Friday, June 12, 2009

The End of Analog TV..My Thoughts

WJW Logo from 1966-77-A version of this was revived in 1995-96 for "eight Is News"

WKYC-TV Test Pattern from it's early color years-1965 on
WNBK Test Pattern from 1948 (WKYC-3)

First WEWS Test Pattern from 1947

First WXEL Test Pattern from 1949

WAKR-23 Test Pattern from the early 1970's

WJAN Test Pattern 1970's

WUAB Test Pattern from 1968

WOAC Logo-1982-1996

PBS 45/49 Logo-1990's maybe earlier

WAKR-49 Test Pattern 1953

WB 55 Logo-The "55" logo was in use from the beginning-1985

WKBF-Kaiser Broadcating Logo-1968-75

Logos and Test Patterns of various Cleveland Area Television stations

Good Evening
As I sit here along with hundreds, maybe thousands of tv geeks here in Northeast Ohio, checking on the latest Digital TV shutoff news from places like Ohio Digital TV Blog (From Ohio Media Watch) , AVS Forums,, and others..I just want to kind of share some thoughts as Television History is made here and across the USA..Full-Power analog tv is scheduled to be ending tomorrow as hundreds of stations move to their final digital channel locations..The times appear to be staggered, apparently..Check the sites listed above for more information..
As we approach this historical milestone I think of other Technical milestones that television has had over the years..The introduction of color tv, while happening about the mid 1950's..Full network color didnt happen till 1968,,And it took till the early 70's before most TV stations had local color..For me, just being able to pull in UHF and seeing a Canton ad on a Canton TV station was a thrill for me, as well as DX (distant watching) of TV signals throughout the country as I loved to do in the 1970's..The advent of Cable and Satellite nearly made the TV antenna obsolete..Everything I just described could only happen on analog television.
As we enter this new era, There are things happening I never thought I'd see..Getting Youngstown (WKBN) with a perfect picture on an indoor antenna 50 miles from Canton..I have read that WXTV 45 Youngstown in 1960 had such a weak signal it couldnt make it to Alliance, Ohio..Digital 45 is now my strongest digital signal locally..With a good antenna in the 1970's, one could get maybe 10-15 stations in the Cleveland/Akron/Canton area..Because of subchannels, that number (depending on location and quality of equipment) could be up to 30 stations..I think we can safely say that the days of "just 3, 5, and 8" are gone forever..


  1. With a halfway decent digital antenna, one in Cincinnati can pick up between 20 and 30 stations...I am unclear if this includes subchannels or not.

  2. Well, actually the days of "3,5 and 8 have been gone for a good 40 years. With all U.S. full-power stations now all-digital may I can take my sole non-cable TV and DX Canada again. At least I hope so. They have two more years until the same thing happens there.

  3. Yes sad times, well kinda... I remember the good old days when You had a certain amount of channels and you were completely content.
    Reception from antennas was fine. Now we have 100+ channels and can't find anything decent to watch. I didn't mind black and white either back in those days. So here we are, moving from Analog to Digital, it's not really much of a change, except for the folks who won't be able to pull in weak signals and have to buy a new box. The real question is: when are they going to end broadcast television?

  4. You never knoe whether or not they'll end broadcast TV. One thing I've been thinking these past two days is that I really wouldn't be surprised if someday something even this digital thing could conceivably be superceded by something else. Possibly not but who knows? I wonder if there's still some old guy out there somewhere who once worked for CBS who's still unhappy that RCA's color system beat theirs. If so he might not be all that happy about this digital thing since CBS was so insensitive to the incompatibibility of their system. In fact, they were so mad about RCA's victory that when CBS bought WCAU-TV in Philadelphia in 1957 one of the first changes they made there was to eliminate what color programming the station had at the time. Talk about bitter!

  5. After the last analog shutdown, the last "flash" to a new channel and my most recent re-scan, I counted up all the channels received at my home between Dayton and Cincinnati.

    I was amazed to realize the total was 40! And that could easily rise to 42, after Dayton's WHIO-7 completes moving its permanent digital antenna and fires up to full power later this month. The only local channel I may not get is WRGT-45 in Dayton; its digital signal never seems to penetrate.

    Not bad, not bad at all. But now comes the hard part -- finding good programming for all the sub-channels. Something better than TWO all-weather channels in Cincinnati, or two Dayton stations that merely repeat HD programming of their primary channels in SD format on their second channels.

    I thought I'd miss the days of pulling in weird distant stations after analog died, but just last week, I was able to pick up digital signals of one Louisville station and two Indianapolis stations early one morning. Maybe those days aren't so far gone after all!

  6. Hey, guess what? I rescanned my one non-cabled Tv (I have two others which are cabled) and I can also get KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh! With any luck, maybe, just maybe, I could conceivably add another station or two. I have an idea that I might find myself rescanning just for a joke once in a great long while.

  7. Is there any way you could please identify each logo and test pattern by year? All those you show under your latest entry are, in fact,quite interesting but would be all the more so if you had the year(s) each one was in use. Thanks.

  8. Thank you very much for identifying those test petterns and stations.

  9. On the WKYC test pattern, the graphics shown I assume the very firs ones used at the time of channel 3 becoming WKYC, right?

  10. WXEL-TV in Cleveland? I think someone is confused. The only station I can remember in this area with a call sign anything like that was WXEN-FM (now WVMX or whatever--I never listen to the darn station) in Cleveland. All my life, Cleveland's channel 8 (not 9--where do people get this idea?) had a three-letter call sign. This channel was also a CBS affiliate for over four decades, until Fox bought it out and the CBS affiliation went to channel 19, which no one without cable west of Cleveland could get very well. Why couldn't they have left CBS on station eight and put Fox or whatever on number 19? Other major cities in this country, like New York, Chicago, et al. have had their TV stations on the same dial numbers for over five decades. Why should Cleveland be any different?

    Cleveland never had a channel 4 station that I can remember, either. All of my life, NBC has been on channel 3 in northeastern Ohio

  11. We get "this idea" from history..briefly: Channel 3 started as Channel 4 and moved to Channel 3 in 1954..

    WXEL-9 became WXEL-8 in 1953 and WJW-8 in 1956..You'll find all kinds of info on it in the blog..thanks for reading..

  12. And after Cleveland's WXEL became WJW-TV in 1956, the WXEL calls moved around until they settled in West Palm Beach, FL after 1985.

  13. The question as to whether that WKYC test pattern on top was the first after adopting those call letters: I doubt it, more like the second (probably 1967). The first was in B&W, and had the calls and city of license set in Univers 68 (Bold Condensed Italic) on the inner lower left quad, and the italicized "3" logo on the inner lower right quad, as was in place at the outset of NBC's second ownership. This was shown on the 35th anniversary special with the heading "NEXT: NBC RETURNS" on top.