Over-the-air broadcast will still be there like today. The people will just have to use a converter box and convert this digital signal to their analog tv (you won't get high-def). The price tag mentioned is to be around $50.
For those plugged into technology news, the awareness that in about 16 months, the FCC is going to force all broadcasters to stop broadcasting in analog is not a new idea. It's been discussed for years. However, as some - maybe many - of you are aware, talking to one's parent or even contemporaries who are either technophobic or are ... hmm, what is the term for someone who feels they are "above" the idea of spending their time learning about technology? ... anyways there are plenty of people out there who either have no clue this is coming, or no idea what it means.
What DOES this whole thing mean?
When the switch is flipped, then people using traditional antenna and analog televisions will cease to receive television programming, right? So someone living miles from the closest cable system or broadcasting system is no longer going to be able to access television. In some cases, the people will be able to afford satellite. But if they are like most Americans, they are so far in debt that won't be an option.
This seems quite a stupid decision on the part of the government... or at least, a decision that is going to haunt a LOT of political careers.
Now, what about those of us with analog televisions, accessing a non-digital cable system? Are our televisions also going to go blank? We have no antenna, and in my case, if I were to try to climb on the roof to install an HD antenna, I'd probably end up in the hospital (where, hopefully, the techs have solved the problem ...)
How many people are expecting their televisions are going to continue working? The day all the sets go blank (while probably a good thing for the minds) I would expect is going to hit network programming hard... what will the ratings mean when 75% or more of the country has "gone blank"?
I've read articles about government stipends towards convertor boxes. But it seems unrealistic that a country where most citizens are unable to set the time on their television set will some how be able to figure out where to go, what to buy, and how to install it all, even IF the cable company's are set up to handle the calls, problems, etc.
What puzzles me the most is that it seems, to me, that the press are downplaying the coming chaos.
The Y2K bug coverage was thousands of times larger than the 2009 television blackout date - and it is a lot more certain of occurring.