Goodbye Analog TV

You missed it. It happened on March 1st and barely a word was written. No tears were shed. No pronouncements or prognostications about the future of TV.

As of March 1st, 2007, companies are restricted from importing analog TVs from foreign countries or trafficking in interstate commerce of analog sets. Bottom line, is that retailers of Analog only TVs aren’t allowed to buy any more to sell. Analog TVs are now officially dead.

DOA gone.

You can still buy tube TVs, but they must have over the air digital tuners (ATSC). So if BUTVS (big ugly TVs) or LUTVS (little ugly TVs) are your fashion passion, you are in luck. The problem for the B/LUTVs is that the incremental cost of the ATSC tuner makes it pretty stupid to buy one of those instead of a flat panel or HDTV compatible TV of some sort.

So if you have any intentions of buying a new TV in say the next…..forever, may i suggest that you also call your local cable or satellite provider and ask for HDNet and HDNet Movies. Best to get the most out of your new TV 🙂

If you arent familiar with the Digital TV transition, you may want to check out

And just as an aside, the most fun to be had with the Digital Transition will come from watching cable, satellite and telco video providers battle it out over consumers trying to figure out how best to receive HDTV signals. The next 705 days will be some of the most consumer friendly price wars and amazing special offers rule the day.

30 thoughts on “Goodbye Analog TV

  1. I already watch entirely digital entertainment. Through YouTube.
    Sorry Mark, no HDNET for me.

    Comment by tw-product -

  2. Well if these changes in TV industry will make our life better – why not? Then we\’ll say it with no regret -\”Goodbye analog TV\”!

    Comment by Jenny -

  3. As a reply to post #9 by superdave [I already watch entirely digital entertainment. Through YouTube.]

    Check out TubeSucker – YouTube Video Downloader and Media Player/Emailer System

    If you like YouTube, you will love TubeSucker. It\’s an entire system, downloader, internal database to store youtube links, and a built-in player/emailer that lets you run the whole thing at once. Plus it can download 8 videos at a time. Watching TV in the USA makes me want to throw up and then kill myself. It all looks like Nancy Grace self righteous hate spew parade. So that is why I bought TubeSucker. Everything I download is happy like the mexican tv channels. I\’m watching bootlegs of long lost 70\’s artists from youtube with it.

    Comment by Vince Foster -

  4. Here in Italy there are still analog TV so, also for the newest LCD flat panel, you need to buy an external DV tuner (about 120$).

    Comment by luigibio -

  5. If you don\’t get HD Net or HD Net Movies, find a service that does and make the switch! I switch when Time Warner took over, and have not looked back. My HD Tuner is always on one of the two. If you are a SIFI Geek, I\’m getting Star Trek Enterprise in HD. I can also watch good movies in HD for free. Both channels are awesome. Thanks Mark!

    Comment by Scott Sizemore -

  6. Yes, Oisin, reading books are free. There\’s something called the library.

    Comment by Andy -

  7. Pam, analog TV is what we\’ve had since it was invented. Digital TV is the new stuff. But not all digital TV is high definition (HD). In fact, most probably isn\’t.

    One of the selling points of digital TV was that the TV stations could squeeze several standard definition (SD) TV \”channels\” into the same space as a single analog signal. Your local ABC affiliate was salivating over the ability to offer several channels — hoping that you\’d ultimately spend more time on their channels and help earn them more advertising revenue.

    I don\’t think it will end up that way, though, because all that\’s happening is that all 5 or so of my local stations are fighting to show the same syndicated content or to create special interest (read: low viewership) channels. So they\’re really just taking viewers away from their flagship station and devaluing the advertising on that station with little added value on the newer channels.

    Ultimately, I think that there are two choices: very low video quality (think \”GooTube\” as Mr. Cuban likes to call it), and HD. I think low quality will go to the internet and HD will stay on TV. Unless someone can figure out how to properly create the mythical merged system.

