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Mitsubishi 73" 1080p DLP HDTV
Best Buy says "So Long, Farewell" to analog televisions

Over-the-air (OTA) analog TV broadcasts will be eliminated completely from the U.S. on February 17. 2009. Thanks to regulations from the U.S. government, all OTA broadcasts from that point on will be all-digital.

In order to accommodate customers who rely on analog OTA broadcasts, the government will issue two $40 coupons to each American household which are good towards the purchase of a digital-to-analog converter box. According to early estimates, the converter boxes will retail for $60 to $70.

Best Buy, however, is ahead of the game and has completely exited the analog TV business. The company has removed all analog TVs from its stores and from now on will only sell models with digital tuners included.

Best Buy also announced that it will sell the upcoming DTV converter boxes and will accept the government issued coupons to use towards the purchase price.

"We are committed to helping people understand the digital television transition, and exiting the analog video business is one way we can help avoid confusion," said Best Buy senior VP Mike Vitelli.

"Customers can now be sure that any television they purchase at Best Buy will be fully compliant with the digital television transition. And for customers who aren’t in the market for a new television, we can help you find the best solution to meet your needs."





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How many does this effect?
By Souka on 10/18/2007 11:08:09 AM , Rating: 2
How many people in the US use OTA to view TV? Numbers? Percentages?

This whole "drop the analog" seems to be sooo overhyped, and I"m sure the TV manufacturers are kicking in $$$ so that people run out and buy new TVs

my $.02




RE: How many does this effect?
By imperator3733 on 10/18/2007 11:16:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
How many people in the US use OTA to view TV? Numbers? Percentages?


I do when I'm at home. Even though my college has cable, I only watch the channels that are available OTA. Also, not everyone has cable or satellite TV. This is a BIG deal.


RE: How many does this effect?
By phattyboombatty on 10/18/2007 11:24:51 AM , Rating: 2
I use an antenna placed in my attic to pick up OTA HDTV signals of all my local networks, which supplements the channels I obtain through DirecTV. Although the networks are all available to me through the satellite, the quality is better OTA.

The vast majority of my television viewing is primetime network programming, so I've been tempted many times to just ditch the satellite tv altogether and have completely free television viewing.


RE: How many does this effect?
By Oregonian2 on 10/18/2007 1:21:46 PM , Rating: 2
Us too. Not upgrading directv to hd service until our "main" TV is upgraded (in the process...) and in the meanwhile, our bedroom HDTV is what I use for OTA viewing of the local HD channels, like an NFL game last Sunday... Watch broadcast TV very little, but do sometimes! :-)


RE: How many does this effect?
By omnicronx on 10/18/2007 12:22:16 PM , Rating: 3
Are you joking? If you live in a rural area and you don't have satellite you have two options, run a cable line to the city with your own bare hands(underground of course), or watch OTA stations.

I don't see why anyone cares anyways, you get free HD channels by law! Most of the time with a higher bitrate than what you get from your cable or satellite company(meaning it could look better depending on your tv). I live in Canada and across lake Ontario I am still able to retrieve a good 10 local HD channels from buffalo. Just imagine if you lived in NYC, for some, (my grandma included) there would be no reason to have cable or sattelite at all, as all the big stations are free.


RE: How many does this effect?
By Oregonian2 on 10/18/2007 1:29:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you live in a rural area and you don't have satellite you have two options, run a cable line to the city with your own bare hands(underground of course), or watch OTA stations.

Or get satellite. May be easier than the digging.

quote:
Just imagine if you lived in NYC, for some, (my grandma included) there would be no reason to have cable or sattelite at all, as all the big stations are free.


Might not go quite that far. HBO, Showtime, Skinemax, FNN, ESPNU, Food Channel, etc probably aren't on broadcast stations, even in NYC. Those are the BIG stations. :-)


RE: How many does this effect?
By omnicronx on 10/18/2007 2:19:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Or get satellite. May be easier than the digging.
Some people can't afford it, others don't need that many channels. Why should you be forced to have satellite if all you watch is on the free stations.

