updated 03:50 pm EDT, Fri June 12, 2009
DTV Transition Begun
The US today will officially begin its transition to purely digital TV by shutting down all analog over-the-air broadcasts at midnight. Such moves come after a last-minute delay from the government from its original February 17th date after concerns that too many viewers, particularly in poor or rural areas, would lose all access to TV under the original timeframe. The move still leaves analog cable but is meant to spur adoption of digital over-the-air, satellite and wired TV in the future.
Nielsen today estimates that about 2.8 million homes, or about 2.5 percent of the US population, are "completely unready" for the transition and don't have an immediate alternative. However, the figure is also less than half the 5.8 million homes, or 5.1 percent, that would have been affected had the cutoff taken place on its original schedule. The researchers expect many of those left out will make the switch in the near future.
Critics had said the delay was unnecessary and would hinder testing for future 700MHz Internet access that will fill the frequency void left by analog TV, including 4G cellular data networks from AT&T and Verizon.