Tuesday, February 17, 2009

DTV Transition

This is a public service announcement
The problem is multifaceted. For some of America, analog television is already gone. For other parts of America it only has a few hours to live. And for most of the rest of us... nobody really knows. Until 02.13.09, only a few days ago, the deadline for cessation of analog television broadcasting was assumed to be 11:00 PM EST on February 17th. You may have heard that has changed.

The result is messy. Some parts of the country have already made the conversion. The metro of Wilmington, NC converted at noon on September 8th last year. In Hawaii, the transition already happened at noon on January 15th. Many stations, who had already prepared to flip the switch tonight, appealed to the FCC to stick with today. So far over 120 stations have been given the OK to do so. The FCC [posted a list here. But it's not that simple...

Some border stations have been given special dispensation to have earlier and later dates. KPBS-TV in San Diego is scheduled for March 31st. There are certainly more stations that will drop analog quietly. Gray Television in Atlanta despite the clear and obvious phrasing of the original 11:00 deadline already flipped some of it's stations because their lawyers interpreted the rules to mean they should has analog off the air by the 17th. Which is not what the FCC said at all. But no one advocates they flip back. That'd be even more confusing. To add to the confusion, other sources put that same deadline as 11:59:59 PM. I'll admit there was a certain lack of detail.

Will your "rabbit ears" TV antenna work tomorrow? Who knows?