June 12, 2009

The end of analog (part 4)

I turned off the DTV converter to watch it live! KUED (PBS 7 and UEN 9) pulled the plug at 10:00 AM (MDT). No fanfare, straight to snow. Gee whiz, if you haven't figured it out by now, it's time for some reality therapy.

KBYU (BYU 11) ran a crawl until 12:30 PM, and then preceded the cutoff with a retrospective on the station's beginnings, including a tip of the hat to Utah native and pioneering television inventor, Philo Farnsworth.

Then they cut to the control room and the current station manager and the very first KBYU station manager threw the switch together. It was a classy send-off.

By 1:00 PM (MDT) the only remaining signal was from a low-power UHF Spanish-language station. But an hour later, KSL (NBC 5) came back on the air running "Hey, where'd my TV go?" infomercials for the clueless.

Still, it's kinda weird flipping through the channels and seeing nothing but empty-channel static. Like a scene out of one of those end-of-the-world movies.

To be sure, it's not exactly the end of analog. The audiophiles have their vinyl and turntables, and FM and AM are going to be around for a while. FM is slowly drifting towards digital, but AM should stay analog forever.

You know, just in case the aliens and robots invade and the last remaining humans are forced to band together around their shortwave sets.

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# posted by Anonymous bowler
6/13/2009 12:22 AM   
another solution to the digital switchover, if it's an issue for anybody, is to watch TV on the internet
# posted by Blogger Coffinberry
6/13/2009 8:55 AM   
Doesn't that solution presume that everyone can afford and has access to the internet? (I don't think so)
# posted by Blogger Eugene
6/13/2009 10:58 AM   
As the technology stands now, I'm not a big fan of Internet TV for reasons I discuss here and here. I agree with my brother that once fiber reaches the home in sufficient numbers, the distinction between the "Internet" (delivery mechanism) and "TV" will largely disappear.

Though I have to wonder instead about the feasibility of equipping those ubiquitous cell phone towers with low-power digital UHF/WiMAX relays (I can see one from my living room window). It must be cheaper than replacing all that buried copper.