Monday, January 26, 2009

Still Confusion About DTV Conversion

Well it looks like February analog shutdown will not take place. Nevertheless, the local stations have been doing everything possible to try to assist those who may not be ready for change in over-the-air delivery of TV if it happens next month or this summer. A few days ago I participated with representatives from all the local stations in a test. As part of that test, individuals with questions could call into a phone bank that we were hosting at the CET studios. While there were many different questions, several seemed to be more prevalent than others.

Many people are still confused about waiting until February 18th to turn on their converters. THERE IS NO REASON TO WAIT. Not only can you get all your favorite programming that is available on the local stations’ analog channels, there are several digital–only channels now available. You will find 24 hour weather information on some commercial stations, a how-to channel from CET and even a special channel featuring coverage of the Ohio legislature. They are all available now free. All you need is a digital TV or a DTV set top converter for your old TV set.

Many people with new digital high definition (HD) sets have not set them up properly to actually get HD. These new sets, just like DTV converters, need to be set up when you first turn them on. Read the instructions. The local DTV channels must be scanned in. If you just plug in the set and don’t set it up properly, you may only get the analog channels even though you have a new digital set. Since in most cases on a new digital set the analog picture looks so much better than was possible on the old analog-only set, people are so delighted that that don’t realize that they are not seeing and enjoying real digital HD and don’t bother to really learn about controlling the new set. A good hint…if you have a new DTV set and you see any snow, shadows or ghosts on the screen, you are NOT watching a digital channel. You need an antenna (indoor or outdoor) that can receive both UHF and VHF channels. This does not need to be an expensive one. My tests show that a $15 set top “rabbit ears” model is fine for the majority of viewers in our area. Also don’t immediately go for an “amplified” or “powered” antenna. With digital technology sometimes too much signal is as bad as not enough.

If you have questions about DTV or any other consumer electronics technology, just send me an email.

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