My local channels have started going digital. We're covered because we're on a satellite and the company is now providing them for us (though not the DVR to replace the VCR that has become completely useless except for watching those few remaining videos we have on tape). However, it was still a little odd to go and push the buttons for the channel and then ... have nothing.
Some of it is just the passing of an era. Of course there is the whole "converter box" for the antennas, but that's just the last dying gasp of the rabbit ears. I expect that for the majority of hold-outs for free tv that it's only a matter of time before they break down and pay for cable or satellite. Or just go without tv altogether.
Okay, so that last one isn't very likely.
There is also a part of this that is simply a transition from one tech to another. I don't remember 8-track (thankfully) and vinyl albums were already out of date too, but I was around for cassettes to CD, from VHS to DVD. Those transitions went gradually. My relatives had CD's and a CD player long before they were mainstream household items. Even so you could see the change coming. And you had time to get used to it, make the transition.
None of those were government mandated, of course, which also makes a difference. If this were allowed to progress at its own rate I suspect it would be years more before it truly happened. I'm not going to rant about government interference (listening to some yahoo on Fox decry the stimulus bill as something akin to a Soviet invasion cured me of ever turning this political) because I understand the reasons for it. Still, it has a forced and somewhat artificial quality to it that precludes the chance to ease into it.
Nope, you just scroll up the analog dial and there's .... nothing. Here one day, gone the next.
Though at least not all the networks have gone at once. I needed to tape "Lost" tonight.