Friday, June 12, 2009

An historic day: Goodbye analog, hello digital

Across the United States today, television stations will power down the analog signals that have sent TV shows into homes for six decades.

Today represents the deadline for the country’s transition to fully digital television broadcasting. Throughout the day, TV stations are switching off analog signals as the digital TV deadline has arrived at last.

On this historic day, Randall Dark received the following letter from Gary Shapiro, President & CEO, Consumer Electronics Association:

June 12, 2009

Dear Randall Dark:

Thank you! You are a true American hero!

Thank you for helping get our nation to this historic day! You are one of the 200 inductees into the DTV Academy because of your major contribution to the cause of digital television. You made a huge difference and helped our national transition to digital television!

Although the short term may bring news stories about the relatively few Americans who did not timely transition to digital, in a few months this will be a historical blip, capping the over 20 year effort to transition our nation to a uniquely American HDTV broadcast transmission standard.

I have often joked that I am so excited about HDTV that my tombstone will be 16 by 9. But the truth is that every one of us played a critical role in an unprecedented technology shift affecting how virtually every American receives entertainment, news and information.

Of course, we are still at the beginning of the digital revolution, but you and all who know you should take some satisfaction that you played a historic role in making this shift happen. Few can claim this, but many will benefit.

Our task is nearly completed for this chapter of our history. But we will never finish our quest to make things better by promoting sound policies – like the DTV transition – that advance American innovation.

I thank you so much for turning our shared national vision into a reality benefitting every American. I hope you will continue to work towards shared national goals which move us forward.


Gary Shapiro
President and CEO
Consumer Electronics Association

(click image to enlarge)