Sunday, 29 July 2007, 20:21:45 EDT
Since 1941, broadcast television signals in the United States have been the same. If the law holds, this should change come February 18, 2009. When that date arrives, all analog television signals are supposed to stop broadcasting. If you don't have an ATSC tuner, and rely on Over-the-Air (OTA) signals for television, you will not be receiving any television.
Of course, that is only if the law doesn't change — again. Analog broadcasts should already be off the air, but the date has been pushed back at least twice. Now the AARP is getting involved. According to this story the AARP has testified before Congress that the changeover will cause mass confusion, and upset many people in the largest voting voting population in the country. I agree with the testimony, but I don't think the date should be changed.
Something has to give. In January of this year I purchased a television with an ATSC tuner. The digital signal alone amazing, and the High Definition (HD) content is even better. Unlike analog television, the picture is crystal clear. If you are receiving a strong enough signal, you get perfectly clear video and audio. I'll elaborate more on reception and signal strength in a later post.
I think the AARP should try to educate their members instead of fighting to keep the status quo in place. I understand very well how complicated new technology can be for the elderly. But I also know how much it can improve their quality of life. As the article mentions, the elderly watch a helluva lot of television. Fighting with the rabbit ears to get a clearer picture can be just as frustrating as installing an ATSC tuner or buying a new television. The latter two only have to be done once. After that, you fiddle with the rabbit ears until you get a reception. Then you forget about it. You don't have to try and improve the reception by searching for a better antenna position.
I will be writing my congressman to express my opinion to him. I'll also be writing some more about HDTV here.