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What do expect will happen in Feb 2009 with television?

by lwvirden / October 8, 2007 12:34 AM PDT

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.

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From what I know.
by ahtoi / October 8, 2007 12:53 AM PDT

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.

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Convertor box
by lwvirden / October 8, 2007 1:22 AM PDT
In reply to: From what I know.

So, is the convertor box only required if one gets television via an external antenna, or will people getting non-digital cable also have to plug one box per tuner as well?

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A related question
by lwvirden / October 8, 2007 1:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Convertor box

A friend emailed me the following question which relates to this topic:

In a Sept 2007 article, CNet, talking about the transition, states:
?For seniors who subscribe to cable, satellite or multichannel video programming services, their TV service will remain uninterrupted, even if they have an analog TV set.?.

So, that sounds like no problem for me and other cable subscribers.

But, what does ?uninterrupted? really mean in terms of specifics for such subscribers?

Specifically, which of the following possible communications might non-cable box subscribers to cable get from their cable company?

?Oh, we?ll need to charge our customers more to provide such service as of Feb 2009?


?Well, you?ll now need a cable box in your house, and that?ll cost you $XX more?


?You wont see one bit of change?

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Any one know .....?
by givemeaname / October 8, 2007 5:48 AM PDT
In reply to: A related question

if the broadcasters are going to boost the transmitter power, any amount?

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TV after February 2009
by lucifer2691 / October 8, 2007 2:12 PM PDT

The government is supposed to have two $40.00 coupons available towards the purchase of digital to analog converters. You will have to apply for the coupons. They are similar to a satellite box in that if you split the out signal, the same channel will appear on all tv's. The problem will be that the digital signal is more line of sight, as told by an antenna manufacturer rep. Luckily for me, I can get all four channels out of Binghamton, NY. I can only hope that they step up the power some and that more channels will be available in the future.

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analog to digital
by lucifer2691 / October 8, 2007 2:20 PM PDT

I forgot to mention. Go to for more info regarding this. Also, go to to see how far you are from your local towers, their position, and as to what antenna you might need. For me, all the local towers are close together, which means no need for a rotor to adjust the direction of the antenna.

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analog to digital
by lucifer2691 / October 8, 2007 2:32 PM PDT


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