Do not adjust your television set.

Widespread panic and confusion has been predicted by major media outlets as all analog televisions in the United States stop working today.

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Comments

  1. #1 Jason Thibeault
    June 12, 2009

    So this is how the end times begins.

    I haven’t had teevee except for DVDs and my Wii for almost a year now. I’m not hurting from it.

  2. #2 NewEnglandBob
    June 12, 2009

    Correction: analog TVs are working just fine today, as they have any other day. The signals have been changed, so now they mostly receive the CMB.

  3. #3 CyberLizard
    June 12, 2009

    OMG, it’s Y2K all over again! Head for teh bunkers!

  4. #4 Stephanie Z
    June 12, 2009

    Yeah, but Jason, that’s Canadian television. I mean….

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    June 12, 2009

    I had assumed the Canadiois had gone digital eons ago.

  6. #6 Jason Thibeault
    June 12, 2009

    If you can still read this, knowing that the nuclear holocaust has already begun, please grab all the Cram and Stimpacks you can and head into your nearest Vault-Tek Vault ASAP. Bring weaponry and if you have room and time, your favorite 1950s albums.

    Les Canadiennes are scheduled to go digital Aug. 21, 2011. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/06/01/f-digital-tv-transition.html

    And yeah, Canuck TV is mostly rebroadcasting of American content, with Canadian news and a few original Canadian programs now and then. Ergo, mostly suck.

  7. #7 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 12, 2009

    If you can still read this, knowing that the nuclear holocaust has already begun, please grab all the Cram and Stimpacks you can and head into your nearest Vault-Tek Vault ASAP. Bring weaponry and if you have room and time, your favorite 1950s albums.

    And please be conscious of the Fallout.

  8. #8 Jason Thibeault
    June 12, 2009

    Reverend, I respect your positions, and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  9. #9 Albatross
    June 12, 2009

    As ripe as this topic is for comedy, it’s also a tragedy. Like cattle in a chute, we’re being funneled into the subscription TV industry.

    There are three crimes happening here. First, the public airwaves are being given away to the cell phone industry without regard to the value lost to the general public. The EM spectrum is a limited public resource, but little or no public awareness of what has been happening has been promoted. Where are the discussions about what public resources are? Where are the debates about whether we want to turn the airwaves over to the phone companies, and whether or not we’re receiving appropriate payment for doing so?

    The airwaves are being handed over for a pittance, in an agreement which depends upon the public remaining ignorant.

    The second crime is that a valuable communication tool is being scrapped. Commercially paid analog television may be the modern equivalent of the Roman circuses, but it also has featured countless hours of publically beneficial broadcast, from Sesame Street through your local news, while there has certainly been a lot of junk on TV, it has also been an important public communications tool.

    By restricting TV to only those with the wherewithal and skills to either purchase a new digital TV or upgrade their old one, the poor, the elderly, and the mentally challenged are excluded from the most ubiquitous form of public communications.

    The third and final crime is that we are all being set up. Analog broadcast is a fire-and-forget service – once the signal has left the antenna, there’s nothing that can easily be done to control it. Digital is different. The first step is, they put you on digital: the second step is, they encrypt the digital signal.

    The ramifications of digitized broadcasts are profound. First, they can control whether or not you can see a broadcast – certainly then they can charge you for it, but they can also monitor your viewing by monitoring the distribution of encryption keys used to decode the signal Do YOU know what your TV decoder box does? Second, watching broadcast television can now be criminalized. Previously the pay TV was running on private infrastructure (cables, satellites), but whatever you could pull in with your antenna was yours.

    But now you can’t count on that. Now television broadcast over the public airwaves can be restricted to private companies. And if you dare watch something being broadcast encrypted over your airwaves without paying for the decryption key, and they detect this, then you can be charged.

    This switch to digital broadcast TV is the end of an era, and another step in the continuing corporatization of public resources. The wealthy will get very wealthy off of this transition, while the poor lose free, confidential broadcast television. Eventually, all broadcast television can be fee based and protected from you and I by criminal penalties…

  10. #10 rob
    June 12, 2009

    and i thought it was the zombie apocalypse.

    guess i will listen to an old 50’s favorite:

    “I don’t want to set the world on fire
    I just want to start a flame in your heart
    In my heart I have but one desire
    And that one is you no other will do…”

  11. #11 Dan J
    June 12, 2009

    Albatross said:

    By restricting TV to only those with the wherewithal and skills to either purchase a new digital TV or upgrade their old one, the poor, the elderly, and the mentally challenged are excluded from the most ubiquitous form of public communications.

    I really can’t accept this argument. If these same poor, elderly, and mentally challenged have their own television in the first place, they are a step ahead of many others. They have had ample time (and then some) to purchase a new television, or a converter. I would hope that someone near to them might also have assisted them in this process if necessary. No, the converters are not free. Neither was the television in the first place. Switching to digital has been good for me. I don’t have cable television. I get more programming now, new PBS programming in particular, and the programming is free to watch.

    I really think you don’t understand the concept of these digital broadcasts. These broadcasts (not cable) are not encrypted. your digital receiver is just that—a receiver. there are no decryption keys. This is not pay television.

    Pleas investigate the technology a bit before you start getting all “conspiracy theory” on us.

  12. #12 Albatross
    June 12, 2009

    It’s not pay television yet. Turning digital television into encrypted digital television would be a simple step. Would it require a new converter box? Sure, that’s no impediment, it’s just a way for them to sell more equipment. And encryption keys? Sold on cards like phone minutes, or downloaded over the Internet. All of this is now possible, and since it will make someone a fortune, inevitable.

    My brother is not mentally capable of attaching a converter box, nor of understanding why he needs to use a different remote control to change the channels. I had to buy him a standalone portable DVD player because he didn’t know how to use the TV/DVD switch. If I were not around to help him – and there are people who have no one to help them – this conversion would leave my brother unable to watch television.

    My mother, who died in March, was too poor to afford a digital converter box. She was living on Social Security alone. She died because she was too poor to see a doctor, and so when she finally went to the hospital it was too late. Unfortunately she was also too proud to tell ask her son for help. I didn’t even know she’d gone into the hospital. The point being merely that if she were alive today, she’d be done watching television.

  13. #13 Brian X
    June 12, 2009

    I went to the MIT Flea and someone was selling one of the ancient UHF set-top boxes that people bought when TV first moved into UHF. I didn’t buy it — no real use for it — but it was kind of cool.

    Albatross:

    The DTV boxes on sale right now are very simple (actually too simple as far as I’m concerned — most are pretty crap, made by second-string manufacturers with a painfully basic feature set. They don’t have the facilities to do anything you’re saying — no transmitter, no uplink facility to anything but the TV, and the infamous “broadcast flag” only applied to high-definition content. As for forcing people onto pay services, I’m pretty sure the EFF and ACLU would fight any attempt to do so tooth and nail as they did with the broadcast flag.

  14. #14 marilove
    June 12, 2009

    Besides, the way we watch TV is going through a lot of changes. The majority of people I know watch most of their TV online, or through NetFlix DVDs.

  15. #15 mark
    June 12, 2009

    Years ago, the local theaters would show a clip before the main feature, about the “monster” of cable tv–which was going to put an end to the moving-picture industry.

    Nevertheless, despite the claims of vast improvement, I will be receiving fewer stations than with analog. Instead of a snowy episode of “Bill Moyers Journal” I will be getting crystal-clear reception for “loud cars driving around in circles.”

Current ye@r *