June 2009


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An ode to analog TV

8:31 AM Thu, Jun 11, 2009 |
Posted by: Walt Zwirko

Let’s say you were rummaging through an attic and stumbled across a vintage TV set built in the late 1940s.

You plug it in, the screen glows with static.

Until the 12th of June 2009, if you hook up an antenna to that old set, you’ll still be able to tune in a picture.

That’s really an amazing testament to the endurance and versatility of a television broadcasting standard that was actually outlined before World War II — before transistors and integrated circuits — before screens were much bigger than 10 inches in diameter.

TV was strictly black-and-white as the industry blossomed in the post-war years and millions of sets were sold. That legacy forced the industry to be creative in the early 50s, successfully piggy-backing red, green and blue information on top of the monochrome signal so that existing equipment wouldn’t become obsolete with new color TV receivers.

About 20 years later, broadcasters utilized another slice of the TV signal to add closed captioning to broadcasts. Then engineers figured out how to shoehorn stereo audio into the signal.

Along the way, television has delivered incredible images and unforgettable moments to hundreds of millions of Americans, from the Kennedy assassination to the first men on the moon to Super Bowl drama.

Finally — after more than six decades as the nation’s primary source of information and entertainment — broadcast analog TV will vanish on Friday, giving way to digital technology with its improved picture and sound quality and the extra channels and features it offers.

Some viewers ask: “Why do we need to make this switch at all? I like my TV just fine as it is.” After all, we’ve been broadcasting both analog and digital signals for a decade now. The answer is complicated, but some of it surrounds public safety.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, police, fire and emergency agencies concluded that they needed better ways to communicate and coordinate by radio. When analog television ends on Friday, many of those now-unused channels will be allocated to modern emergency networks to help keep you safe.

Digital is also a much “greener” way to broadcast. Sending out a digital TV signal that’s comparable to its analog cousin requires a lot less transmission power and a lot less electricity. It also gives TV stations a total of 16 different ways to send you a picture, including multiple channels (WFAA has three!).

But digital television doesn’t necessarily make any analog TVobsolete. You can still take that 1940s-vintage TV set, hook up an inexpensive digital TV converter box and continue to use it as we approach the second decade of the 21st century.

• What’s your favorite analog TV moment? Feel free to leave a comment!



Neil Armstrong taking his first step on the moon and watching it live on my brand new 13″ diagonal screen color TV, only to find out the signal from the moon was in black and white!

I have scanned and rescanned my Digital Converter Box, and still Cannot get Channel 8 on my TV. I live in Ellis County TX. I have no problem getting the other major channels in the Metroplex.

that fact the the junk was free. now you have to fay to watch the garbage, and get told repeatedly the the garbage is in HD oh wow. who cares. it’s still garbage. but now i have to pay to watch the new and weather.

To jt: Pay to watch? It is still Free! Please call 800-DTV-2009 and talk to someone who can attempt to explain it to you.

When I was younger, Channel 8 and the rest of the stations went off the air around midnight – they used to play the Star Spangled Banner & end with “this concludes our broadcast day.” Then they would sign on around 6 or 7 AM.

I am also glad to see Channel 8 start using the “it is 10 PM – do you know where your children are?” again.

To Rosemary Sullivan-
point your antenna to Cedar Hill. That’s where most of the DTV transmitters are in the Metroplex. You’ll get better signal strength for the other stations as well.

OK. I’m old and so are some of my sets I still hold on to. I’m sentimental because I still have my first B/W 12″ set I bought back in the late sixties from the money I made from installing new “color” antennas on my neighbors roofs.
I loved the transition from B/W to Color as most do today going from analog to digital.
But I still like to watch some of my old favorite TV shows via DVD’s and an RF converter box connected to my old sets. THE very sets that displayed these shows when they were new!
But as time and eyes grow tired somewhat, I really appreciate the new HD sets because they make up for the loss in clarity from my eyes.
Goodbye forever analog, I’ll remember you and all the far away stations I used to receive when skip rolled in and Florida or New York stations could be watched. It was a hoot to see the eastern news programs and commercials then. That will never happen again with digital.
Thank you Channel 8 for all your past programming efforts too.

Dad got our color TV set on a Saturday and Sunday night we watched breathlessly as Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color came on.

I was almost 5 years old in July 1969 and I remember sitting on the floor in our family room, watching the first man on the moon. Though I was a little child, I remember that moment.

Well im just 16, but I remember just seeing the said moments on 9-11

I am 67 and grew up in a small town in Missouri. On Saturday night, we would sit on Main Street and watch the cars go up and down the street. A store window had a tv in the window and we would crowd around to see the tv. I remember seeing nothing but snow.

My question is, with so many like myself that have DirecTV or Dish and the weather causes interference with our reception, How are we supposed to stay informed of pending danger?

I have a TV Receiver on my radio, Audio Only, that has now become obsolete.

The thing comes with a phone charger, Dynamo Emergency Crank, AM, FM, SW and WX Channel.

I know that I could listen to the WX Band but those are not equipped with a real live person to inform me up live updates.

I could put it on WBAP or KRLD but sometimes they are hard to receive because of lightning and they could be knocked off the air by another event happening at the same time.

I use the information that Pete Delkus gives to position myself to capture pictures and to stay out of harms way.

Also, now I can’t listen to Brad Nessler Bob Greise or Brent Mussberger and Kirk Herstriet broadcasting a great collge football game while I am at a TCU Game or God Willing, the World Series at Rangers Ballpark.

One of my favorite analog memories came at a TCU game in late 2007. I had this TV/Audio Radio and listened to Tech beat OU on Senior Night. The sound and description was sweet to my ears.

I will miss the UHF/VHF channels. Watching shows like the Cisco Kid or the Lone Ranger, and especially Kuhla, Fran, and Ollie on Saturdays. And Harold Taft doing the weather. We really need to go back to the statement: “It’s 10 o’clock, do you know where your children are?”

Mary Martin in Peter Pan at Christmas. There was no VHS or DVD. Every child watched it at the same time. No homework was assigned THAT night. The boomers were all so cohesive then.

Mary Martin in Peter Pan at Christmas. There was no VHS or DVD. Every child watched it at the same time. No homework was assigned THAT night. The boomers were all so cohesive then.

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