Turn off analog TV? It’ll never happen

I know that everyone who loves HD is salivating at the prospect that analog TV will be turned off in two years. Here, look at Engadget HD for evidence.

The problem is that anyone who believes this will actually happen is smoking crack.

Here’s why: there are way too many people who still own analog TVs. My dad is one of them. He’s using a TV that I bought him back when I worked at LZ Premiums back in the 1980s. He’d like to get a new HD TV, but he comes from a generation that doesn’t throw things away just because a better one comes along. Not to mention that his house isn’t setup for a big screen. Oh, and older people vote, and vote more often than younger people. He also has a lot more resources than my generation does — resources that can go into getting heard.

But, you try taking away analog TV from people like my dad and you watch the political uproar.

Here’s the fun thing about living in a democracy: the majority group usually gets heard.

In this case I think it’s sheer idiocy to plan on analog TV getting turned off. It’ll never happen. Not in the next 10 years. Sorry.

191 thoughts on “Turn off analog TV? It’ll never happen

  1. The losers — the entire US citizenry. There will be no pocket TV’s, no radios with TV sound, no tv allowed away from home. The “pseudo-portable” sets may fit in a large purse, but only run for an hour. Tulsa Oklahoma lost power 12/07 to an ice storm, 1-3 weeks or more. All watched pocket TV’s, or at least listened to the CBS affilliate on standard FM radio. Any chance of “emergency TV” or “portable tv” ends February; this is not acceptable.

    The five “benefits” of DTV are bogus; the costs considerable. Each household MUST buy 4-6 converters — living room TV, vcr/dvdr, bedroom tv, kid’s-room, guest-room, bathroom, garage — anywhere there is a receiver. Digital sets are complex, thus more likely to fail, and expensive (or impossible) to repair.

    WE DON’T HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY to allow analog to shut off. I don’t care how big a fan you are of DTV, sign the pettition if only to protest “dictatorship”. No one’s giving us a choice.

    In two months non-subscription viewers will lose channels (reception goes from about 70 miles to as little as 20). More commercials, because HD is expensive; 2-hour movie now has nearly an hour of commercials.

    Truth is, analog is better; analog does not have “digital distortion”. Human eyes are low-resolution, “full screen”, and analog. “I-Max” is the best theater — and it’s full screen.

    We are not supposed to be a dictatorship. WE are the government; they do what WE say — but we’re being told “you WILL do what GOVERNMENT says”.

    Scream at your congressman, and sign the pettition; it’s not too late. Or keep quiet, and watch all your freedoms disappear, and prepare to pay and pay.

    One pettition to stop “analog shutoff” is at http://www.stophdtv.org

  2. The losers — the entire US citizenry. There will be no pocket TV’s, no radios with TV sound, no tv allowed away from home. The “pseudo-portable” sets may fit in a large purse, but only run for an hour. Tulsa Oklahoma lost power 12/07 to an ice storm, 1-3 weeks or more. All watched pocket TV’s, or at least listened to the CBS affilliate on standard FM radio. Any chance of “emergency TV” or “portable tv” ends February; this is not acceptable.

    The five “benefits” of DTV are bogus; the costs considerable. Each household MUST buy 4-6 converters — living room TV, vcr/dvdr, bedroom tv, kid’s-room, guest-room, bathroom, garage — anywhere there is a receiver. Digital sets are complex, thus more likely to fail, and expensive (or impossible) to repair.

    WE DON’T HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY to allow analog to shut off. I don’t care how big a fan you are of DTV, sign the pettition if only to protest “dictatorship”. No one’s giving us a choice.

    In two months non-subscription viewers will lose channels (reception goes from about 70 miles to as little as 20). More commercials, because HD is expensive; 2-hour movie now has nearly an hour of commercials.

    Truth is, analog is better; analog does not have “digital distortion”. Human eyes are low-resolution, “full screen”, and analog. “I-Max” is the best theater — and it’s full screen.

    We are not supposed to be a dictatorship. WE are the government; they do what WE say — but we’re being told “you WILL do what GOVERNMENT says”.

