Re: FCC Issues Rules For 2009 Digital TV Broadcasts
To the contrary:
Issue 1) All, but minor cable companies, will have to be able to offer analog broadcasts through 2012. This will not be difficult as cable companies have been preparing for this changover for sometime now. Digital Cable providers are installing receivers that have built in converters in them. The same goes for satellite receivers. Most can still output coaxial analog or at the very least through composite. So yes, cable subscribers are already dealing with digital signals. Either their cable box is converting the digital signal into analog for their output needs, or the subscribers are using the HDMI/Component outputs to their receiver or HDTV.
Issue 2) Don't get Digital OTA signal confused with the cable companies. Cable companies receive their broadcasts from the networks. Individual residents can use OTA antennas connected to their ATSC tuners in their HDTV. As for modifying aspect ratios, this is really simple. Cable boxes already have this "function" built-in. For example, you are playing a widescreen HD cable signal through your cable box and have that output to your HDTV. At the same time your have the coaxial out of your cable box connected to your other TV, a old CRT monitor, through it's coaxial input. You will notice that the CRT TV will display the widescreen video in a letterboxed format (black bars at the top and bottom).
So basically, this changeover is not really a huge deal at all. For all those millions of households with digital cable subscriptions or satellite services, they will never even notice the difference. For those approximately 40 million households still on using analog broadcasts through an antenna on their roof. I'm afraid those people will just have to get an "ATSC-to-analog" converter or make the leap to a cable or satellite service.
With Vizio HDTVs being sold for about $599, the only real problem we need to worry about is the environment getting soiled with CRT monitors.