Everything You Need to Know About the Coming Digital TV Switchover

Posted March 1st, 2008 by Hashim
Filed Under: AV Receivers


Will you need to replace your TV in 2009?

About one year from now TV signals will be turned off and only digital TV signals will be transmitted over the air. This is the biggest change to standard TV signals since color TVs were introduced over 50 years ago. What does this mean for you and other TV owners? However a site Retrevo.com offers this overview of what you need to know and just in case you want to use this event as an excuse to bring your TV or Grandma’s TV up to 21st century standards.

It’s All in the Tuner

NTSC tuners take an analog signal from an antenna, cable, or other connection and turn it into something that you can see and hear on your TV. NTSC or analog tuners are usually connected to external rabbit ears or rooftop antennas. Many TV sets hooked up to a basic cable connection also use an analog TV tuner to display all the non-premium channels.

If you happen to have a TV or device with an analog tuner you have two choices. You can buy a converter box and possibly use a government issued coupon to get a discount or you can replace the old analog-based TV with a brand new digital one.

Converter Boxes

A converter box will most likely be the cheapest solution especially if you use a $40 coupon for a $60 converter box however it could make for a few hassles. For starters, you’ll have another remote to deal with. If you’re lucky, your universal remote will work with your old TV and the converter box but Grandma will have to figure out how to switch devices on the remote to raise the volume. You’ll also have something else to plug into an outlet and fit on the shelf.

Some DTV converter boxes are already available like the Insignia Digital to Analog Converter Box which costs around $60. The recently announced EchoStar TR-40 which is expected to sell for $39.99.

Time for a new TV!

Retrevo recommends us to use this opportunity to buy a new TV. Unfortunately you won’t get the $40 government subsidy and you may have to pay $10 to recycle the old TV but you should be able to get a more energy efficient flat screen TV and move up to HDTV for under $500. Bruce Berkoff, Chairman of the LCD TV Association offers this suggestion, “Why not get a converter box for the old set, move it into the guest room, and buy a new LCD TV for the livingroom?”

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