    Scream at your congressman, and sign the pettition; it’s not too late. Or keep quiet, and watch all your freedoms disappear, and prepare to pay and pay.

    One pettition to stop “analog shutoff” is at http://www.stophdtv.org

  3. first of all to the opening poster, what an epic fail this was, apparently im smoking crack as you put it, because i see commercials all over the tv about how in 2009 all tv will switch over to digital.

    now… I read alot of posts from people with the old tv’s that dont know what to do with them, well I have an idea…..

    what happens when all tv switches to digital and analog is abandoned? well if you live near my hometown then i suggest you start flipping around the old analog channels after they go down. we already have a crew out here working on the nations first guerrilla television station! thats right, the old tv’s wont be worthless any longer, as long as you live near any free thinkers. so bust out yout rabbit ears and throw away the digital box. real tv is comming soon

  4. first of all to the opening poster, what an epic fail this was, apparently im smoking crack as you put it, because i see commercials all over the tv about how in 2009 all tv will switch over to digital.

    now… I read alot of posts from people with the old tv’s that dont know what to do with them, well I have an idea…..

    what happens when all tv switches to digital and analog is abandoned? well if you live near my hometown then i suggest you start flipping around the old analog channels after they go down. we already have a crew out here working on the nations first guerrilla television station! thats right, the old tv’s wont be worthless any longer, as long as you live near any free thinkers. so bust out yout rabbit ears and throw away the digital box. real tv is comming soon

  5. I’ve been holding out hoping they would extend the deadline. We’re in the middle of a serious recession. I know people that can’t even afford enough food to last a month, and are selling their posessions on eBay to pay utility bills and for gasoline. It seems to me that this is the worst time the government could require this. I have 7 analog TV sets. Only one of them even has a coax connector. The rest have 2 screws for the 300 ohm flat lead. I ordered my coupons for converter boxes 2 months ago. I haven’t received anything. It looks like we don’t have any choice. They keep running the propaganda about DTV on local channels several times a day. The senior citizens are really confused about this. I used to repair TV’s back in the 1980′s and still get 3 to 4 calls a month from people that have an old TV in each room and don’t know what to do. I’ve also heard that if you’re in the inner city with a lot of tall buildings around, or in a fringe area out in the country, you may lose your signal altogether, even with the converter box. I read on a tech site that DTV will cut in and out like a cell phone does when it breaks up if you live in these areas. They estimated that as many as 11 million people nationwide will lose their signal. DTV will not go through tall buildings and will not go as far as analog TV does. This is going to be a real problem. The advertisers should be lobbying to extend analog TV at least another 5 years.

  6. I’ve been holding out hoping they would extend the deadline. We’re in the middle of a serious recession. I know people that can’t even afford enough food to last a month, and are selling their posessions on eBay to pay utility bills and for gasoline. It seems to me that this is the worst time the government could require this. I have 7 analog TV sets. Only one of them even has a coax connector. The rest have 2 screws for the 300 ohm flat lead. I ordered my coupons for converter boxes 2 months ago. I haven’t received anything. It looks like we don’t have any choice. They keep running the propaganda about DTV on local channels several times a day. The senior citizens are really confused about this. I used to repair TV’s back in the 1980′s and still get 3 to 4 calls a month from people that have an old TV in each room and don’t know what to do. I’ve also heard that if you’re in the inner city with a lot of tall buildings around, or in a fringe area out in the country, you may lose your signal altogether, even with the converter box. I read on a tech site that DTV will cut in and out like a cell phone does when it breaks up if you live in these areas. They estimated that as many as 11 million people nationwide will lose their signal. DTV will not go through tall buildings and will not go as far as analog TV does. This is going to be a real problem. The advertisers should be lobbying to extend analog TV at least another 5 years.

  7. To those of you in denial, the analog goes out in Feb of next year in the U.S. Period. It only effects antenna/OTA, not cable or sat. reception. Regardless of how old, how much they vote or anything else, this IS going to happen in Feb of next year. Get over it, get used to it and just go get a converter or go without TV, your choice.