What i meant when i said 'big station' is the big networks, as in the big four (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX). Channels like HBO and showtime in which you have to pay extra for on top of your normal cable/sat bill are not a must, and most people don't care for them at all.

This maybe news to you, but the majority of the US does not have more than basic cable. If you can get most of the channels you watch on basic cable for free and in HD, whats the point of having cable?

I for one subscribe to everything you mentioned, because i like sports and movies and HBO series, but for those that have no need, OTA HD is a really good solution


RE: How many does this effect?
By Oregonian2 on 10/18/2007 8:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Some people can't afford it, others don't need that many channels. Why should you be forced to have satellite if all you watch is on the free stations.


Still cheaper than the digging as WELL as easier. Sorry I didn't say it properly.


RE: How many does this effect?
By Nanobaud on 10/18/2007 12:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
Also, cable companies are already converting channels in the analog bands to digital. Comcast in our area int the last couple of weeks converted channel 11 (and one other analog channel I don't recall) to digital. No doubt before long there will be no place for analog tuners in the cable systems either.


RE: How many does this effect?
By softwiz on 10/18/2007 12:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
I've got a small RCA AC powered indoor antenna which was purchased in the late '90s. It still works today. It works fine for both analog and digital brodcasts and both VHF/UHF.

I find that analog stations are nearly impossible to tune with any kind of watchable quality while digital (HD and non-HD) stations come in with near perfect PQ and audio. There is ocassional artifacting or drop out but it's quite an improvement over analog broadcasting.

The HD OTA broadcasts received like NBC are better than that of cable (likely to overcompression of the signal on their end) but I've never had satellite so I don't know how it compares to that.


RE: How many does this effect?
By mindless1 on 10/18/2007 9:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
While analog is inferior in many regions, it's more a matter of location and your small indoor antenna than anything else. Many who extensively watch analog do have an outdoor antenna on the roof, they used to be quite common.


RE: How many does this effect?
By nowayout99 on 10/18/2007 1:23:40 PM , Rating: 2
Estimates are in the neighborhood of 10-12% using OTA.

It's definitely a minority impacting the VERY rural areas the most.


RE: How many does this effect?
By omnicronx on 10/18/2007 2:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
Pre FCC shutdown numbers mean little if nothing. Right now the only(mostly) people using Digital OTA are enthusiasts with HD-TV's. And how many people have HD-TV's in the United states? 10-15%.. maybe? Until the analogue shutdown occurs and people currently using the old analogue OTA system are forced to go and get digital boxes, those numbers are quite useless.

Remember, there are going to be a lot of people who currently use OTA with their CRT analogue TV that will be forced to get a digital box, let alone the amount of people living in the city that want free HDTV channels. It won't be until the vast majority of these people switch that the real usage numbers become apparent.


RE: How many does this effect?
By mindless1 on 10/18/2007 9:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
Did you realize that most of america is "rural areas"? Granted, cities have large populations but since the conversion to digital wasn't just in the cities...

Plus, I suspect the 10-12% estimate is on the low side, as those better connected will be more apt to participate in such surveys, and those with the disposible income for such luxuries tend to have more time to participate in a survey.


RE: How many does this effect?
By SonicIce on 10/18/2007 1:38:10 PM , Rating: 1
me!
i quit tv tho


RE: How many does this effect?
By bunnyfubbles on 10/18/2007 5:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
you might be right about non HD and cable, however I'm sure there MANY people like me who have cable but use OTA signals for at least the primary networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc...) as other HD sources simply don't match the quality (or at least not yet)


By snowcat on 10/18/2007 9:05:58 AM , Rating: 3
TVs with only analog (NTSC) tuners will no longer be sold at Best Buy. Analog TVs (CRTs are all analog) are still being sold and probably will be for years to come.

NTSC only TVs are already illegal to manufacture or import to America. The few that are in other stores have to have a warning label prominently displayed by the TV.

I imagine all other major retailers will follow suit pretty soon. There is no good reason to sell an NTSC-only TV except to get rid of old inventory.




