Best Buy Stops Selling Analog TVs

Best Buy has decided to (finally) stop selling soon-to-be-obsolete analog televisions, according to the AP. The FCC has been on the war path, sending secret agents to surf the web and inspect product displays to make sure that consumers are being warned not to buy analog TVs with the expectation that they will work properly without a converter box after 2009.

Best Buy says it will pull all remaining stock from its shelves.

“We are committed to helping people understand the digital television transition, and exiting the analog video business is one way we can help avoid confusion,” Mike Vitelli, senior vice president of electronics, said in a statement.

After the first of the year, the government will be making available to each household two coupons worth $40 each that can be used to buy two converter boxes. Best Buy will sell coupon-eligible converter boxes starting in early 2008.

Best Buy ends sales of analog TVs [BusinessWeek]
(Photo:Vince Brown)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Karkus says:

    Here’s what retailers and the cable/satellite companies don’t want you to know:
    The best picture you can get with your new HDTVs is by using an antenna !
    That’s right, you can get a higher bandwidth signal with an antenna (and an ATSC tuner in your TV) by picking up the free local over the air OTA broadcasts.
    They are already broadcasting digital (DT) signals right now (but some not at full power yet) and by 2009 they will all go to full power and you’ll probably be able to use your old rabbit ears.

  2. Toof_75_75 says:

    Didn’t they move the date back to like 2011 or something? Or is it that they moved it back to 2009? I forget…

  3. UpsetPanda says:

    Okay, can someone explain the difference between an analog tv and a “modern” tv? Cause I’ve got this giant big screen TV that my parents bought years and years ago, and I want to make sure it actually is going to work in the future.

  4. Rando says:

    @CoffeeCup: I’d like someone to explain this too. I have a small TV and will be buying a HD TV soon, but would like to keep the small TV for my bedroom. It’s only 5 years old.

    My parents have a huge RCA that they bought in the early 90s. I honestly have no way of telling if it is analog or not…

  5. UpsetPanda says:

    Woooow, I read what I just posted and I realize that if not for my knowledge of various other kinds of electronics and computers, by all appearances, I’d be the kind of woman that the mislabeled “Her Depot” would appeal to.

  6. UpsetPanda says:

    @randotheking: I just did a little reading on this…analog refers to the signal and the way the picture is broadcast to the TV, and it looks like since the system is being dropped, any TV that is set to only accept that kind of signal would need a converter. It seems like that would mean a lot of TVs, but I have no idea.

  7. slowinthefastlane says:

    “Analog” just refers to the normal UHF and VHF over-the-air channels. These are being phased out in favor of digital over-the-air channels. Thus, you will only be affected by this if you get your TV via an antenna (either “rabbit ears” or one on your roof). In this case, you need a digital TV tuner that will convert the digital signals to pipe into your analog TV. If you get TV via cable or satellite, your old analog TV will continue to work fine. Cable companies will continue to deliver analog signals for a little while longer, so those of you who have analog TVs plugged directly into the Cable line (no converter box) may need a converter box if their cable co switches over to an entirely digital service.

  8. jnews says:

    The difference between an “analog” television and a “digital” television is not in the display, but in the tuner. A digital television has an ATSC tuner, and an analog television has an NTSC tuner. Just because a tv is projection or flat screen does not mean it has an ATSC tuner built in, in fact, if it says it is “HDTV ready” then it does not have one. On the other hand, you can buy a 4:3 tube, non-widescreen, non-surround sound digital television for $180 at Wal-Mart. You cannot tell just by looking at which type of tuner it has, which is what makes this so confusing for people.

  9. Landru says:

    Cable TV and Sattellite TV will still be available with analog signals, although check with your carrier. It’s the free broadcast TV that will no longer be available in analog. HDTV’s were first sold in 1998 (although not many were sold back then.)

  10. UpsetPanda says:

    If you get TV via rabbit ears or an antenna on the roof, how do you have cable? Seriously, I’m probably unknowledgable in the ways of how some people live in their homes, but it seems that if you get tv via bunny ears, you’re probably not getting a cable hookup? funny, my bunny’s ears don’t make my tv reception any better.

  11. bohemian says:

    Best Buy tried to lie about this in July when we were TV shopping. I did some research and made a note of the various naming used to signify a digital TV. It is still a bit confusing since most TVs have an alphabet soup of features or compatibility on the sales labels and front bezels.

    We looked at Target and a local appliance store. Both sales people were forthcoming about pointing out where it showed the TV in question was digital compatible. The feature both referenced were ones I recognized as meaning it was digital not analog.

