Monday, October 22, 2007

One Reason Your Parents Will Be Calling You in 2009

I'm going to assume if you are reading stuff on this tiny corner of the 'tubes, you are reasonably tech savvy. So, you've probably heard about the impending shutdown of television's over-the-air analog signals. It's something that's going to make generations of televisions into junk almost overnight. Unless you buy a government subsidized converter box. Or, if you have cable, in which case you get to keep your analog signals until 2012. Since I read technology web sites, I've known about it for a while. Though I do keep getting the final date wrong. (It's February 2009.) But the truth is that there hasn't been much real publicity about the changeover. That is beginning to change. Best Buy has ended all sales of televisions without digital tuners, and the FCC has fined a series of retailers for selling analog-only televisions without the mandated consumer warning that it will soon not be able to get signals. The first places someone may see any real warnings are apparently the places that want to sell you a TV. Naturally, there will probably be something of a conflict of interest there.

In any case, it's going to be up to those of us who follow these things to be able to answer the questions put forth by our relatives, friends, church members, random people on the street, and dogs looking to watch Seinfeld reruns while they play poker. Yes, I myself was in a conversation a couple of days ago where the change was mentioned in passing, and half of the group were shocked. Ignorance is out there people! As alarming as it may seem, there are indeed folks who's lives don't center around television technology, and they are going to be mightily confused soon. It's amusing now, but it's probably going to get annoying before it's over. We who are known as "tech" types have a little over a year to study up. If you don't know the difference between TV, DTV, and HDTV, consider this the first pop-quiz.

I'm also considering coming up with some sort of consulting rate plan...