Blogs > 37th Frame

Photography, notes, commentary and much more from former Reporter Online Editor Chris Stanley.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Old TV

I'm sort of a TV geek, I guess. Before I left Friday for the long drive to Altoona to cover the North Penn HS state championship baseball game, I turned on an old, non-digital non-cable/satellite TV we have in our house to watch the death of analog TV. I saw channel 17 sign off, then channel 10 (which stayed on the air for a good 30 seconds after the engineer was shown hitting the switch).
Then as I started my trip, I listened to the audio of analog channel 6 on my car's FM radio as it disappeared forever.
We have a satellite dish, so we're not exactly losing anything in the DTV transition. Still, I felt some sense of loss for a technology which has served us well for the past 70 years or so. My family was an early adopter of cable TV (since my older brother worked at at cable TV station in the early 70's) so we didn't have too much trouble with reception even though were on the wrong side of a hill to get a good signal from the TV transmitters in New York City.
Now I get a perfect TV picture from outer space, except when it rains very hard. In 5 or 10 years, perhaps our signal will come over the Internet, or from a cell phone tower, or beamed directly into my head. Who knows?
On the way home from Altoona, after sun down, I flipped the radio up and down the AM dial, picking up stations as far away as Toronto, Atlanta and Boston. I enjoyed listening to the faraway voices between the static, in all it's analog glory, fading in and out with every turn.


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