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The beginning of the end for analog TV

Evan Blass
March 2, 2007
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Certain days in history are remembered generations later: July 4th, 1776; February 3rd, 1959; May 20th, 1993. Well you can add March 1st, 2007 to that list, because that is the day future gadgetheads will look back upon as the beginning of the end for analog TV. Couch potatoes have been enjoying over-the-air analog broadcasts since 1946 -- whiling away the hours with Jack Benny, Roy Rogers, and Howdy Doody -- and will continue doing so until February 17th, 2009 (717 days, 11 hours, 13 minutes, and 49 seconds from the time of this writing, according to a handy countdown timer on the new DTV Transition site). So while you'll be able to catch analog CSI for a few more years, it's going to be harder and harder to find a new set that actually supports the NTSC standard: that's where March 1st comes in. As of yesterday, federal law mandates that all 13-inch-and-above TVs sold in the US must sport a fancy new ATSC digital tuner -- although according to the Washington Post, many retailers haven't exactly been quick to ensure compliance. Just go into any of the big box stores and see if they're all stocked up on new sets; chances are most of the employees haven't even heard about this changeover, or even possess the knowledge to direct you to the proper equipment. Still, nothing's gonna stop the analog signals from going dark in February 2009, so despite the slow start, we're pretty confident that most stores / websites will get their game together eventually. And if not, there's always the small chance that analog will make a comeback -- hey, you never know.

[Thanks Steve M.]



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