I liked how the BBC handled the shutdown of their old Black and White VHF standard in 1985:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXZ-S1Z_Hzw
They had an old 405-line set in the studio, receiving the channel's signal from an antenna.
Be nice to have something similar on one of the few independent stations left.
I like the way the BBC handled the "closedown" of the 405 line monochrome system back in 1985. I actually received BBC1's old 405 line system (audio only) back in the winter of 1981 while living on the Cape. I believe the audio was AM (as compared to FM) but I was able to "slope detect" the audio signal on the side bands. More than likely this was from the Crystal Palace transmitter. Down the dial I heard some French audio carriers along with the 50 cycle hum of the visual carriers from BBC1. The signals from BBC1 were quite strong and had I had the proper video equipment to decode the 405 line signal, more than likely I could have gotten a picture. Ah, but alas.... it was never to happen.
As to what Scott mentioned about, he does have a point. Most people
, unlike us radio or TV geeks, really have no inkling on what is actually happening on Feb. 17th, 2009. We
know that history will be made to where the television as we have known it for the past 70 years will cease to exist. In it's place, digital will be the law of the land. To the average viewer, nothing will change. To us, it will be an historical event. Do I feel a sense of loss? A little, for sure. But like time, this too will pass. What will I be doing at midnight on Feb. 17th? Barring any technical issues, I hope to be at the transmitter of one of the stations I have worked with over the years to witness the shutdown of the analog transmitter. Will digital be the improvement for those of us who use OTA (I've got cable as well)? Time will tell. Coverage wise, I tend to think it will pale compared to analog. You either have it or not (the "cliff effect"). Power increases will surely be necessary. Just look at WZMY-TV/Derry, NH. Analog on Channel 50, they had the full 5 million watts of power. Currently on digital, they have only about 7000 watts (that's right, SEVEN THOUSAND
watts!). It doesn't even cover the City of License.
The digital signal is inherently not very robust in terms of coverage. It will be up to the FCC, the receiver manufacturers and the broadcasters themselves to do something about it.
I'd hate to be the operator at the FCC on the morning of February 18th. Sure, only at best 20% of the population will have to have access to OTA. You're dealing with MILLIONS of possible viewers without TV reception.
It's a scary but exciting time to be involved with television broadcasting. You can be assured the "UHF Morgue" will be updated very soon!
Peter Q. George (K1XRB)