Media & Services > TV & Broadband Blog

Another step towards analog switch-off

by User Not Found | Mar 01, 2007

Today, March 1st 2007 is a key date on the digital calendar in the US: all TVs and related devices (video recorders) must include a digital ATSC tuner from today. The fine detail is that retailers and distributors still have stock of analogue sets that must feed through the system, but manufacturers can no longer ship analogue-only devices. They can also sell TVs without any tuner (monitors), but it seems the market in general is prepared to accept the increased costs of digital tuners. It's been a long hard road for ATSC digital terrestrial broadcasting. Even with the impact of mandates, only a small minority of US homes makes use of these tuners, relying instead on digital and HD services from cable and satellite providers. There has been little promotion of the impending analogue switch-off, and politicians will start to notice very soon that a small minority of their constituents - those that rely exclusively on analogue terrestrial TV today - might be without any TV at all after February 17 2009. It's a rush now to ensure those homes have alternatives in place. Subsidised set-top boxes may help, but I'm sure we'll also see satellite and cable companies (and maybe telcos) making as much mileage as possible out of the digital transition, although they won't want to subsidise new customers with loss-making deals. Strategy Analytics clients can find more detailed analysis here.
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