The End of Analog TV as I Know It

Illustration for article titled 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.

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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.

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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

Illustration for article titled The End of Analog TV as I Know It
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(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.

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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.

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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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Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.

(Top photo: あゆみのはにかみブログ | MRO北陸放送)

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DISCUSSION

"Analog TV", when I was growing up, was just called TV. TV, in thjose days before the introduction of cable in the late 70's just had two channel sets: UHF which had the big guys: NBC, ABC and CBS and VHF which had everything else: PBS and lots of foreign stations. In Cleveland, Ohio channels 25 and 43 on the VHF frequency played the shows I loved to watch: Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, The Prisoner, Thunderbirds, All of Irwin Allen's shows, Benny Hill, Monty Python, The Avengers, The Saint, etc. The list goes on. On Saturdays, after the cartoons (yes, analog TV actually had a whole day for cartoons and kid's shows and you didn't have to have cable to watch the edited versions—Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny—I truly miss that era), there was the Japanese shows: Gigantor, Astro Boy, Giant Robot, Japanese monster movies (Gamera, Rodan, Godzilla, Gargantua), Ultraman and even what is now called Power Rangers in America but the original show came out in the early 80's. My brother and would watch this show religiously.

On weekdays it was Star Blazers, Robotech, Speed Racer, Battle of The Planets and The Shogun Warriors. Later it was The Electric Company with Spiderman and Zoom. But what I truly thank Analog TV for are the shows that the younger generation will never see, unless they are really looking for it: classic Buck Rogers serials, Flash Gordon, Allen Quatermain, The Mousekateers among others.

Analog TV gave us classic shows and some truly memorable moments. Today, most of the kids have never seen The Carol Burnette Show nor the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, Laugh In(Great comedy, better than the majority of today's shallow humor) or having the pleasure of watching comdians/actors perform entire programs live, unrehearsed. Now THAT is talent! and it was a common practice in the early days of Analog TV, even till the mid 80's. It doesn't happen anymore. TV in those days had to be agressive to keep the viewership up, that's why we saw preist detectives, fashion police in Miami, wild boys in a Confederate charger, a talking car and a suped-up helicopter that flies like a jet... those were the days.

I remember the days when TV Guide was Bible, LOL! I remember my brother and I watching The Incredible Hulk when it first aired on CBS, then it was Dukes Of Hazzard. I remeber watch Bionic Man when it aired and Logan's Run show, Bionic Woman, Wonder WOman, Spiderman, Catain America, Kung Fu, The Master, Buck Rogers (70's), Battle Star Galactica, Night Gallery, Columbo, Night Stalker, Kojak... the list goes on...

In our Digital Era, TV is just a rehashing of the old shows and it gets very frustrating to watch current shows without pin-pointing the areas where the "stole" ideas and lines and scenerios but it's OK, it's not like anyone today will ever know or remember them anyway, except the oldest of us. Nothing is more depressing than spending an afternoon with your nephew (who was fighting boredom the whole while) and he calls the classic movies and cartoons you shared with him, "stupid", who at the same time was hunting for his DS lite (which I hid on purpose). I was embaressed and a little hurt. Oh well. I just have to accept it and move on.

I really miss Analog TV but its time has passed. I, too, have to accept this and move on.