Last One Out Turn Off the Lights

June 11, 2009

antennaThis Friday marks the end of analog television (knock on wood) yet according to CNET news some 2.8 million people aren’t ready. This would be the same analog cut-off date that was delayed more times than I can remember, the one with reminders scrolled across the bottom of thousands of hours of programming and the same one first announced in 1996.

If anyone can honestly claim they didn’t know abut the transition I’m not sure all the time in the world would have made a difference, much less a few more months.

Here’s the kicker though, after all the hubbub, delays and talk of the final shut off date, many of those who would presumably be hardest hit by the shutoff; (read those in rural areas) likely won’t see the end of analog TV for months if not years longer.

There’s a little known clause in the transition legislation that waives so called LPTV (low-power television) stations from the June 12th cut off date. The LPTV stations are often re-broadcasters and or local programming providers outside of major metropolitan areas. But again, in all honesty if the transition does catch someone by surprise I cant imagine another few months or even a few more years making a difference.

I wish I could say the transition will make an immediate difference for the rest of us who have been ready and waiting, the simple truth of the matter is the transition itself doesn’t necessarily equate to more high definition programming. Remember analog source can still be upconverted and transmitted digitally and given the current economic realities I expect to see that very thing happen for some time to come.

On the bright side however we should at least see less programming shot in standard-def as replacing and maintaining that equipment becomes harder and harder as we move farther from the cut-off date. Now if we could just get ‘Three Sheets’ back on a HD network and G4 would start broadcasting in HD (irony) all would be well in my high definition world.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under HDTV Programming