What You Will Need: Digital Televisions and Signal Converters


Digital TV Broadcasting

By now you’ve probably heard that TV broadcasting will switch over to digital (DTV) on February 17, 2009. You’ve probably also heard Cassandra-like warnings about everything you’ll need to be prepared for this event. The great likelihood, however, is that you won’t need anything, and that if you do, the effort and cost on your part will be minimal. With the help of a few Web resources, you can find out what, if anything, you need to be prepared.

The Switch from Analog to Digital TV

A lot of articles, blogs and online pundits have given out some alarming misinformation, whether ... read more »

What You Will Need: Digital Televisions and Signal Converters

First off, you must determine whether you to need to change anything. Here are some sites that can help guide you toward a correct solution for your particular situation.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • The 2009 deadline has to do with how the signal is sent and received, not the display itself. The only TVs likely to be affected are those with old style “rabbit ears” or rooftop antennas.
  • If your current TV has only a standard or analog receiver, you’ll have to do one of the following:
    • Get a digital-to-analog converter box (DAC) that will translate the new digital broadcast signal to one your analog TV can display.
    • Replace your analog television with a digital television.
    • Get a cable, satellite or fiber-optic subscription service that will convert the signal in their TV-top boxes.
  • Regardless of the age of your TV, if you’re getting your service from a cable, satellite or fiber-optic provider, you’re already receiving a digital signal. This is primarily about over-the-air broadcast. Despite what you may read at some sites, it’s not about picture resolution, high definition (HDTV), flat screens, plasma, LCD or tubes.
  • As of March 1, 2007, all TVs shipped interstate or imported into the United States must include a digital tuner. Those sold without one must have a disclaimer on the box.
  • If you’re not sure about the basic service you’re getting from your subscription TV provider, give them a call to see whether they send your local and network broadcast channels digitally. Be sure to ask whether their service will extend beyond 2012, at which time subscription services will no longer have to provide signals capable of being decoded by an analog TV.

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