    Comment by William Reeder -

  8. You may be interested in this Mark – in the UK, it was announced yesterday that they are completely shutting off analog signals in a western region, population 25k, 73% of whom are already digital (UK average is 79%). This is to be followed by a region-by-region rollout of this policy, with a view to totally abolish analog across the entire country by 2012. Full story can be read here:

    And here\’s a bit of trivia: the city where this initiative is starting, Whitehaven, is the birthplace of Mildred Gale, grandmother of George Washington.

    Comment by Parry -

  9. hey Oisin, ever heard of a library? Most of them have far more books that you could read in a lifetime –all for free.

    Besides, it\’s a joke. When did bloggers lose their senses of humor?

    I basically just wanted a way to include talking about HDTV, bash Mark Cuban for no particular reason (I\’m a fan actually), and say Go Bulls!

    Comment by Brent -

  10. The notion of all HD has been around solidly since at least the mid 1990\’s. I went to a summit about it at a PBS station. Has lots of capabilities like being interactive. I\’ll do built-in HD next time around which should be sooner than later. Built-in makes more sense.

    Comment by tiptoe -

  11. Looks like your business ideas are pretty solid again. As more and more people buy HD TVs, they\’re going to clamor for more and more HD programming…and guess who\’s company is right there to provide it for them. Mark Cuban\’s. Pretty smart…!

    Comment by basketball -

  12. I\’m lookig forward to the price wars so I can pick up a great HDTC flat screen for a good price. This is where the consumer wins.

    Comment by maui -

  13. Brent? Books are free? Really how often does th book fairy visit only when you\’ve lost a tooth. I get both HDNet and HDNetMovies as part of my package even with RCN who penny pinch on everything else (the whole NFL tv channel debacle would be interesting to read Marks views on that whole mess).

    Comment by Oisin -

  14. Well, I sure hope there is a price war. I recently cancelled my Adelphia/Comcast service because it went up to $70/mo for digital basic. Two days later a Comcast guy came to my house and asked if I had DirectTV (since there was a cable from the previous renter). He said he could offer me cable for $33/mo for 6 months. I told him about my cancellation and disgust with the cost. He said there wasn\’t anything he could do for me…so I guess the battle hasn\’t gotten too heated yet.

    If they only offer limited time deals then maybe I\’ll have to do what I used to do whenever a long distance company would call and ask if I wanted to switch. I always said yes…sometimes 3 or 4 times a week. Eventually they stopped calling.

    Comment by Gnasche -

  15. Mark: My dad is having issues getting HD access using Tivo with DirecTV. The hardware isn\’t, in my opinion, the problem – it\’s the software. I know DirecTv no longer supports Tivo, but I don\’t understand why DirecTV would \”lockout\” Tivo, having such a popular reputation among consumers. I just don\’t get it…

    Comment by Aaron -

  16. Television technology keeps advancing, quality content less so.

    Comment by KindAndThoughtful -

  17. Dude, you act as if everyone is a multi-millionaire. Buy this, buy that. HDNet, HDMovies…try reading a book people! It\’s free, and it won\’t fry your brain with useless crap like NBA basketball. Oops, just kidding. Go Bulls!

    Comment by Brent -

  18. My mother-in-law is going to be pissed when her TV burns out. At least she\’ll have to finally own up to buying a good television and visits will be more bearable.

    Comment by microwaves -

  19. Dare I say, I\’m unimpressed with HD so far. One word – compression.

    Comment by Lifesrichpageant -

  20. What is your opinion of internet movies? Disney head is marketing Vuguru. Eisner and his oversized Goofy head has failed with Topps and is now trafficking Vuguru.

    Comment by Jeffrey Todd -

  21. Thats ok, them big ugly TVs will be available at pawn shops for years to come. Come to think of it, so with the flat screens.

