Despite Congress’ move to delay the digital TV transition, some stations start today
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Tue, 02/17/2009 – 9:57am
If you are one of the 6.5 million people (or 5.8 million) who still rely on an antenna, today was supposed to be the day you were supposed to fear: the day analog TV signals disappeared.
You probably read in the news that Congress delayed the date until June 12 in the hopes of getting more coupons into households that still need them. And the stimulus package, which President Barack Obama will sign today in Denver, contains more funds for the coupon program.
However, in many markets throughout the country, today is D-Day. Turns out a lot of media markets are going to turn off some or all of their analog signals — today.
Actually, about 200 stations, have already made the transition to digital TV, including stations in Hawai’i, Wilmington, NC, and Chico-Redding, CA. About 500 more stations are planning to turn off their analog transmitters today.
The extension allows stations to wait until June 12 but doesn’t require them to stick to that date.
Some markets, such as South Bend, IN and Dayton, OH, will see analog signals virtually disappear, though low-power stations can still be watched even without a converter box.
The move en masse by television stations might help Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress. Splitting the anxiety into two parts can make the situation easier to manage. Plus, stations that don’t make the move now can learn from the mistakes of the stations that are making the move. Or it could speed up sales of digital TVs, which could help service jobs, though the U.S. doesn’t make TVs anymore.
Will there be a lot of screaming and yelling? We are about to find out.