Sunday, June 14, 2009

Analog to Digital Conversion, Part 1

So the Great Conversion from analog broadcasting to digital signals has occurred. Out of a sense of perverse curiosity I watched it happen Friday night. I tuned in at about 11:49 and expected to see some kind of tribute on Nightline or something to the passing era of analog broadcasts, the days when one could just buy a TV, plug it in, turn it on, and get all the information in the world for free. Perhaps they would give a more in-depth explanation for the treason for the change-over (“digital TV is so much better” just never quite rang true for me). Instead I saw that Channels 7 (ABC) and 13 (PBS) were already dead, 2 (CBS) and 4 (NBC) were playing a loop about what to do if you were still “seeing this message” (watching analog TV), 5 (Fox) was playing “The Simpsons,” 9 (My9) was showing “Law and Order,” and 11 (CW) was showing “Friends.” Most of the UHF channels were still active too, but some had shut off already.

The “The Simpsons” ended and in the middle of the credits, with no fanfare, or explanation, BLINK! It all went off. I quickly switched to the onher channels. Before long, they all were off except 17 (GCN), 35 (The Jared Whittaker Channel) and 60 (a home shopping channel). I actually got to see channel 47 blink off as well.

My friend Fred says this feels like a sign of the Zombie Apocalypse.

More to come...

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