By Locutus465 on 10/18/2007 10:05:15 AM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure what they're referring to is "analog" broadcasting v. digital broadcasting, which is the important part... How the signal is handled inside your TV really doesn't matter to anyone.


By h0kiez on 10/18/2007 10:29:27 AM , Rating: 2
True...but major retailers stopping the sales of analog TVs seems obvious. The demand for them has to be very minimal. It just doensn't make business sense.


By omnicronx on 10/18/2007 12:16:01 PM , Rating: 2
Not only that, we are getting to the point where a big heavy picture tube costs more or is on par with an LCD of the same size. Not only does it not make good business sense, it just doesn't make sense for the consumer to buy something that is inferior for the same price.


By mindless1 on 10/18/2007 9:35:32 PM , Rating: 2
Why imply it's the same price? Seems far more likely that old, soon to be obsolete tech would necessarily be lower priced just to get rid of it instead of having to throw it away and suffer inventory loss.


By Spivonious on 10/19/2007 3:09:57 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, most HD CRT TVs are quite a bit cheaper than their LCD/DLP/Plasma counterparts.


By Oregonian2 on 10/18/2007 1:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
They could just put some duct tape over the antenna terminals and change the sign from 'Analog TV' to 'Video Monitor'. Most all nowadays have an assortment of video inputs as well.

On the other hand most of the "digital" TV's until relatively recently came with no tuner at all (as well), but were still called 'TV' on the signs. The ATSC tuners were only a requirement that went into effect a year or two ago (curiously about when they started to have tuners).


By mindless1 on 10/18/2007 9:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
Demand may have a lot to do with price. If such an old-tech model has reasonable performance for the price, for some people it would make sense to save $100+ then turn around and use the Gov. Coupon plus $20 for the box, OR if their local cable or satellite equipment can still support their TV for awhile longer, keeping in mind no TV lasts forever.


By omnicronx on 10/18/2007 11:30:50 AM , Rating: 2
That makes no sense, I have no source but i really doubt what you are saying is true, and i think you are a bit confused. Bestbuy has been fazing out all CRT televisions for a while, i went to one last week in Canada and did not see one. Search for the words CRT and ATSC on either bestbuy site and you will not find one. Why? because the added tuner adds to the price of an already dated technology, and who is going to buy a CRT that comes close to the price of an LCD.

As for all TV's requiring an ATSC tuner, i don't think thats right either, I am pretty sure it only includes displays over a certain size (25" i think, changing to 13" or something in a the next few years).

Bottom line, bestbuy won't be carrying any analogue crt display, regardless of the tuner as atsc tuners are possible with crt displays, just not cost efficient in the slightest.


By mindless1 on 10/18/2007 9:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
No, searcing for "CRT" won't find one because they call them "tube" instead.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=abcat01...


By theapparition on 10/18/2007 11:39:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Analog TVs (CRTs are all analog) are still being sold and probably will be for years to come.

Guess you've never seen a CRT based HDTV before???


By Oregonian2 on 10/18/2007 1:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
So are SED, possibly OLEDs, and Plasma TV's as well. SED and Plasma's use phosphors like the CRT's do. SED's even use an electron stream, like CRT's, to excite the phosphors. They're all HDTV and analog displays. About the only display I can think of off hand that is digital is the DLP that uses pure PWM to modulate the colors due to the nature of the DLP mirrors being only dual-state. All the rest that I can think of have the light controlling devices being analog in nature (even if driven by digital circuitry upstream -- even a CRT based HDTV is digital upstream of the display device itself).


$60~$70 for a box
By Lonyo on 10/18/2007 10:27:46 AM , Rating: 2
I don't understand how the boxes the US requires are $60~$70.
In the UK the same thing is happening, and we can get a required box for £20 ($40) and that includes tax.
Boxes in the US should be the same price or less (since every other piece of electronics ever made is). I don't understand how the required US boxes will manage to be more expensive than what's available in the UK.




RE: $60~$70 for a box
By h0kiez on 10/18/2007 10:30:08 AM , Rating: 2
Um...the government is involved. Duh...


RE: $60~$70 for a box
By marvdmartian on 10/18/2007 11:19:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Um...the government is involved. Duh...


