Ah J asked in Consumer ElectronicsTVs · 1 decade ago

Feb, 17, 2009.....Analog to Digital?

On Feb. 17, 2009, analog TV's will be rendered useless. Owners of this type of TV will have to use a converter box to pick up cable television.

Do you think this is really an "advancement" of cable, or a ploy by cable companies to make yet MORE money off of their subscribers?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    >On Feb. 17, 2009, analog TVs will be rendered useless.

    This is not true.

    After 2/17/09 cable/sat customers will still get analog signals. The 2/17/09 date only applies to over-the-air (OTA) signals you receive through a conventional antenna.

    People using analog TVs after the cut off date can still use them. All they need is a converter box; and after the government starts handing out $40 off coupons on 1/1/08, they should cost about $20. There are also DVD recorders with digital (ATSC) tuners available starting at $145 at Walmart that will give the same capabilities as an old time (~1990) VCR.

    >Do you think this is really an "advancement

    Of course. The current (analog) standard is based on 1940's technology. Electronics technology has advanced considerably since the days when computers with the calculating power of a $5 calculator were the size of a large room and required enough power to light a small town.

    Using a converter box, most people with analog TVs with be getting the best signals their old TVs have ever seen.

    > a ploy by cable companies to make yet MORE money

    Cable companies are not making money off of this. It's the US government that plans on "making" money off of this by selling some of the channels. Supposed to reduce the deficit...

    Ha Ha HA....

  • 1 decade ago

    It's not cable... it's the FCC mandating the switch.

    Frankly, this was supposed to happen YEARS ago, but the FCC continued to put if off because local stations were too cheap to buy HD equipment, and HDTVs were too expensive for the mass public (but really, look at how much a TV cost in today's dollars in the 50s... it's just that SDTVs have become very cheap).

    (For example, a 24" Magnavox in the 50s cost $249... that's worth $1800 in today's dollars! And you can get a heckuva better TV than that today for $1800!)

    It's essential to do this, because VHF and UHF signals are bandwidth hogs -- you can't get very much signal over the air in the bandwidth assigned for over the air TVs. To free up the spectrum for other digital uses (look at how much wireless stuff we have) the analog signals need to be shut down.

    Think of it this way -- what technology still runs exactly the same way it did in the 1950s? Cars now run on unleaded gas and have computers to control everything. Could you imagine someone saying "well, it's great that there's a computer that is so small it fits on my desktop, but I don't want to use it because all of those punchcard programs I wrote in college won't work with it!"

    Technology changes, and once in a while, there needs to be definite lines in the sand where either the industry or the government says "we can't be backward compatible anymore."

    Consumers have known about this for DECADES. I was in college, in the late 90s, when the first announcements were made. If people saved $10 a month, with no interest, from the time when the FCC announced that it would be moving to an all-digital signal, you'd have more than enough money to buy a high quality HDTV.

  • 1 decade ago

    Wait a min, over here in the UK you get 4 analog channels (5 if you are lucky) on a standard TV. If you buy a Freeview box (digital to analog converter box) you get 40 channels (including all the analog ones) in digital quality, or you can get a Tv with freeview built in which is the same. Lastly you can go Sky (Satellite) or Virgin (Cable) to get even more channels. Basically were are going through the same thing but we are not moaning, so get a box and get the benefits. Simple

    Source(s): The BBC, ITV and Digital UK.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think it is to get rid of cable companies ( an idea I like). By switching to a digital format people will be able to get rid of there cable , the number one reason for a person to subscribe to cable is poor signal quality otherwise. Cable has not upgraded it infrastructure as much as it should have, some since it was first installed.

    The prevalence of a cable or sat provider in the majority of American homes says to the power that be the quality is important to us consumers.

    The fact that crotchety old granny doesn't want to buy a new and improved set is just plain old stubbornness.

    You also give some FALSE information, The only people who will be forced to get a new box ( estimated retail under $50) are people who don't use cable or Sat.

    The cable or Sat providers will be able to switch out for the proper box. Now if you think they are charging to much for this service, then vote with your feet and get sat.

    The facts remain it is not that expensive or hard to be compliant with ATSC. Just remember you don't have to watch TV at all.

    Source(s): MSEE
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  • Phade3
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Technically, all televisons networks including the standard networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW etc, have been broadcasting in high definition (digital) for a few years now.

    As you said, people who will still have analog sets come February 17, 2009 will need a converter box in order to receive the digital signal and that's not only for cable but regular tv broadcasts as well. You don't necessarily need to subscribe to cable tv's high definition service unless you truly want to see cable programs broadcast in high def.

    While cable will benefit from the switch from analog to digital, the above mentioned networks will be broadcasting in digital for FREE as long as you have hdtv or a converter for your analog tv set. For some people, this change will no doubt add a burden to any family that is strapped financially as most households as of now do not have digital tv sets in their home.

    I can tell you this, if you haven't seen any tv program broadcast in high definition, you are missing out on something wonderful. The picture is so crystal clear it's unbelievable. You'll see things you never seen in analog broadcasts.

  • 1 decade ago

    Read the facts:


    The switch is to allow channels 52 through 69 to be reassigned for emergency use (primary reason Congress passed the law) and maybe for more cell phone frequencies (reason why the Clinton Administration passed the law, to reduce the national debt through frequency auctions). HDTV and DTV with clear pictures for people with antennas is just an added benefit. The hardest thing is convincing people to use the converter boxes if all they have is an antenna. Cable and satellite will likely not change their equipment until most TV sets in use are digital only.

    Source(s): http://www.dtv.gov/ I am a broadcast engineer
  • 1 decade ago

    Right now, I have digital service through Comcast, and it's TERRIBLE! The digital boxes we use have a 2 to 3 year shelf life, then they die and have to be replaced. The digital service itself is usually pixelated or non existent. The down time is ridiculous! If the quality of digital stays the way it is right now, I see the complaint rate going sky high on Feb 18, 2009.

    The cable companies are going to make a fortune with this ploy!

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