    We got to Best Buy and found two models close to what we were looking for. One was on sale dirt cheap and another one on the wall appeared comparable to the one we saw at Target. The sales kid gave us the normal schpiel. When I asked him if they were digital or analog he assured me they were digital. When I questioned further about what feature on them stated that they were digital and asked him to point out what feature on the list said this. It was a larger purchase I didn’t want to buy the wrong thing and have an outdated TV in a year. After I asked that question he got really nervous and suddenly had something to attend to in back and never reappeared.

  12. alicetheowl says:

    So if we don’t get a TV to watch any cable or satellite programming, but to watch movies and play video games, then we’re stuck paying through the nose for the digital-only boob tube?


  13. UpsetPanda says:

    @alicetheowl: No, I think the point is that if you actually watch TV on your TV, you might not be able to unless it is digital. If you don’t watch any TV on your TV, just play video games or watch movies, you don’t have to bother because those units don’t depend on a satellite or cable signal.

  14. burgundyyears says:

    ATSC tuners, which is what makes TV’s “digital” and able to pick up digital over-the-air broadcasts add relatively little to TV cost. If you are really abhor the thought of paying for a TV tuner though, just get a “monitor,” which is a TV without the tuner. ;)

  15. sonichghog says:

    TVs will work fine after 2009. As long as you use cable or satellite.

    The only people effected wil be those that use the old bunny ears, Like what was stated above.

    I hope they really drop the price of the old sets, I will pick up a spare if it is really cheap.

    Currently my HDTV is analog.

  16. krom says:

    I can think of lots of reasons to a get a TV that don’t involve receiving any terrestrial television. Like watching DVDs, videotapes, playing game consoles, videocamera monitor, extra monitor for a computer with a tv-out, CCTV monitor.

    BB assumes we only ever need TV to watch live broadcasts. Well, that *is* probably what all BB customers are looking for in a TV, I suppose.

  17. UpsetPanda says:

    Here’s the thing…don’t MOST people use a TV for watching TV, with channels? BB is NOT an idiot for thinking that that is what pe ople do, and BB customers are NOT idiots for looking for wanting a good TV for *gasp* watching TV!

    Who would’ve thought? Using a television for watching moving picture broadcast from a satellite. Wow. One thing that annoys me about this forum is that there is so much average consumer bashing. Sometimes, people aren’t stupid, or ignorant, they just don’t need the same things you do. Doesn’t make you any better when you insult them. I buy things from BB all the time. I hate their customer service and their warranties suck, why do I still buy things there? Because most of the time, my local BB actually has better prices than a lot of other stores, and chances are, a lot of people who end up shopping at BB have done their research and have determined that BB is the better deal.

  18. darkclawsofchaos says:

    when shopping for TVs, its nice to know that you know more than the clerk, seriously, telling me that 12 ms response time is better than 8 ms, the shorter the response time, the less ghosting there is and less lag, trying to sell me a crappier more expensive HDTV, what an a**hole

  19. RvLeshrac says:

    I’m glad we’re getting those $40 coupons. That way, the poor and rural populations will be able to afford converters.

    Oh, no, wait, they won’t. $200 is the *cheapest* converter box I’ve seen, with the price quickly skyrocketing to $500+. $40 off is pissing in the wind, the worst kind of insult. “We’re going to force you to either spend hundreds on a new TV, or hundreds on a converter, but we’ll make it sting just that much more by throwing you a few nickels.”

    Keep in mind that *many* US citizens live out of cable, satellite, and HD-broadcast coverage – mostly the people who need television the most for news and weather reports.

    I guess they’ll all just go back to radio, proving once again that we’re the most third-world of all the first-world nations.

  20. badgeman46 says:

    I honestly dont think this is going to happen in 2009. This is the government we are talking about! 2015 is more reasonable. I think if you took a random sample, only 20 percent would be aware of the coming switch, and only 5 percent would actually understand it. My advice, just stick with a tv that works! TVs these days are crap! You people spend like 5 grand on something that works for like a day. My dad’s craptacular Sony HD crapped out after a year, while my 11 year old RCA tube tv has better picture, isnt pixelated, and actually works! Trust me, if you thought the passport debacle sucked for the government, wait for this one!

  21. JustAGuy2 says:


    These converters really are going to be $40 – several vendors are already displaying models targeted at that price point. These aren’t like the DirecTV boxes you see at Best Buy, which are MUCH more capable and opmlex.

  22. mkobuss says:

    Okay, so Best Buy is pulling all analog TVs from the shelves. (crickets). Is this some incredible news flash? Did this jazz hit anyone with shock value? I think not!

    Ladies and gentlemen, write this down! “Product LifeCycle.” Ahem, Product LifeCycle is the process of product management from its conception to production and, yes, eventually product disposal!

