[LINK] US going digital TV in 2009

andrew clarke mail at ozzmosis.com
Sun Mar 4 03:36:13 AEDT 2007

On Sat, Mar 03, 2007 at 09:22:44PM +1100, Jan Whitaker wrote:

> The News Hour had a story on Friday about the US going to digital.
> http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/jan-june07/digital_03-01.html
> The 'expert' was panning SDTV and settop converters. I dropped them a 
> note that he didn't know what he was talking about since I was 
> watching him right now using a converter. What a Wall Street Journal snob.

Quoting the 'expert', Walter Mossberg, from the article:

> "I have not seen one of these converter boxes, but my guess is it's
> going to really give you a lousy picture. You'll be able to receive the
> signal, but you're going to get kind of a lousy picture."

Later on in the article he talks about how good High Definition TV is,
so he is probably comparing the relatively the output of a set top
converter shown on an old analog CRT TV, to a new HDTV with a builtin
digital receiver.  Obviously the analog TV display will indeed be fairly
lousy compared to the new HDTV set.  But of course, HDTV isn't

I don't know what the plan is with digital TV in Australia these days.
Digital transmission has been required for commercial free-to-air
networks for quite a few years now, but as far as I know, none of the
analogue transmitters have been switched off, partly because retailers
are still allowed to sell new TVs with analogue receivers.  Most flat
panel (non-CRT) TVs sold probably have digital receivers though.

Walter Mossberg, once more from the article:

> "It's unbelievably confusing. You need an encyclopedia to walk into the
> TV aisle at Circuit City,"

Unfortunately he doesn't elaborate on any of that.  Clearly he is
exaggerating, but even so, I don't think the situation is as confusing
as he makes out, unless the US is using multiple digital transmission
formats in different regions.  In Australia (and also many parts of
Europe), DVB-T is used for free-to-air TV on the VHF & UHF bands.  I was
under the impression though that the US had chosen a single format,
albeit incompatible with DVB.

I suspect the most confusing aspect of buying a new TV is whether to
choose a CRT, LCD, plasma or rear projection set...


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