Close. I'd say it's more a matter of the companies selling these could price them at $40.....but since Uncle Sam is giving people $40 vouchers, why not price them at $60 or $70, so you can make your money off of not only Uncle, but off of the consumer as well?

That's called having your cake and eating it too.....also known as, "Let's screw the consumers as much as we can get away with". Get used to it, it's become the norm.


RE: $60~$70 for a box
By Oregonian2 on 10/18/2007 1:45:53 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Close. I'd say it's more a matter of the companies selling these could price them at $40.....but since Uncle Sam is giving people $40 vouchers, why not price them at $60 or $70, so you can make your money off of not only Uncle, but off of the consumer as well?


Wouldn't work unless there were only one vendor making and selling them. If they cost $10 to make and somebody else is the dominant seller, selling 90% of the market at $70, what do you price yours at? Sell it for $40 and gain 100% of the market and still make $30. Of course things would be incremental and go back and forth, etc, but it would gravitate down to a $40 selling price so long as it's still profitable there, even if profits are low. Whomever has the smallest market share will push prices down. Basic competition in a market driven economy. Very first ones out may be priced higher though so early adopters get to pay more, but that's normal too.


RE: $60~$70 for a box
By mindless1 on 10/18/2007 9:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
Keep in mind that if a projection is $60-70, it may be MSRP, not average or lowest selling price.


RE: $60~$70 for a box
By Oregonian2 on 10/19/2007 1:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
Good point. I've been talking selling price, not necessarily MSRP.


RE: $60~$70 for a box
By Oregonian2 on 10/18/2007 1:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
Government has nothing to do with making or selling them, but the $40 coupon will make the prices gravitate there. People who want more than two converters will be out of luck trying to get one cheaper though.


RE: $60~$70 for a box
By Targon on 10/18/2007 10:46:49 AM , Rating: 2
Companies that sell the boxes may be charging more initially(they are not needed just yet anyway), but will probably drop in price after the first three to six months.


RE: $60~$70 for a box
By phaxmohdem on 10/18/2007 10:47:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
According to early estimates


It is only an estimate, besides two months after they come out Steve jobs will cut the price by $200 anyway ;)


Why?
By Alexstarfire on 10/18/2007 11:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly why is OTA coming to an end? Is it just because the government says so, or is there an actual reason?




RE: Why?
By phattyboombatty on 10/18/2007 11:58:43 AM , Rating: 2
OTA is not coming to an end. Only analog OTA broadcasts are coming to end. Right now, almost every OTA network broadcasts its programming in both ATSC and NTSC. In 2009, the duplicate broadcasting will cease and only ATSC will be broadcast OTA. The reason for this is to free up prime bandwidth for other uses.


RE: Why?
By omnicronx on 10/18/2007 12:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
Its a hell of a lot cheaper to implement, not only that but ATSC OTA is a standard that accepts anything from 480i to 1080i, meaning that your old fuzzy analogue stations you were receiving with bunny ears, will now be in resolutions up to 1080i using the same equipment (except for the atsc tuner box if your tv does not include one). Only problem i can see if those who live in rural areas in which they only barely got stations or they were all fuzzy, ATSC is all or nothing, which means you either get the station or you don't, there i no in between or images with static like with previous analogue OTA broadcasts.


RE: Why?
By softwiz on 10/18/2007 12:32:47 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't an exhaustive explaination by any means but...

It's about money.

The FTC saw that broadcasting in both Analog and Digital was unnecessary so it's reclaiming the entire analog frequency spectrum so that the FTC can sell / auction off the bandwidth, etc of the spectrum to highest (privatized) bidder.

The private interests will use the bandwidth for other communication related enterprises. As such, broadcasting free TV, etc won't be possible anymore over this frequencies after being sold.


RE: Why?
By softwiz on 10/18/2007 12:35:42 PM , Rating: 3
Ooops...my bad. I meant FCC instead of FTC. Sorry!

You can google FCC and Analog TV Spectrum for more information / stories about it.