    In fact, thank God your analog channel-surfing days are over! The everyday analog shortcomings are over. Good riddens! So, stop cursing about spending hard-earned money on digital television. Who doesn’t totally dig their couch? Who doesn’t fantasize about 48-inch plasma screen glory? Excatly, NO ONE!

    Do yourself a favor, cruise to Best Buy and slap a monster-screen TV on your dust-gathering Visa. It’s time my friends…It’s time!

    P.S. Size Matters!

  23. rpertusio says:

    Converter boxes are expected to range in price from $40 to $80.

    @BADGEMAN46 : The govt will likely stick to the 2009 schedule. With all the transition already complete, it will soon be impossible to delay it further. A lot of people are already watching Digital TV with their ‘new’ Digital TV ready set, or they get HDTV on their PC’s with USB HDTV tuners, (like I do.)

    Something to remember. Digital TV signals can be picked up with old ‘rabbit ear’ or ‘loop’ antennas. The difference is that the TV must be able to handle the digital signal. (That’s where the converter box comes in.)

    @Badgeman46 (again): The government has already allocated nearly $700 million to educate the public on the transition. Hopefully most people will be aware of the transition as the 2009 date comes closer.

  24. Sirened says:

    MKOBuss-I think you’ll find that most Americans don’t have “dust gathering Visas” and for those that do they are probably not gathering dust for the pimpest TV around but are responsible people who use credit cards for emergencies and such.

    I’d say the majority of Americans want a huge TV but it’s easy to forget that it’s not what everybody wants. Just look at everyone’s comments in this forum!

  25. backbroken says:

    I’ve never seen a cosumer issue so fraught with misinformation and confusion than this FCC mandate.

    Here’s all you need to know:

    If you are using a TV bought beforer, say, 2000…
    You watch over the air broadcast signals via your antenna….
    You will have to pay $50 or so for a converter in a few years.

    Now can we all stop panicking and go back to our 1200 calorie breakfast burritos?

  26. G-Dog says:

    People need to listen to this Podcast from CNet. It’s call The Real Deal, and the show is focused around debunking the fog around tech. This episode is about the digital conversion. All the doom and gloom is an unfounded marketing ploy to get people to buy Plamsa’s and content providers they don’t need.

  27. vex says:

    @rpertusio: I think it is big news. If they are pulling them all of the shelves, where are they going? Maybe there will be a flood of super-cheap TVs to hit the market soon because they are “analog” and no one wants them.

  28. barty says:

    Probably Wal Mart or other discount retailers. Best Buy already has some of the worst prices on the planet so I don’t know why so many people are getting worked up over their announcement anyway. I only darken their doors to look at something first hand that I plan on purchasing online for hundreds less.

    On the other hand, once there is a greater demand for the converters and more of them start popping up on the market, the price will go down. Let’s stop the fear mongering and cries to our savior, the imperial federal government, for relief to the “poor, rural people” who will have to forgo buying a couple of cartons of cigarettes to buy a $50 converter in a couple of years.

  29. RvLeshrac says:


    Glad to hear it. I still doubt it, though, unless we’re talking “five years past the sell-by date” future.


    Digital signals *can* be picked up. Unless you have a nice, powered “HDTV” (misnomer there) antenna, you’ll be getting jack.

    Analog signals give you lower quality the further away you are from the transmitter (or, of course, the more interference you get). Digital signals give you everything or nothing – if you don’t get a perfect signal now, you won’t get *ANYTHING* from a digital transmitter.


    Way to misinform.

    “If you are using a TV bought beforer, say, 2000…”

    Except for the millions of analog TVs that have been bought since then, the hundreds of thousands of large-screen TVs that don’t have ATSC tuners, etc…

    You watch over the air broadcast signals via your antenna….”

    Unless your cable company is one of the (many) that doesn’t *really* offer CableCards, despite saying that they do, and doesn’t provide you with a digital set-top box unless you pay a fee every month for the privilege of… paying them a fee every month…
    or if you want to watch a local station that isn’t available on your cable or satellite provider…

    You will have to pay $50 or so for a converter in a few years.”

    2009, actually, unless the date gets pushed back again (the FCC is adamant that it won’t be changed), and assuming that the converters cost what is claimed (which, IMO, is simply another tactic used to “market” the Analog->Digital switch to the FCC and Congress).

  30. backbroken says:


    I stand by my comment. Worst case scenario is you have to shell out $50 for a converter. Instead, folks are being scare mongered into spending $1500 on a new plasma.

  31. Protector says:

    @Karkus: The whole rabbit ears thing will only work if you live close enough to the station’s transmitter. I live 25+ miles from my local TV stations and can only pick up one station w/rabbit ears.

  32. Protector says:

    BTW, your old TVs will work fine even in 2009 as long as you have cable or satellite.