A few weeks into my TV 2.0 project ,where I set up a viewing center sans cable or satellite, I successfully completed the digital transition by attaching a Samsung digital converter box and Radio Shack indoor antenna to my Sharp 32-inc TV. At first, it was a total fail, but because my TV had not been connected to cable or satellite or even over-the-air, the channel finder had not been activated. Once I used the channel finder to locate the local signals, everything snapped into place.
Because the official date for the digital transition has been pushed to June, not all the local broadcasters in Phoenix are fully digital. The affiliates are all set, two even have side channels (not sure of the official terminology) that have 24-hour weather. The local PBS station (part of Arizona State University) has four channels at 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 and 8.4. Some of the local religious and Spanish-language broadcasters have two or three side channels.
Part of the goal of the digital transition is to free up analog space for new communications services as well as allow broadcasters to do innovate things over these digital “side channels.” To be competitive in the new TV 2.0 world, one has to hope that innovation means more than just 24-hour weather channels.
The next step for my TV 2.0 project is to get an IP-based box to watch web-based programs on my TV. The Xbox has some content, but it’s a walled garden in that I have to watch what Microsoft has selected as opposed to giving me free reign to scan the web for video content. The same goes for Apple TV and now that I totally messed up my Boxee interface, I am back to square one. I saw a new box from Neulion at CES that could do this, and I am in the process of installing my ZeeVee box (although not on this TV) for get some web goodies. Stay tuned.