June 12, 2009
The Day Analog TV Went Dark
Finally, it's happened. Today is the day that televison stations nationwide are broadcasting in digital form, shutting down their analog transmitters forever. Instead of the old rabbit ears, consumers must get their broadcasts using a digital television with a digital receiver, or an analog TV with a converter box. Both, however, need digital rabbit ears or an outdoor antenna that does the same thing. Way back in the 60s there were photographs of cityscapes with hundreds of antennas littering the roofscapes. How ironic that we move forward to better broadcast television by going back to those days. Maybe not, though. Cable and DSL access negates the need, and antennas compete with satellite dishes for rooftop spaces in the enlighted age of television. Reports estimate that two million citizens will have problems with the transition. Out of a country of 300 million plus, that's not that bad.
The Washington Post has a special DTV transition page with more information than anyone will ever need about this.