Allyn Gibson wrote:
Or FTL. Get out in front of the television signal wave front. It would be horrifically degraded, but perhaps multiple ships, operating in concert, at different points on the wavefront sphere...
At any distance greater than about a light-year, it would be so degraded as to be almost indistinguishable from background noise (contrary to the myths about I Love Lucy
still being viewable from 60 light-years away). The technology necessary to reconstruct the signal out of that noise would be essentially equivalent to that needed to reconstruct it from the original erased tapes. So just finding the original tapes themselves strikes me as an easier first step.
There's also the possibility of contacting aliens and discovering that they've been monitoring Earth from hidden satellites for decades and have recorded all our broadcasts...