2008 will be a nail-biting year for the content creators (formerly known as broadcasters) in the television business.
On February 17th of 2009, TV stations will be required to shut off their analog signals in the VHF band. Those are the waves of energy that have been used since Sid Ceasar first romped into your grandma’s living room back in the 1950’s. What will be left are the new digital signals—conveying color pictures and surround sound in computer code. You also get the opportunity to watch High Definition pictures if you’re willing to shell out for an HD receiver.
Please remember that the radio side is changing but in a different way. WFAE is now broadcasting in HD digital. The “killer application”, in our view, is the ability to bring new radio services to you through open-air, non-subscription HD.
You still hear your favorite WFAE shows in analog as well as the new digital WFAE service. WFAE 2 is a 24-by-7 singer-songwriter music service that you really need to check out. WFAE 3 is broadcasting experimental programming—mainly news and public affairs programs that don’t fit into the conventional WFAE schedule.
Our WFAE shopping spies tell us that Charlotte area Radio Shack stores sold out of their Accurian HD radios over the holiday season. HD radios are now readily at stores like Best Buy, along with web sites including our own WFAE.ORG.
Remember that your current FM radios will still be of use to you over the next several years. The Feds have not set a date for shut-down of the conventional analog signals. This is because the HD system in the United States is particularly spectrum efficient. All of the WFAE signals—including the 3 digital ones—are contained in the 90.7 spot in the radio spectrum in the Charlotte region.
It’s now inexpensive to switch to HD receivers. You can get a tabletop HD set from $100-200. If you got a holiday gift card, consider stimulating the economy by springing for an HD set. I think you’ll be pleased. Be sure to email us at WFAE.ORG when you DO try out our HD services!