The previously mandated analogue TV cutoff date of 2009 has just been extended by the FCC, meaning that even though broadcasters (the people like NBC who send out the shows) will be dropping the analogue feed, cable operators (the local cable companies that take your money every month) will still have to support old ass analogue TV sets. They have two ways do to it.
AU: It's bittersweet to see other countries having the same digital / analogue conversion regulation shenanigans as we are.
The cable operators, come Feb 2009, can either convert digital SD signals to analogue SD signals and throw it across their cable lines to you, or they can give all their grandma and grandpa customers with old sets a digital to analogue converter box. It's a tradeoff between sucking up more of their bandwidth or giving away free equipment.
Come 2012, five years from now, the FCC will make another decision whether to force cable operators to support analogue signals. [Ars Technica]