The new face of TV - DTV, that is.

If cable TV customers experienced over-the-air digital TV, the cable industry might lose a good chunk of their customers.

Here's the story:

A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to convert some old home VHS videos to DVD, and so I went shopping for a simple DVD recorder. I figure a DVD recorder would be more useful, less frustrating, and more fun that some video gadget for my PC.

SoI logged onto Amazon and I bought myself a DVD recorder. And just for fun, I bought a model with a modern digital TV tuner inside. I've never played with over-the-air digital TV, so this was my chance.

Well, the DVD burner works pretty well (more on that in a subsequent post). But I really want to talk about the Digital TV tuner.

In short, over-the-air digital TV is something that the cable TV companies must have a lot of fear of. When I was a kid, we watched all 7 local channels - Channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 25, 38 and 56. Yeah, there were other channels, but they were totally unwatchable. And even the "local" channels that looked good looked like crap, despite our enormous rooftop aerial antenna . But we were happy.

Now, with my digital TV tuner and simple set-top rabbit ear antenna, I get about 25 picture-perfect channels over the air. And thats with my crappy 15 year old, 20-inch tube TV.

No wonder the cable TV industry tells their customers that people don't need to worry about digital TV tuners - 25 channels of free digital TV is very compelling for me. I wouldn't be surprised if a significant portion of cable TV customers feel the same way.

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