  8. To those of you in denial, the analog goes out in Feb of next year in the U.S. Period. It only effects antenna/OTA, not cable or sat. reception. Regardless of how old, how much they vote or anything else, this IS going to happen in Feb of next year. Get over it, get used to it and just go get a converter or go without TV, your choice.

  9. To those of you in denial, the analog goes out in Feb of next year in the U.S. Period. It only effects antenna/OTA, not cable or sat. reception. Regardless of how old, how much they vote or anything else, this IS going to happen in Feb of next year. Get over it, get used to it and just go get a converter or go without TV, your choice.

  10. Funny i remember the exact same thing being said about the anolog mobile phone network and it was turned off leaving us the digital one only and there where heaps of people with the old mobile phone at the time

  11. Funny i remember the exact same thing being said about the anolog mobile phone network and it was turned off leaving us the digital one only and there where heaps of people with the old mobile phone at the time

  12. Has anyone pointed out to you yet that you’re mixing up your ideas about digital signal? HD means high definition. It does NOT mean digital, rather it refers to resolution. So you don’t have to buy a new HDTV, you only have to buy a TV that translates a digital signal. Or get the cheap converter that you’ve already been informed of.

    PLUS, television sets don’t last forever. And if it hasn’t already, analog sets won’t be made anymore. Remember when it happened with cell phones? That wasn’t so bad…

  13. Has anyone pointed out to you yet that you’re mixing up your ideas about digital signal? HD means high definition. It does NOT mean digital, rather it refers to resolution. So you don’t have to buy a new HDTV, you only have to buy a TV that translates a digital signal. Or get the cheap converter that you’ve already been informed of.

    PLUS, television sets don’t last forever. And if it hasn’t already, analog sets won’t be made anymore. Remember when it happened with cell phones? That wasn’t so bad…

  14. When you consider the amount of $$$ spent on advertising in the TV market, it is really hard to believe that that the advertisers would allow such a conversion to take place when so many of us still have analog sets that we use. Yes, I have a digital TV in livingroom and Bedroom. But that’s not really where I watch TV and I know for a fact that my neighbors do the same as I. My TV is in my workshop out back. My neighbors is in his garage. And that’s where we hangout. Most other men can relate I am sure. We have to maintain that bufferzone between us and the wife. BTW.. if the FCC says that the digital convergance is necessary because of interferance with other transmitters (ie cordeless phones, remote controls etc.) then that is truly a bunch of bunk. My career is in electronics and I am a licensed HAM operator. Yes, interferance can be a problem if the two frequencies are on the same band or are close together. Also, that interferance has to do with rated output of the transmitter.. and the type of receiver…. which with a cordless phone or a remote control just isn’t going to happen. The FCC has mandated requirements for these items so that couldn’t even be a viable issue. Also, The UHF & VHF signals that come from the TV stations are much stronger and they ocililate different because it is an audio & video signal. These items just do not compare. I cannot think of one viable reason for rushing into this. Unless of course that they aren’t telling us the whole and complete story.

  15. When you consider the amount of $$$ spent on advertising in the TV market, it is really hard to believe that that the advertisers would allow such a conversion to take place when so many of us still have analog sets that we use. Yes, I have a digital TV in livingroom and Bedroom. But that’s not really where I watch TV and I know for a fact that my neighbors do the same as I. My TV is in my workshop out back. My neighbors is in his garage. And that’s where we hangout. Most other men can relate I am sure. We have to maintain that bufferzone between us and the wife. BTW.. if the FCC says that the digital convergance is necessary because of interferance with other transmitters (ie cordeless phones, remote controls etc.) then that is truly a bunch of bunk. My career is in electronics and I am a licensed HAM operator. Yes, interferance can be a problem if the two frequencies are on the same band or are close together. Also, that interferance has to do with rated output of the transmitter.. and the type of receiver…. which with a cordless phone or a remote control just isn’t going to happen. The FCC has mandated requirements for these items so that couldn’t even be a viable issue. Also, The UHF & VHF signals that come from the TV stations are much stronger and they ocililate different because it is an audio & video signal. These items just do not compare. I cannot think of one viable reason for rushing into this. Unless of course that they aren’t telling us the whole and complete story.

