This deadline just kind of snuck up on everyone. We have already noticed that most 27-inch TVs and larger have digital tuners in them but now it is the law. Any 25-inch and larger TV manufactured after July 1, 2006 and sold in the United States must have an ATSC tuner in them. Next year the deadline is going to be for TVs 13-inches and bigger. Why you ask. Well, the folks on the FCC board are not that bad 'cause they had the consumer in mind (for once) with this mandate. The analog broadcast switch off of February 17, 2009 is just right around the corner and they don't want recently purchased TVs not to work. Don't forget that this is only going to affect people that use an antenna to pull in the signals. Cable and satellite will not be directly affected by this.
So the moral of the story is that if you use an antenna and are shopping for a new TV, make sure you are buying one with an ATSC tuner in it. If you need a smaller one, you might want to wait till next year otherwise you are going to have a nice little set-top box sitting next to that new TV in a few years.