Analog to Digital TV Transition
In 1996, the US Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, establishing Dec. 31, 2006 as the end of the transition period to a new ATSC digital television format. The new television standard would replace the existing NTSC format.
Three years later in 1999, the top four networks were required to have their respective digital channels in operation, albeit, not at full power or full-time. In April 2003, broadcast networks and stations were required to transmit digitally 50% of the time they broadcast using analog format. A month later, these stations were required to have their digital channels fully operational. This was not universally met.
Because of the delays in the transition process, both houses of Congress passed their own versions of a new digital TV bill in late 2005. The House version placed the end of transition on Dec. 31, 2008 while the Senate chose April 7, 2009. Three months later, the Digital TV Transition Act of 2005 was signed into law, proclaiming Feb. 17, 2009 as the last day for analog TV broadcasts.
Although the conversion was initiated more than 12 years ago, there was an inconsistent attempt to inform the general public about the transition from analog to digital TV broadcasting. Some websites devoted to TV technology and science-oriented magazines featured the transition process but owing to the fact that it has been more than a decade, many people had difficulty adjusting to the news.
Digital TV broadcasting, undeniably, is one of the biggest changes in TV technology since the introduction of colored TV sets. With the advent of newer digital technology, it is expected that major facets of daily life which rely on electronics will sooner or later adopt the latest innovations. However, the obsolescence of analog television marks the end of one of culture’s most recognizable icons. Nevertheless, digital TV carries over the influence and impact of television in a newer and more efficient way. It will provide the people a better way to appreciate TV and its contribution to US society.