  16. Another thing that is to be taken into concideration is that on the vhf analog channels…. there are a few people out there that have privately purchased their own transmitters and “Have there own network technically” so what then. Transmitting on a VHF frequency is somethig that alot of people including myself know how to do. I use to have a set of rabbit ears and could hear a cordless phone conversation on the right channel and tuned with the tuning knob I had no problem hearing the conversation. I’m sure that on top of the frequencys being used for “Emergency Services” that they will have privacy codes. Still though there are only so many privacy codes you use on lower frequencys like that of VHF. In short the purposes of freeing up these frequencys is far fetched due to the popularity and availibility of products u can either rig up yourself or straight up buy for instance off Ebay and create your own transmission wich in turn would interupt broadcasting for an “emergency frequency” and before I get a so what on the cordless phone thing. I know its a short distance broadcast and wouldnt affect it. However there are plenty of things out there that would affect these frequencys from anywhere 10-100 miles no problem. So what about that. Can the FCC really regulate devices interfearing with frequencys when their origional specifications passed FCC standards?

  17. Another thing that is to be taken into concideration is that on the vhf analog channels…. there are a few people out there that have privately purchased their own transmitters and “Have there own network technically” so what then. Transmitting on a VHF frequency is somethig that alot of people including myself know how to do. I use to have a set of rabbit ears and could hear a cordless phone conversation on the right channel and tuned with the tuning knob I had no problem hearing the conversation. I’m sure that on top of the frequencys being used for “Emergency Services” that they will have privacy codes. Still though there are only so many privacy codes you use on lower frequencys like that of VHF. In short the purposes of freeing up these frequencys is far fetched due to the popularity and availibility of products u can either rig up yourself or straight up buy for instance off Ebay and create your own transmission wich in turn would interupt broadcasting for an “emergency frequency” and before I get a so what on the cordless phone thing. I know its a short distance broadcast and wouldnt affect it. However there are plenty of things out there that would affect these frequencys from anywhere 10-100 miles no problem. So what about that. Can the FCC really regulate devices interfearing with frequencys when their origional specifications passed FCC standards?

  18. You must be smoking crack. Perhaps you haven’t heard of the analog/digital converter box? That’s the alternative to people who do not wish to run out and get a new TV. In fact, the government is offering a $40 voucher toward these converter boxes. Before you go on saying people are smoking crack for living in reality, you should do a little research.

  19. You must be smoking crack. Perhaps you haven’t heard of the analog/digital converter box? That’s the alternative to people who do not wish to run out and get a new TV. In fact, the government is offering a $40 voucher toward these converter boxes. Before you go on saying people are smoking crack for living in reality, you should do a little research.

  20. This sure is a sad thing to hear

    that direct tv will be gone

    so ppl that have just rabbit ears

    there tv wont work, and the ppl

    with older tv’s wont work. does the

    goverment not care about the workin

    poor ppl.

  21. This sure is a sad thing to hear

    that direct tv will be gone

    so ppl that have just rabbit ears

    there tv wont work, and the ppl

    with older tv’s wont work. does the

    goverment not care about the workin

    poor ppl.

  22. Well. Funny that there’s not much mention of quality. Or the government intentionally ‘turning off’ independent broadcasting routes to fulfill their own agenda. The same argument came up on The Reg (theregister.co.uk) the other day. There are a few overwhelming issues here that the layman might miss:

    1) Digital broadcasting can NEVER contend with analog quality. Physical fact. Ask any audiophile what his/her opinion on this matter his and you’ll be fetching your coat.

    2) The government, major comms companies and every other money and power-diffusing network wants to sell you this new technology and will do everything within their (enormous) power to make you believe that you need it.

    3) The annihilation of independent broadcasting.

    Politics aside, give CRT over HD, give me Bitmap over Jpeg, give me AIF over MP3. Oh, and give me 4:3 and not some ridiculously letter-boxed image using 1/3 screen real-estate. Has the world gone mad? That’s rhetorical. I know it has.

    Compress and cut corners all you like. I want good ol’ fashion quality not ‘perceived improvement in quality’.

