Why Is DTV Happening?The requirements for all-digital broadcasting will free up frequencies for public safety communications, such as police, fire, and emergency rescue. At the same time, the digital technology will allow local television stations to offer more programming options and improved picture and sound quality.
When Will TV Stations Switch To All Digital?On February 17, 2009.
NOTE: On February 4 Congress voted to extend the conversion date to June 12. Some stations may convert on the February 17th date, but it is not required. This was done to give more consumers time to learn that they have to do something to get local TV signals, and to search for more funding to make more coupons for converter bixes available.
What Does This Mean To Me?The transition to digital TV only means that if you are watching local channels but you don't have cable or a dish service for those local channels, you may need to buy a DTV converter box for your TV. If you receive only free over-the-air television programming, knowing the type of TV you own, either a digital TV or an analog TV, is very important. After the DTV transition, you won't get reception any more for even the local stations unless you:
- have a TV with a built-in digital tuner or a digital-ready monitor. If you already have DTV, you should be fine with your rabbit-ears antenna or roof antenna.
- make a few changes to your existing TV, if it is not a DTV. In this case, you will have to purchase a digital-to-analog set-top converter box to attach to your television.
What Do I Do To Prepare for the DTV Transition?If you pay a company for your television service, like Cox Cable or DirecTV or Dish Network, you don't have to do anything if you also get your local programming through them. You'll be fine, and the DTV transition will not affect you. If you don't have a paid TV service provider for local stations, you have to determine if your TV is a DTV.
Most TVs sold after May 25, 2007 have a digital tuner, so if you are buying a new TV but intend to use an antenna, make sure it is a DTV. If your TV was purchased before that date, look for the following words either on the TV itself or in the literature that came with the TV:
- Integrated Digital Tuner
- Digital Tuner Built-In
I Guess I Need To Convert My TV. What Now?Digital-to-analog set-top converter boxes are sold at various local retailers like Best Buy, Sears, Radio Shack, Wal-Mart and Target and others. As soon as you make the determination that you need to convert your analog TV to DTV, you should request a coupon that will save you $40 on the converter box. You can do that online or by phone to 1-888-388-2009. Funding for the coupons ran out in early January and there is a waiting list in case new funding becomes available.
If your current antenna does not receive UHF signals (channels 14 and above) you also might need a new antenna because most DTV stations are on UHF channels.
Where Do I Get More Information?Visit www.DTV2009.gov or call 1-888-388-2009.
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