Analog Deathwatch: Day 250

Are your bunny ears rapture ready?


Readers of Really Rocket Science know that on February 17, 2009, the era of analog television broadcasting will come to an end, and the nation’s full-power television station will have completed their transition to all-digital broadcasting systems.

Some folks call that the DTV Transition. We prefer the term Analog Deathwatch, and over the next seven months, we’ll be bringing you semi-regular updates on the end of the analog age. 

So, back to your rabbit ears. If they’re going to enter the new world of digital TV, you’ve got to prepare. 

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have had a site up for a while, to walk consumers through the need to perk up some new ears. And we’ve already given you a DIY project to get cheap DTV reception via your PC.

Now come reports that the Dish Network is about to begin selling its own converter box for $40: 

The new DTVPal Digital Converter from Dish Network is a digital off air converter which converts over the air digital broadcasts to an analog format your older analog televisions can display. The new DTVPal is made by Echostar for Dish Network and is getting ready to hit the streets.

Read the full review quoted above. The Dish converter may end up costing $59, but the price is not final.

Thanks to the Federal Government’s $40 coupon program, designed to soften the economic blow of new bunny ears, that works out to just $19 each.  (Get your coupon here.)

Of course, not everyone is yet aware of the coming analog armageddon.  Neilsen’s research indicates that the hispanic market — which relies disproportionately on over-the-air broadcasting to receive TV transitions — hasn’t been getting the message from the FCC about the coming transition.

That’s why Univision has launched "Escuadrón Digital" (Digital Squad), a grassroots and on-air initiative using a one-on-one approach to ensure viewers are informed and prepared for the DTV transition in February 2009.

In Phoenix, for example, KTVW Univision 33 last weekend celebrated its first Grand Digital Television Fair to help local residents better understand the transition to digital television (DTV).

Phoenix, by the way, was one of the featured markets in a webinar on DTV transition and how it will affect local broadcasters last month. You can play back the webinar here.