    @Zap – yes, we do own the airwaves. Sick, and rather sad really isn’t it.

  23. Well. Funny that there’s not much mention of quality. Or the government intentionally ‘turning off’ independent broadcasting routes to fulfill their own agenda. The same argument came up on The Reg (theregister.co.uk) the other day. There are a few overwhelming issues here that the layman might miss:

    1) Digital broadcasting can NEVER contend with analog quality. Physical fact. Ask any audiophile what his/her opinion on this matter his and you’ll be fetching your coat.

    2) The government, major comms companies and every other money and power-diffusing network wants to sell you this new technology and will do everything within their (enormous) power to make you believe that you need it.

    3) The annihilation of independent broadcasting.

    Politics aside, give CRT over HD, give me Bitmap over Jpeg, give me AIF over MP3. Oh, and give me 4:3 and not some ridiculously letter-boxed image using 1/3 screen real-estate. Has the world gone mad? That’s rhetorical. I know it has.

    Compress and cut corners all you like. I want good ol’ fashion quality not ‘perceived improvement in quality’.

    @Zap – yes, we do own the airwaves. Sick, and rather sad really isn’t it.

  24. well after sopranos screwed us on the finale and hope the end of the series lost gets done i wont have a reason to turn on tv. im in a small town so if you dont have cable or satellite you can only get 1 channel with static with an external antenna. ill never change and though i have satellite radio thats up for grabs,with the merge of serius and xm i guess its time to use my brain and read more books.

  25. well after sopranos screwed us on the finale and hope the end of the series lost gets done i wont have a reason to turn on tv. im in a small town so if you dont have cable or satellite you can only get 1 channel with static with an external antenna. ill never change and though i have satellite radio thats up for grabs,with the merge of serius and xm i guess its time to use my brain and read more books.

  26. well after sopranos screwed us on the finale and hope the end of the series lost gets done i wont have a reason to turn on tv. im in a small town so if you dont have cable or satellite you can only get 1 channel with static with an external antenna. ill never change and though i have satellite radio thats up for grabs,with the merge of serius and xm i guess its time to use my brain and read more books.

  27. Converter boxes will be available on Jan 1, 2008, at about $50. With a $40 coupon, that means the net cost is $10.

    The gov’t wants the spectrum for emergency use (read: their bit to respond to 9/11 paranoia), plus the remainder of the spectrum will be autioned off, and that means billions of $$ for the federal budget.

    Analog will go away on Feb 17, 2009, and nothing will stop it. You can bet on it.

  28. Converter boxes will be available on Jan 1, 2008, at about $50. With a $40 coupon, that means the net cost is $10.

    The gov’t wants the spectrum for emergency use (read: their bit to respond to 9/11 paranoia), plus the remainder of the spectrum will be autioned off, and that means billions of $$ for the federal budget.

    Analog will go away on Feb 17, 2009, and nothing will stop it. You can bet on it.

  29. Converter boxes will be available on Jan 1, 2008, at about $50. With a $40 coupon, that means the net cost is $10.

    The gov’t wants the spectrum for emergency use (read: their bit to respond to 9/11 paranoia), plus the remainder of the spectrum will be autioned off, and that means billions of $$ for the federal budget.

    Analog will go away on Feb 17, 2009, and nothing will stop it. You can bet on it.

  30. If you’re out in the boonies, like I almost am, you may not get much digital coverage. For most stations that I know of, the digital signal is on a low-power test transmitter, just so the station can say they have one going. When the analog is shut off, they’ll move the digital signal to the frequency and most of the power of the analog signal (Grade B coverage on ATSC requires less power than NTSC) so basically if you’re getting the analog with at least ITU Grade 3 reception (some snow/ghosting) you’ll get a usable ATSC signal. That means a clear picture, no transmission artifacts (digital pictures get block errors in high noise environments) and roughly-CD-quality sound on standard-definition broadcasts. High-def broadcasts will give you wide-screen pictures and surround sound.

