but national pride and economic
> development. (Ironically, Zenith, the most all-American commercial
> participant in the Grand Alliance, is now South Korean-owned.)

> One drawback to the U.S. version of HDTV was that to make it work, all
> broadcast television (not just high-definition) would have to convert
> to digital, meaning that every American television set manufactured
> since 1946 would be rendered obsolete. To ease the transition,
> Congress generously gave all television broadcasters additional
> channel space so that they could keep broadcasting their analog
> signals while they installed and launched their digital channels. The
> deal was that they would give up their old channels when the
> transition was done. That part worked: Over 1400 broadcasters now
> transmit in digital as well as analog, reaching 99 percent of the
> U.S. television market.

> During the same period consumers were supposed to buy digital
> television receivers. That part didn't work.


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