What Was the Digital Transition?
The digital transition in the United States was when all analog television signals originating from full-power broadcast stations became completely digital. This means that analog signals no longer exist.
The switch from analog to digital TV was for a number of reasons -- money, public safety and an improvement in broadcast TV.
Part of the old analog spectrum was allocated to emergency service departments, like fire, police, and rescue groups, as a means of improving their communication ability. The rest of it was auctioned to for-profit companies.
According to TV NewsDay, the auction generated $19.6 billion dollars. The primary buyers were telecommunications companies, and the expectation is that the new analog spectrum will significantly improve wireless communications.
Who Was Affected?
Almost everyone in the United States was affected by the digital transition. Even cable and satellite companies have evolved their business to some extent because of the digital transition.For the antenna user, issues ranged from loss of signal to having to buy a new antenna. There were also people that physically couldn't get a digital signal. So, the FCC now has a digital translator program to get signal to these no-signal areas.
People that continue to use an analog television and an antenna will no longer receive TV with an antenna unless they have a digital-to-analog converter box. The only exception is the people that receive TV from a low-power, Class A or translator station.
Yes, there was an exception to the digital transition. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a new plan for the slow phase towards digital for low-power, Class A or translator stations.
What Do I Need So I Can Watch Digital Programming on an Analog TV?
You need to either pay for TV service or buy a digital-to-analog converter box. The programming won't be digital. It will be down-converted from digital to analog.
If you need to buy a converter box then be sure to apply for a $40 converter box coupon. The program runs through July 31, 2009. It's really a good deal if you need to buy a converter box.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Digital Transition
Here is a link to a continuous comment form that I recommend for people with questions about digital television: Digital Television Questions from Readers.