Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The end of analog TV?

December 31, 2006. . .unless Congress does something.

That's the date Congress established in 1996 for a complete switch to High Definition Television. Expectations were that consumers would buy new sets with digital tuners and analog signals would no longer be necessary. Those expectations were wrong.

Broadcasters did not leap at the opportunity to spend millions of dollars converting stations to digital. Manufacturers did not manufacture digital receivers other than big-screen, high-priced units. In fact, under current law all sets won’t have digital tuners until 2007.

Congress can ignore the end-of-2006 cut-off if fewer than 85 percent of households have digital television sets. But will it? Will the viewing public stand for all those analog television sets becoming obsolete instantly?

Michael Rogers has written an interesting article about the dilemma over on MSBBC.