The End of Analog TV as I Know It

From an early age, I watched a lot of television: The Lone Ranger, The Dukes of Hazard, and Hee Haw (hey, I grew up in Texas) were all piped in to our living room's Curtis Mathes television set.

I don't live in Texas anymore, but I do watch a lot of analog television. The two televisions in my not so creepy van are analog. During long car journeys, my kids like to watch television (I'm, however, a big fan of staring out the window when not driving).

Japan is finally shutting off its analog television signal and going digital-only. Japan being Japan it created a mascot character, Chidejika (a word play on deer and HD broadcasting), for posters and promotions. NHK has an on-screen countdown clock, reminding viewers how many days they have left.

During a recent tsunami alert in Iwate Prefecture, the countdown clock (アナログ放送終了まであと14日) obstructed data on the screen, causing netizens to vent online. "Classy NHK, classy," wrote one.

Other netizens are uploading pictures of countdown clocks that intrude or simply seem out of place.

Electronics retailers are pushing digital TV sales, hoping for a strong summer

The End of Analog TV as I Know It
(TV Tokyo)

Europe has taken the lead on switching over to digital, with Luxembourg making the switch in 2006, followed by the Netherlands. Japan is actually late to the game.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote (well, I think he did) that the difference between a romanticist and a sentimentalist, is that a sentimentalist doesn't want something to end, but a romanticist does. I'm an unabashed analog TV sentimentalist.

TV's FRIEND - On July 24, Nintendo is also ceasing its Japanese Wii Channel "Terebi no Tomo", which is an analog TV guide.

It's an end of an era. I've been watching as much analog TV as I can, because soon it will be gone. It won't be possible to flip on analog TV to see how far we've come or to show our kids how crappy television looked while we were growing up.

On July 25, a day after analog broadcast ends here, I'll be driving to the seashore to go camping with my kids. There won't be TV for them to watch, but they can do what's entertained children for decades: stare out the window.

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(Top photo: あゆみのはにかみブログ | MRO北陸放送)