RIP Analog TV
In case you missed it, on June 12th all televisions stations in the USA finally switched from analog signals to digital. As expected, there was a lot of last minute chaos as people suddenly faced with no more waiting time flooded government offices with requests for discount coupons or help desk assistance.
For most of the population not located near major cities and use to receiving a weak signal, this will seem like a bad idea. Instead of being able to watch their slightly snowy picture, they will get nothing at all or a picture that keeps cutting out. Digital signals are either received well enough to produce a picture, or there is no picture at all. Gone are the days when an unusual weather front caused excitement by allowing you to receive channels you never saw before from 3 states away. And those old crystal radio projects won’t pick up the audio from TV channel 8 anymore either. No matter how you look at it, this is an historical event.
The largely unanswered question is what about the emergency broadcast systems? The government pushed for this change in order to make money from the sale of the frequency spectrum. Will we eventually start hearing about a need for funds to upgrade all the emergency broadcast equipment? Emergency systems tend to be analog, because analog signals are simple and carry the furthest. Nature is analog, as are human eyes and ears. Until the human brain can be directly plugged in, you need to convert digital data to analog signals in order to be viewed or heard by people. Analog equipment is also less vulnerable to some of the situations that may exist in a national emergency, such electromagnetic pulses, radiation, static electricity, extreme temperatures, etc. Everyone’s those old portable TVs that run on batteries are now headed for the landfill – if you don’t have the AC to operate a TV you also don’t have it to operate a converter.
Sounds like there might be a market for battery operated converter boxes.