Monday, November 24, 2008

Less than 90 Days To Get Ready For Digital Broadcasting

There are less than 90 days until the US ceases analog TV broadcasting. I have written often about this subject over the last year but the questions that I continue to get reinforce the fact that many are still somewhat confused about what this change will mean to them.

To summarize … at midnight February 17, 2009, all full power TV stations in the US will turn off all analog TV transmitters and continue broadcasting using only digital signals. For most TV viewers this will be a non-event since most receive TV using cable or satellite services. These services will do all the necessary conversion allowing you to continue to use your old analog TV set. You need do nothing!

For those who receive TV using an antenna, there are three options available. You can subscribe to cable or satellite. You can purchase a new TV set with a digital tuner built in. You can purchase a DTV converter for your analog set.

As we get closer to the deadline I have noticed more and more disinformation and half truths coming from some unscrupulous retailers. Several people have related to me that a salesperson has insisted that they must purchase an expensive high definition TV or they will lose all TV this February. I have also seen some direct mail pieces from cable and satellite companies that lead the reader to believe that only cable and satellite provide digital programming and you must upgrade to the digital or HD service before February 17th.

Both the statements are wrong. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for a digital TV set. There are sets available for less the $200. While these inexpensive sets will not have giant screens and they will not be high definition, they will receive all the digital broadcasts and in most cases be superior to any analog set.

If you subscribe to a cable or satellite service today, you do not need to upgrade to a more expensive tier of service unless you want to have an HD service. If you are using your existing analog set, there is no reason to upgrade. You analog TV can’t display HD.

For those who do get a DTV converter and continue to use an antenna, you will have access to many more local channels and the picture on your analog set will never look better. The converters were hard to find last summer but my recent visit to several big box retailers found many selections available for about $59.00 or less. It is not too late to get two $40 coupons from the Federal Government. Just call 888-388-2009 or go to the web

A little preparation now will assure a smooth transition next February.

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