In the United States, 70 years of full-power NTSC analog TV transmissions ended on June 12, 2009
and most lower power stations by January 1, 2010
. In order to receive over-the-air television broadcasts after that, your TV needs either a built-in ATSC 1.0 digital tuner
or a converter box with one. If your TV has
that, then its antenna may be broken. In order to receive unencrypted digital stations over cable you would need a Clear QAM
Note that ATSC 1.0 can only go up to 1080p. Packetized ATSC 3.0 is rolling out this year
to allow 4k broadcasts over-the-air due to higher compression. The government will require simulcast in both formats for 5 years, but doesn't specify a required quality level so chances are ATSC 1.0 broadcasts will get more and more compressed to make room for 3.0. So the bottom line is even if you have a brand new
TV, you'll only be able to use its internal tuner for ~5 more years of degrading quality before you'll have to add a converter box or replace it again
with another new TV.
I equate these constantly changing standards to the tax laws in Japan that are set up to help their own auto industry sell new cars, by making it increasingly expensive (and eventually prohibitively so) for anyone to keep an old one. However in this case it benefits China rather than the United States because they are the ones making the TVs, so why exactly does the FCC do this? Are the lobbyists paid by movie studios to discourage TV viewing?