The end of an "air-a"

After February 17, 2009 we'll no longer have broadcast TV as it's been for the past 75 or so years. Right now, if your TV is connected to an antenna, then it receives the signal in an analog form. February next year everything will change to digital broadcasting.

You're OK if you purchased a new digital TV in the past couple of years. In fact, all TVs sold after May 2007 are required to have a digital tuner. If it doesn't it has to have the following warning:
This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation’s transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission’s digital television website at: www.dtv.gov.

But if you're like me you're cheap and are still on analog. I'd heard about the government program to give you up to two $40 credits toward purchasing converter boxes. But, the only way I knew to get the coupons was to call a phone number and *ugh* speak to a real person.

Then I found the website that lets you get the coupons off the internet. The website not only lets you request 1 or 2 coupons, but also tells a lot more about the conversion, and where you might go to purchase a digital converter box.

So, maybe I'll find out next week whether this is a phishing scam to get my address, or it's legit.

I wonder about all those old TV shows heading out into the cosmos in analog form. Will future alien life wonder about the sudden loss of signal that corresponds to our switchover from A to D? Sometime, in the far future an extra terrestrial civilization may be watching "Are you smarter than a fifth grader," only to discover the show disappears. And, will they shed a tear assuming we've destroyed our planet, when in reality we've only become a little bit more complicated in our entertainment?

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