You’ve seen the ads on TV. Digital TV is coming.
But what does that mean to you? How can you guarantee you’ll still be able to watch your favorite shows.
Currently, many over-the-air stations are broadcasting in both analog and digital TV formats. After Feb. 17, 2009, full-power TV stations will broadcast only in digital.
The DTV transition will affect those who watch free over-the-air television (through a rooftop antenna or “rabbit ears”). If you watch over-the-air programs on an analog TV, you must take action before Feb. 17, 2009.
The changes were mandated federal law is requiring the switch, which will free up the airwaves for police, fire, and emergency rescue communications, allow broadcasters to offer programming with better picture and sound quality and offer more programming choices, and allow for advanced wireless services for consumers. TV owners have three choices.
• Connect your analog TV to a digital-to-analog converter box. Digital-to-analog converter boxes are available in stores and have a one-time cost of $40-$70. To help you pay for the boxes, the U.S. government is offering two $40 coupons per household. (Please note that these coupons will expire 90 days after mailing). For more information on the coupons, visit www.DTV2009.gov, or call 1-888-388-2009 (voice) or 1-877-530-2634 (TTY). The good news is you should not need a new antenna if you get good quality reception on analog channels 2-51 with your existing antenna.
• Buy a digital television (a TV with a built-in digital tuner). You do not need a high-definition TV (HDTV) to watch digital broadcast television. You only need a digital TV (or an analog TV connected to a digital-to-analog converter box). Plus, you should not need a new antenna if you get good quality reception on analog channels 2-51 with your existing antenna.
• Subscribe to a paid TV service. If your TV set receives local broadcast stations through a paid provider such as cable or satellite TV, it is already prepared for the DTV transition. Cable companies are not required to transition or switch any of their channels to digital. However, if you have an analog TV that does not receive local broadcast stations through your paid provider, you will need a digital-to-analog converter box to watch digital broadcasts on that TV.
For more information, call 1-888-TELL-FCC (TTY), visit DTV.gov or call 1-888-CALL-FCC (voice).