Daily Blog – Ross Jones – May 29, 2008: WAITING FOR THE ANALOG TV SHUTDOWN.

It’s less than a year until the oft-delayed analog TV shut-off takes place (264 days, if you’re keeping track). While that is a big deal to people still using rabbit ears, for the rest of us, not so much. Those with digital displays aren’t affected, and consumers who subscribe to satellite already have digital receivers, even if their televisions are analog-based. Cable customers with set-top boxes are good to go, and thanks to our federal government, even those who plug their cable directly from the wall to their TV will get a coupon for a free digital-to-analog converter.

The real question, for us cable subscribers (at least I am this week), is whether the nation-wide shutdown of analog stations will lead to a treasure trove of new, high definition channels. At least that’s what is being sold as one of the benefits of the digital transition, since theoretically analog stations take up much more bandwidth that even an HD channel (using advanced compression).

Call me a skeptic; I’ll believe it when I see it. If it does happen, it will benefit not only cable customers but will put more pressure on the satellite providers to increase their HD offerings. 264 days and counting.