Broadband Users are Better Prepared for Digital Transition
Those with analog don't know they need to switch
by KathrynV 10:17AM Saturday Dec 29 2007
February 17, 2009. That date is burned into the brains of the many people who read technology news since the media is trying to raise awareness of the fact that the analog-to-digital transition will take place on that day. However, many people
remain unaware of how the transition is going to affect them. In fact, a recent survey
found that only about a third of U.S. households were prepared for the switch. What the survey (and others like it) also found was that homes with better connections - broadband and digital cable – are more likely than other households to be aware of the impending transition. This seems to defeat the purpose of raising awareness since it seems that the people who are most likely to be affected are the ones who are most likely to need the information. Awareness of the problem appears to be the leading factor in the decision to make the switch.
74 comments .. click to read
Experience doing DTV Research
Ive been trying to stay on top of this issue as we are in a fringe region and currently use over the air (OTA) antenna. Even being rather diligent I find the task daunting. Besides the 2009 transition a lot of other stuff is changing in the TV world.
I have been aware of the 2/17/2009 date for a long time but until recently (last night actually) was not aware that in addition to analog going away some DTV stations will move to different channels. This is because once simulcast analog (NTSC) and digital (ATSC) is no longer required the freed up analog channels become available. After transition OTA TV will use channels 2-51 (VHF/UHF). Channels 52 and above will be used for other purposes. That has profound impact on me because currently all DTV station are UHF. Living in southern NH we get reception from both MA (Boston) and local NH stations. We use a rotor to select stations. That is inconvenient with multiple TVs and with advent of DTV cannot tune to least snow, either get a picture or not.
I planned on installing dual UHF antennas eliminating need for rotor. That plan is not feasible knowing I need both VHF and UHF capability.
Cable and Satellite are possible options but I have not heard many positive reports about Cables delivery of DTV. Cablecos are bandwidth challenged and in trying to squeeze as many channels as possible overly compress video creating distracting artifacts. In addition for limited amount of TV we watch both are rather expensive. Wouldnt mind paying monthly fee if it eliminated commercials but still have to deal with a significant portion of each show given over to commercials unless we record program. Lastly it means having a big Set-top-Box at each location.
Purchased a new desktop for my daughter that includes a DTV/FM tuner. Did this specifically to experiment with DTV reception in advance of change over. At first though we were unable to receive any DTV OTA until we realized the new card was very different from old one. It has separate analog and digital tuners. Once we figured that out were surprised being able to receive some DTV OTA stations.
We have old CRT based TVs so now is a good time to replace them with a flat panel TVs. That market is also in transition. Prices are falling; resolutions and refresh rates are increasing. In addition the A/V world seems to be standardizing on HDMI as preferred interconnect. This purchase is also taking a lot of time to research.
The benefit of high resolution TVs cannot be fully exploited with current NTSC DVD players/recorders. Unfortunately there is a format war going on for next generation DVD between HD-DVD and BluRay. That is unfortunate.
So for someone to be an educated TV customer they need to:
1)Understand impact of 2/17/2009 analog OTA go dark date.
2)Understand what if anything Cable provider will do (they too would like to get rid of analog).
3)Investigate possibility of combining OTA with Cable or Sat
4)Investigate getting converter box or new TV(s).
5)Investigate getting new DVD player to take advantage of High Defination TV.
That is a lot to do. As with any conversion of this magnitude there will be lots of hiccups along the way.
fixed a bunch of typos
Radio shack has good Q&A and links for digital conversion
Everyone can apply for 2 free $40 coupons towards the purchase of converter boxes beginning Jan 1, 2008. I have read that these boxes will mostly likely be had for approx $60 or a little less. LG has announced a $60 version. Here is the info:
Starting January 1, 2008, all U.S. households will be eligible to request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes. For more details on the federal regulations, including the budget information, please the DTV Converter Box Coupon Program Rules.
You can apply on the web or by phone:
For more information on the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program, visit the NTIAs website at www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon, or call 1-888-388-2009 (voice) or 1-877-530-2634 (TTY).
You can apply online for the coupons at this address: