Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My days of watching analog TV ended the way they began: With a test pattern

My Analog Days Ended the Way They Began: With a Test Pattern
At least it had a certain circular sense of closure to it: The first thing I saw on TV as a kid was this hypnotic test pattern, and it's the last thing I saw the night that the analog sets started turning into pumpkins in Madison -- at least for people who want to watch ABC, NBC or CBS.

NBC 15 apparently couldn't wait to show their analog viewers what they thought of them. At about 11:57, they started playing "The Star Spangled Banner." They couldn't even wait till midnight to unceremoniously kick the rabble off the bus. The national anthem was followed by about a minute of test pattern, and then promptly at midnight, in a avalanche of static and snow, channel 15 disappeared from the analog airwaves forever.

The three local "early adopters" who stuck with the original Feb. 17 date said that only 1 percent of their viewers would be affected (channel 3 switches at noon, and channel 27 at 1:00 p.m). Doesn't strike me as plausible, but we'll soon see.

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