I got there through several levels of indirection, but a post in LINUX JOURNAL by Doc Searls entitled What’s Next for Open Source and Public Media? got me thinking about the impending doom of analog “terrestrial” television in the US and how it may well kill off, as collateral damage, the broadcasting model for TV here in the US. Yes, he gets close to saying this in his post, but I hadn’t thought about it so directly before.
The FCC regulates the airwaves in the US and next year they’re taking back the portions of the RF spectrum that have been devoted to analog television (broadly-separated frequency bands for VHF in the 1950s with a UHF band of frequencies added to that later on), and the broadcast digital television that’s been “under construction” since 1998 will be what’s left. The new technology can carry more channels and information, and much of that in high-definition, but old television receivers will be unable to decode it.
I’d guess that many people simply won’t convert. Cable and satellite TV users won’t be affected and their old TV sets will work, but millions of old analog sets around the US – those who depends on rooftop antennas and rabbit ears – will receive nothing but “snow.”
And where will Mom and Pop Public go?