Friday, January 9, 2009

Analog Videophiles

Just as some audiophiles swear by the virtues of analog audio, I think we soon will have millions of analog videophiles. Despite all the preparation for the compulsory migration to digital broadcast television, it appears only now has someone in authority—or soon to have authority—recognized a technological characteristic of digital video transmissions: there is no gradual signal attenuation. Either you receive a digital signal, or you do not.

In the analog world, a significant portion of the 20 or so million broadcast television viewers, received signals in or beyond the so-called B-contour. In other words, a lot of exurban and rural broadcast television viewers received a somewhat snowy, somewhat inferior signal, but a viewable signal nonetheless. These satisfied or tolerant viewers will likely receive nothing in February and the folks in Washington have begun to consider the political consequences.

One of the earliest commercial slogans for the music video network MTV was simply: “I want my MTV.” Absent a delay and some quick promotion of multiple broadcast transmitters and repeaters, throughout places like Pennsylvania, we soon will hear lots of folks saying: “I want my old tv!”

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