    To give an idea of the improvement, CableOne in Odessa, TX now uses the Fox station’s digital signal for its service on analog cable, and the improvement is massive. Before, we’d get a grade-3 to grade-4 signal; KPEJ’s analog transmitter is about 10 miles north of the head-end, and is rather old equipment, from what I gather. KPEJ’s digital signal originates from the station on the other side of town and prety much covers Odessa; the cable system converts it to NTSC analog, now giving us a grade-5 picture. The only problem is that KPEJ is on permanent 720p output (720 lines, progressive scan and 16:9 aspect) and upconverts their standard-definition programming that originates at the station; to compensate, the cable system now essentially squashes the picture horizontally, so the baseball players look rail-thin, and SD programming passed through from Fox (like 4KidsTV and “The Simpsons” are also squashed with black bars left and right. Despite all that, it’s a big improvement.

    Right now you can go to any nearby Wal-Mart and buy a bedroom-sized digital set for $150 or less. It won’t be a wide-screen high-def thing (it’s essentially your normal tube TV, but with an ATSC receiver), but it will produce a picture from a digital signal, and most also have QAM tuners for unencrypted digital cable if you have such available. I think converter boxes will start hitting the market this holiday season, though the NTIA coupons are not scheduled to be issued until January 1, 2008.

    Too bad it’s still not like in the UK where you can go to the local equivalent of Radio Shack and get a converter box for the equivalent of $60 or less.

  31. If you’re out in the boonies, like I almost am, you may not get much digital coverage. For most stations that I know of, the digital signal is on a low-power test transmitter, just so the station can say they have one going. When the analog is shut off, they’ll move the digital signal to the frequency and most of the power of the analog signal (Grade B coverage on ATSC requires less power than NTSC) so basically if you’re getting the analog with at least ITU Grade 3 reception (some snow/ghosting) you’ll get a usable ATSC signal. That means a clear picture, no transmission artifacts (digital pictures get block errors in high noise environments) and roughly-CD-quality sound on standard-definition broadcasts. High-def broadcasts will give you wide-screen pictures and surround sound.

    To give an idea of the improvement, CableOne in Odessa, TX now uses the Fox station’s digital signal for its service on analog cable, and the improvement is massive. Before, we’d get a grade-3 to grade-4 signal; KPEJ’s analog transmitter is about 10 miles north of the head-end, and is rather old equipment, from what I gather. KPEJ’s digital signal originates from the station on the other side of town and prety much covers Odessa; the cable system converts it to NTSC analog, now giving us a grade-5 picture. The only problem is that KPEJ is on permanent 720p output (720 lines, progressive scan and 16:9 aspect) and upconverts their standard-definition programming that originates at the station; to compensate, the cable system now essentially squashes the picture horizontally, so the baseball players look rail-thin, and SD programming passed through from Fox (like 4KidsTV and “The Simpsons” are also squashed with black bars left and right. Despite all that, it’s a big improvement.

    Right now you can go to any nearby Wal-Mart and buy a bedroom-sized digital set for $150 or less. It won’t be a wide-screen high-def thing (it’s essentially your normal tube TV, but with an ATSC receiver), but it will produce a picture from a digital signal, and most also have QAM tuners for unencrypted digital cable if you have such available. I think converter boxes will start hitting the market this holiday season, though the NTIA coupons are not scheduled to be issued until January 1, 2008.

    Too bad it’s still not like in the UK where you can go to the local equivalent of Radio Shack and get a converter box for the equivalent of $60 or less.

  32. Come on, get out of the 60′s…analog is over..it’s gonna happen. You can sit back with your old analog TV and enjoy snow or you can get off your butt and go out and get a digital set. This is a great opportuinity to dump cable and satellite. Most markets will be providing more choices so why do you need to be paying $80 plus for channels you don’t watch. Let’s teach cable and satellite a lesson.
    Come on, we own the airwaves so let’s use them..

  33. Come on, get out of the 60′s…analog is over..it’s gonna happen. You can sit back with your old analog TV and enjoy snow or you can get off your butt and go out and get a digital set. This is a great opportuinity to dump cable and satellite. Most markets will be providing more choices so why do you need to be paying $80 plus for channels you don’t watch. Let’s teach cable and satellite a lesson.
    Come on, we own the airwaves so let’s use them..

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