June 12th, 2009 marked a big day in the television industry, presumably the biggest since the transition from black and white to color. Stations across the country after decades have now stopped broadcasting in analog and now run digital only.
If I didn’t have cable right now, I’d probably be cheering at this moment. There are plenty of benefits with digital reception. All the years of struggling to get certain channels to come in with those bunny ears, and even missing out on shows because the reception is just too crappy, are now done and over with. Also, it’s really nice to have RTN and seeing Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, The Price Is Right, and the current primetime favorites in HD widescreen. I notice better picture and crisper sound even on an older TV set. It’s like watching the shows on DVD.
From a local perspective, it was interesting to see how the stations handled it here in the Atlanta metro. We had some good coverage from WSB and WXIA with a veteran personality on WSB and the original engineer from WXIA, but I give major props to the Fox affiliate here, WAGA. Not only did they have the original engineer who signed the station on in 1949 to appear to turn the analog signal off; but it was also very cool of them to get the original script used that first day in 1949 and read from it. I do hate how a few stations (WPCH, WGCL, and WATL) apparently did nothing for the actual switch. After this huge campaign, there was no logo or anything in sight with any of those stations before the sign-off. It was back in February, but Georgia Public Broadcasting did an amazing switch using the old traditional sign-off, with "Georgia on My Mind" playing.
After all the campaigning with the commercials, the crawls on the screen, and the news reports, the digital transition is finally done. Here’s to a brand-new era of television!