On Feb. 17, 2009, people
in the United States could turn on their television sets and see
nothing but a dark screen.
This is the
date set by the U.S. Congress when all television broadcasters of
high-power television signals must cease broadcasting analog signals
and broadcast exclusively in digital signals. While digital signals
allow for many more channels and higher quality picture and sound
capabilities, they cannot be processed by older analog television
sets that exclusively receive their signal over the air, either
through a set-top antenna, commonly called rabbit ears, or through
a connection to an outside antenna.
viewers who have older television sets but receive their television
signals through a cable or satellite television system should have
nothing to worry about as any signal conversions necessary should
be handled by their cable or satellite provider. Most of the cable
and satellite providers are already sending their television signals
digitally, so the set-top box provided by them converts their digital
signal to an analog signal that older television sets need to display
a picture and broadcast sound.