    Comment by Tim -

  22. thats great mark. i\’d love to watch HDNet. Too bad Time Warner Cable did another \’realignment\’ of channels. Now the only HD content I get on my 65\” DLP and HD/DVR box are the same channels I can get OTA and Discovery HD. You may want to talk to them about this one. I HAD HDNet, UHD, INHD and something else at one point. one day i wake up and poof, gone. TWC reps tell me I can get them back for a mere $3/ month. Sorry guys, it\’s not the $, it\’s the principle.

    so long HDNet, we hardly knew ya.

    P.S. Still waiting for dish\’s 100 HD channels to materialize too. so many promises, so little content…

    Comment by jasonS -

  23. I already watch entirely digital entertainment. Through YouTube.
    Sorry Mark, no HDNET for me.

    Comment by superdave -

  24. Nice HD Net plug. …to tell you the truth I love it. When I watch TV, I tune to HD first. My only question to you Mark, is how long will HD Net be able to justify its existence? Right now you do have some great programs, but you are the only programmer without SD linear carriage. What if programmers move to an all inclusive charge for their SD distribution and HDand the HD Tier essentially goes away. Where will HD Net end up? A-la-carte? I know that you are saying, why would the big guys just give the HD away, but they need to start justifying their rates to the MSOs.when they are pushing the once quasi exclusive content to the web. All and all, I think HD Net has a bright future, but I would continue to tie up content rights.(sports).

    Comment by andy davis -

  25. Hey Mark, I didn\’t see a thread on this, but I watched Nothing But Trailers today and I saw that the movie Color Me Kubrick: A True…ish Story will be released simultaneously in the theatres and on HDNET Movies, and on DVD a few days later (or week, I forgot). In any event, you talked about this some months ago, giving people the choice of where/how they want to watch a movie, and I think you\’re making the right 1st step. I can\’t bring myself to go to a theater anymore with a 62\” TV and surround sound at home (with theater seats). What\’s the point of standing in lines, dealing with brats, expensive food, etc? Great job!!

    Comment by Lamarr Wilson -

  26. Mark,
    Thanks for the tip on this I missed it. Im going to use it on my show here at 3;30cst
    Wouldnt imagine you would like to be a guest on the show someday would you?

    Comment by Andrew Coffey -

  27. eventually we\’ll say bye bye to any screen-real direct tv so to speak. A tiny beam shot into the back of your eye with pinpoint accuracy, delivering a total vision override and a \’picture\’ as clear and sharp as light can deliver. Mmm now that\’s good future!

    Comment by E.L. -

  28. OK, I admit I\’m probably stuck in the 1950\’s, but what is an analog tv? Is it one of those televisions that has a huge back end? Are you saying that we will only be able to buy flat panel or high definition televisions? Thanks.

    (And so sorry about the game last night. The Mavs were great (and so were the Suns). Wish I could say the same about the zebras.

    Comment by Pam -

  29. I wonder if I\’ll do anything when the analog signal turns off in \’09 — I only get broadcast analog TV now.

    I used to watch MNF pretty faithfully. When it moved to cable (ESPN) I thought for a few seconds about ordering some pay service, but never did anything about it. And Mondays don\’t seem any worse for the loss.

    So I\’ll think about getting a digital converter box (the ones the feds will subsidize to make cheaper — yeah, right!) And I\’ll think some more about ordering a pay service. But if I had to make a bet, I\’d put my money into recycling my TVs and doing something more worthwhile than sitting in front of the boob tube.

    Comment by William Reeder -

  30. I don\’t see forcing digital programming on the public as an evil issue. The only problem with it, is that it will force people who haven\’t upgraded their televisions in the last decade to spend money where they didn\’t have to previously.

    The move is probably right on schedule in my opinion. I\’ve owned an a 47\” hdtv for over a year, but I was just able to receive OTA signals about 3 months ago (OTA service in Keller was crap, and I wasn\’t going to pay DirecTv $350 for an upgraded hd-dish). I don\’t watch SD signal broadcasts now, unless I\’m forced to. I watched the Mavericks on channel 21 last night and the picture was brilliant.

    HDTV is the future, but unfortunately it\’ll cost a lot of people a lot of money.

    Comment by JL Jenkins -

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