...I think. I heard what you heard she said too.
Let's just keep it simple. Here's the dilio:
- analog over-the-air broadcasts will disappear in 2009.
- digital over-the-air broadcasts are already in effect and will continue.
- analog through cable will continue through and possibly past 2009.*
*sorry, can't keep it simple here. I haven't heard a good explanation of what is really going to happen here. From what I understand, MOST cable companies will continue to provide analog cable, but I'm not sure if they are obligated to. And if they're not obligated to provide analog, how long can it possibly last? Cable companies, along with retailers, have a financial interest in pushing digital transmission. As discussed in BOL, stories abound of customer service reps and sales reps telling the white lie that analog won't exist at all soon...but is it really a lie? For all intents and purposes analog will be dead.
Back to keeping it simple:
For all but the most financially strapped, do yourselves a favor and just buy a new HDTV. All HDTVs sold in the US today have the necessary ATSC (digital) tuner which a) will be future-proof and b) will put your mind at ease and let you zone out whenever someone like Molly or Tom or Jason starts talking about the "analog-to-digital transition".
I know the economy is tough. But a 19" LCD HDTV can be had for about $250 now. 26" LCD HDTVs can be had for less than $600. For this relatively small outlay, you'll get a future-proof reliable TV that will serve you well for a minimum of 5 years. (Consumer Reports recently noted that LCDs compared favorably against Plasmas and projection TVs for durability/reliability) As a bonus, you'll get the crisp, clear High Definition picture.
The alternative is to pay ~$40-$75 for an analog-to-digital converter which gives you the "privilege" of continuing to use your old TV. Or go through the process of applying/waiting for that federal coupon to get a rebate for said analog-to-digital converter.
Take it from a tightwad. 2008 is the year to buy a new TV.