The Countdown to the Death of Free TV is over and the switches have been thrown.
My television on the fringes of the New York viewing area is, surprisingly, not totally dead. With my converter box in place and with quite a bit of fiddling with the antenna, I am able to get WABC channels 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3! Or at least get them sometimes; they do tend to break up into soundless pixels from time to time. So I'll be able to watch the NBA finals tonight (maybe), but Dave Letterman and Conan O'Brien can forget about lobbying for my support, because NBC and CBS have disappeared (as have Fox, PBS, and whichever networks are associated with channels 9 and 11 -- the WB? CW?).
So last night when there was nothing on Disney's ABC except a Disney movie about Disneyworld's Haunted Mansion attraction, I had to read (finishing Rabbit Redux by Updike and starting The Women by T.C. Boyle) and listen to music (Thelonious Monk's Criss-Cross and Underground and Angela Hewitt's interpretations of Francois Couperin's keyboard music). It's hard to argue that the loss of free television isn't an overall plus.