Digital Deadline: U.S. Stations Prepare Viewers for Analog Shutdown

Less than two years from now, U.S. analog TV is supposed to be history. Several newspapers and TV stations used the mandated Feb. 17, 2007 date to explain the analog shutdown to readers and viewers. Stories at two stations stood out because of their local content. WRCB-TV, Channel 3 in Chattanooga, Tenn., owned by Sarkes Tarzian, carried the story "Eyewitness Extra: Digital Dilemma."

The piece begins by warning: "Most of you watching this story right now are doing so on television sets that will be 'obsolete' for over-the-air viewing." The story describes WRCB's DTV transmission and shows its digital antenna, which it notes delivers the same programming "through a much cleaner, distortion-free digital signal on digital channel-3." The story includes comments from local retailers. In addition to a text story, the piece has a link to a video of the story.

KTVZ, "News Channel 21" in Bend, Ore. carried a story from Joe Donlon at KGW in Portland, Ore. The article, "Two Years from 'the day TV dies'" says, "On Feb. 17, 2009 every analog television set in the country, possibly as many of 40 million of them, will be nothing more than oversized paperweights. And very few people know it." Later in the article, it quotes David Olson, cable director for the City of Portland, adding that with a converter box, "your analog TV is going to work fine." The article says that one local retailer doesn't even sell analog televisions any more. The story ends by offering some suggestions for viewers. While this story originated at KGW, I linked to the KTVZ story, as it does not require registration before viewing it.

Im sure we'll see many more stories like this on Feb. 17, 2008!