turn on, tune out … whatever (whenever?)

Today’s the big day for TV. Sort of.

February 17, 2009, was to be the day that television stations in the United States transitioned their broadcast signals from analog to digital, requiring either a set-top converter box for your old analog TV, a digital television, or cable/satellite reception (cable and satellite customers don’t have to worry with it unless they also use an antenna for picking up local signals). Although stations have been providing digital signals for some time, they’ve also been required to offer an analog signal so that consumers have time to catch up and tune in on their new digital TV sets or old converted sets. I blogged about this and its associated topics in Your Digital Future.

So why are we not totally tuning out analog today? You may recall that last month there was a flurry of articles about delaying the digital transition. That doesn’t mean that no TV stations will be transitioning today. Having to operate both an analog and a digital signal for four more months (yes, it’s expensive) is a budget buster for some and just doesn’t make good business sense for others, and they have been given the flexibility to go ahead with their plans. The FCC reports that of nearly 1800 full-power television stations in the United States, 641 stations (36 percent of all full-power stations) will have transitioned by the end of today. The rest will transition between March 14 and June 12.

What does that mean locally? It looks like all but one station will delay in Lexington (this article from Kentucky.com provides transition dates for local stations). Another good source for uncovering what signals you have available is TV Fool. There’s also an FM Fool, by the way.

If you are still confused about the analog-to-digital conversion and how that does or does not affect your television set, visit one or more of these web pages:

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