Analog Shut Down
The Analog Shutdown (also known as "the shutdown") is an historic first in the world of telecommunications, an industry-supported, nation-wide shutdown of service. A true Analog Shutdown (conversion) means that all classes of Analog signals will simultaneously be shut off and analog operations will be ceased by all major players in the market indefinitely. The shutdown is in favor of Digital transmission technologies, which purportedly promise better reliability, clearer and more definition picture, and (perhaps most importantly to the networks and government alike) better traceability and regulatory control capabilities.
Significance of the Shutdown
This is a significant event, as it means that Television sets which are only capable of receiving Analog signals will effectively become incapable of receiving broadcast television. Since roughly 11% of Americans (or 23 million adults) <ref>NetworkWorld, "Analog-to-digital TV change mystifies most adults: Consumer Reports": http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/24514</ref> still own only an Analog set-top box and/or Television set, Government subsidies worth over $750 Million USD in the US alone <ref>Diane Mermigas, The Hollywood Reporter. "Too many DTV players still sitting on bench": http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001572011</ref> have been set aside to ease the pain of the nationwide shutdown.
It also marks the first mandatory communications switch of this type in the US, and some question the motives of the forced shutdown.<ref>"The Analog Shutdown and Broadcast Flag: The Government Decides": http://dtv.broadcastnewsroom.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=38809</ref>
It is still hard to tell exactly what the environmental implications of the shutdown will be, however environmental scientists have projected that it could be quite large, unless the government devises better techniques for recycling and disposing of the old Analog TV sets that are surely to be discarded en masse.
How to switch to Digital
There are a number of ways to make the switch to Digital, not all of which involve buying a brand new HD Television. If you currently own an Analog Television and want to make sure your set is compatible with the shutdown to avoid a loss of service, you should:
- You can purchase a small, relatively cheap external Analog-to-DTV converter and have it connected your existing Analog Television.
- You can purchase a Digital Cable set-top box from one of your local cable service providers with its own built-in Digital converter
- You can have a special Analog-to-DTV converter chip put in to replace the existing Analog-only picture tubes (warning: may be just as costly as buying a new TV)
Of course, the alternative being pushed by the HD Television manufacturers, content producers and goverment alike all seem to be "purchase an expensive new HD TV", however this is not necessarily an option for many of those involved. If you do purchase a new TV though, be sure to check with your local and state/federal governments first to find out if you qualify for the government subsidies.
- Canada’s Transition to Digital Television (DTV): http://digitaltv.gc.ca/
- wikipedia: Analog shutdown
- wikipedia: Analog-to-digital timeline
- wikipedia: High-definition television in the United States
- wikipedia: Analog television
- wikipedia: Digital television
- Engaget's the end of the network debate about the 2009 U.S. Analog Shutdown date 
- Engaget's Coverage of the Finalization of the U.S. Analog Shutdown date 
- CNET News FAQ - What does the digital-TV switch actually mean? 
- How TV's switch to Digital will affect you 
- Discussion about the Effects on Canadian digital OTA of US analog shutdown 
- DTV Answers, How-To Switch 
- Analog Shutdowns kill Free Mobile TV (in North America): http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080817/ap_on_hi_te/tec_free_mobile_tv_2
- 10 Tips For Switching To Digital TV: http://www.forbes.com/2008/12/04/digital-tv-switch-tech-personal-cx_mpb_1204digitaltv_slide.html?partner=links
- TV rabbit ears set to go way of the dodo: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/front/article/1372456
- TVfool, "The Analog Shutdown, For Better or Worse": http://www.tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=50
- David B. Liroff, Public Television Programmers Association. "The Analog Shutdown - An Alternative Scenario": http://technology360.typepad.com/070524-PTPA-Analog-Shutdown-Presentation.pdf
- Computer World, "Digital TV transition faces challenges, lawmaker warns": http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=mobile_and_wireless&articleId=9074758&taxonomyId=15&intsrc=kc_top