On February 17, 2009, television signals will cease broadcasting in analog, and will be converted to digital. But don’t panic. You probably won’t need to go out and buy all new televisions.
I’ve heard too many people saying that they don’t exactly know what this change means for them. The bottom line is if you are getting your TV signal via cable or satellite, you’re covered. Cable and satellite companies will be converting the signal for you. But, if you receive analog television via an antenna, you’ll need to make changes if you want to continue watching television.
According to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Despite the approaching transition to digital-only television, about 15.5 million U.S. households still relied on traditional over-the-air analog broadcasts as of January 2007, according to the FCC, although that number is expected to decrease somewhat this year as flat-screen TV sets lure consumers to upgrade.” That’s a lot of people using “rabbit ears.”
If people who are getting their TV via signals don’t act before February 2009, their favorite TV shows will fade to black.
What this means to you:
If you subscribe to cable or satellite services, you don't have to do anything. Your cable or satellite company will make the conversion for you.
If you get your signal via the airwaves or antenna, the DTV Transition web site says:
“TV sets that rely on "over the air" broadcasting with an antenna (set-top or rooftop) to receive a signal will be affected by the cutoff of analog broadcasts in 2009. You will need to consider one of the following options:
1. Purchase a digital-to-analog converter box that plugs into an existing television. The boxes, which are expected to cost between $50 - 70 will be available for purchase in 2008. Beginning on January 1, 2008, U.S. households can request up to two coupons valued at $40 each. Each coupon can go toward the purchase of a single set-top converter box that will allow you to continue watching FREE "over-the-air" television on an analog set.
2. Subscribe to a cable, satellite or telecommunications service provider if all desired local broadcast stations are carried by that service.
3. Purchase a new television set with a built in digital tuner.”
There is still plenty of time to prepare. Now really, do you need a better excuse to go out and buy a new television?
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