RE: Why?
By Fnoob on 10/19/2007 8:17:32 PM , Rating: 2
the FTC can sell / auction off the bandwidth, etc of the spectrum to highest (privatized) bidder.


Does that mean that my grandma's old mammoth 500lb piece of furniture (which happens to have a TV in it) will be able to pick up transmissions from whichever 'highest privatized bidder' recycles the frequency in a few years?

Better call Grandma... who knows what she might be watching soon!


so?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 10/18/2007 2:03:38 PM , Rating: 2
back in november of last year weren't all retail stores not allowed to sell analog-tuner TVs with screen sizes greater than 13-15-17 inches- one of those?
the only remaining ones were "monitors", DTVs, and HDTVs




RE: so?
By mindless1 on 10/18/2007 9:42:45 PM , Rating: 2
AFAIK, there were only import restritions, not banning sales of existing stock (wherever that stock may be, store or warehouse, etc).


By 1078feba on 10/18/2007 1:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
Wife absolutely insists on getting the Best Buy extended warranty...and with good reason. But this move by Best Buy, which I had suspected was underway when I was at the local outlet three weeks ago shopping for a TV to swap for my old one which crapped out under the extended warranty, is really screwing me over.

BOHICA.

Everything comparable size in LCD is at least double the price. I don't want to spend $600 for a 26" LCD TV, I want to spend my $300 warrantied dollars on a regular TV. The only regular TVs left on the shelves, about 10 total, were absolute crap.

I like upgrading, but I like doing it on my schedule, not theirs...




Best Buy... what menchs
By bupkus on 10/18/2007 4:36:24 PM , Rating: 2
Customer: Hi, I'm hear to buy a digital to analog converter.
Salesman: Ok, right this way... just past our new digital displays that are on sale for 15% off-- today only.

BB Managers: Thank you, Uncle Sam.




good for them
By lobadobadingdong on 10/18/2007 9:23:37 PM , Rating: 2
One thing a lot of people havn't brought up is the lack of ability to get local stations from satalite providers now. The area I live in, about an hour north of Dallas can't get local channels from Dallas without a really tall analog antenae (75ft at my house, 50ft wouldn't work). And, our 2 local stations (KXII and KTEN) aren't available through satalite (at least not the last time I checked). So even if you are capable of purchasing better equipment, you're now stuck with OTA when you need local news/programing.

<Thank you FOX for supporting cable companies so much :( .>

The only 1/2 way exeption is to use our horid cable provider (Cableone) which is nearly twice as expensive as both providers, offer very poor quality (fuzzy feeds if/when it even works), even poorer customer service (worse than Cingular 3 years ago, or South Western Bell anytime) and billing is often past due before your bill's post mark date. </end cableone rant>

I'd personally rather purchase a new TV that's capable of tuning without a box, but I'm glad both are available.




Why Get rid of Analog?
By CollegeTechGuy on 10/19/2007 4:45:38 PM , Rating: 2
The old Analog TVs and signals are out-dated, but if you really think about it there is no possible way Digital is better. Think about it for a second, you take a picture with a 35mm Camera, you have an Analog image, it is the exact image as the one you saw with your eyes. Take it with a digital camera, even a really high pixel SLR camera and what do you get? You get squares, however small those squares may be, they are still squares with flat edges instead of curges in the analog world.

Now sure, everyone loves having pictures on a PC, where you can scan a 35mm image and digitize it so its on your PC. But why not research better ways to enhance an Analog image, create analog monitors that look better than old ones.

Just because we transmit data in 1's and 0s does not mean it is the best solution for everything.




eh not new
By GlassHouse69 on 10/19/2007 5:50:24 PM , Rating: 1
This is a retarded article. I like DT though and I thank you for making my pt. job not as shitty/boring.

Analog tv's are not allowed to be sold without conversion or a digital picture. no where on Long island does a company who accepts only new, non refurb, name brand stuff actually allowed to buy analog (purely analog) tvs.

2009? um. everyone is going to by law or they will be held accountable of misleading the consumer (defective merchandise, etc). Also, they havent "stopped" as it is 2 years till then.

sux




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