Friday, February 13, 2009

End of the rabbit ear era?

Image by via Flickr
I ran into this discussion on a blog the other day (thanks to Backtype, which I use to monitor for interesting discussions in places I might otherwise not see them).  It's interesting to me how ill-informed the general population is about the analog TV sunset (which is semi-delayed now, although many places will still go dark in just a few days).  The most interesting one to me is the apparently widespread belief that the converter box somehow replaces the antenna, rendering it obsolete, instead of acting in concert with the antenna.

I suspect a lot of people think that using a DTV converter box to receive TV is something akin to cable or satellite TV, probably because digital TV converter boxes resemble cable TV converter boxes in many ways.  There seems to be a lack of understanding that the DTV box is receiving signals transmitted over the air in the same manner as traditional analog TV, just in a different modulation that their old TVs aren't capable of understanding.  All the DTV box does is convert the signal to one that is comprehensible to an older TV that lacks the digital decoding hardware.  You still need the rabbit ears or rooftop antenna; the DTV box doesn't eliminate those at all.

Another comment in that discussion I found interesting was the notion that "I don't way to pay to watch TV".  Well, you presumably paid for your TV, right?

In my experience, the DTV box in conjunction with an existing antenna will actually work better than that same antenna did in analog.  Of course, my experience is limited to the relatively signal-rich Chicagoland area; your mileage may vary.