US Switches to DTV Today: Digital TV Replaces Rabbit Ears
The US has made the switch to digital TV. For most viewers, the changeover was seamless, but for those with older televisions or no cable service, the DTV switchover will require additional hardware. Goodbye, rabbit ears. Televisions manufactured before 1998 are analog, while those built between 1998 and 2004 may already have digital converters buit-in.
Find out if your set is OK... or just switch it on and see if you can see Hogan's Heroes reruns or not.
For broadcasting companies, whose ad sales depend on as many people watching their shows as possible, this is a big issue: over 2 million Americans are not DTV-ready. While the impending switch has been a factor in driving sales of newer televisions, lower-income families will not be making such purchases, and so will either buy a converter box for $40-70 (for which the US government is supplying vouchers), or at least temporarily stop watching TV.
At the time of this writing, the government DTV site is slammed.
Note that these converter boxes do not have multiple outputs, so, if you have two old television sets, you'll need two separate converter boxes.
Those households -- Nielsen Co. estimates about 2.8 million homes still aren't ready for the transition, while the National Association of Broadcasters says it's more like 2.1 million -- will then become the focus of a scramble by broadcast stations, cable operators, satellite providers, telecommunications companies, retailers and policymakers to get them back to watching TV.
Canada is not far behind, planning a DTV switchover of its own, set to take effect in 2011.
For some Canadians, however — those who live in small towns and who use an antenna TV — the shutdown of analog TV signals in 2011 could mean that they lose some channels altogether.