America is going digital today

by reynz on June 12, 2009

A different kind of Independence Day

Today, Friday in America, is a big day. This is the day that the switch to digital TV, or DTV is going to happen. It will start at 12:01 a.m. Friday. Around that time, 974 full-power stations that cover major markets such as New York and Los Angeles will start shutting down analog signals. The transition is expected to be done by midnight.


Just one very minor problem gramma!!

About 3.1 million over-the-air homes won’t be ready, Nielsen predicts. Aguy! Hahaha! But hey! Just like any conversion, no matter how many Implementation Managers you have around, sometimes, there always is a problem. But we will know if America cries about this conversion starting tomorrow. Whatever hiccups? They better fix it before the Monday Night Football. Trust me on this one, you better let the Americans watch their football! That’s their religion here.

Why the switch?

Analog TV signals occupy a big chunk of the spectrum. Digital television, which also is broadcast through the air, occupies about 25 percent less space on the spectrum than analog — and offers more services.

According to techno-geeks:

Digital signal is more concise. It’s a crisp signal and also has the ability to be high-definition with surround-sound encoded into it. It has the ability to be smarter, so it has more functions.”

Money to the government

The analog space — owned by the federal government and leased to TV stations through license fees — is considered the “beachfront property” of the spectrum worth several billion dollars. With the switch to digital, the space freed up by the unused analog signals will be returned to the federal government and auctioned off to new providers and services, according to Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

What’s going to happen?

TV stations will shut off analog signals today. So, those TV without a digital tuner, called an ATSC tuner, will not receive programming. TV sets sold after March 2007 comes equipped with a digital tuner, so they’re ready for today’s change. Those older than that probably don’t have one.

Why do I care?

To Filipino-Americans around, you better. Tapos na ang de-padyak TV. Else, you’d be staring at a blank monitor. Wag mo syang kalugin, ain’t gonna work. If you are hooked up to cable or a satellite service, sit back and relax because they’re the ones who will make sure that you’ll receive the latest digital service. These cable companies will take the necessary steps and transmit the correct signals to you.

What do I do now?

You have three choices:

  • Subscribe to Barrio Siete feeds cable or satellite. It’s the costliest option, but the easiest since equipment will be installed for you. It also might take a few days to schedule.
  • Buy a new television. All televisions sold now have a built-in digital tuner. Most will also offer a high-definition picture, taking advantage of the sharper images being broadcast for free.
  • Get a converter box. They are sold at most electronics stores. Most come complete with the necessary cable and are relatively easy to install.

For more information:

  1. What you need to know about the Digital TV transition.
  2. Digital Television
  3. Television is Going Digital: Get the Picture
  4. Digital TV transition