What You Need for Stepping in the Future: Digital TV

By: Kirk Greenfield Email
By: Kirk Greenfield Email

So, you get your TV signals...on one or more of the TVs in your home...by way of antenna...a set of rabbit ears or perhaps a big antenna up on your roof.

What happens to the good old TV signal you've been watching for free all these years, come February 17th?

"On February 17th, the analog goes away!" exclaims Station Engineer Kevin Buskirk. "Digital still continues, over the air, for free."

When "Analog goes away", what will people find on their set? Engineer Kevin Buskirk says “Nothing but static!"

So what do you do?

An older rotary antenna system might serve you very well, as long as it still turns and will point the antenna directly at the transmitting tower. But if you get your signal by way of an antenna, you've got to act. Or your free over-the-air signal will be gone forever. What do you have to do? The easiest option is cable.

"The second option would be the converter box or a new television with digital tuning in it," explains Tom Schaad, Co-owner of Shadix TV.

"Or you can pick up the broadcast signal over an antenna.”

But what happens if you don't want cable or you live where there's no cable available?

"I believe it was about two years ago that they passed a law that all TV sets sold have to carry a digital tuner," confirms Tom Schaad of Shadix TV, So any new set should not be a problem."

And if you don't think you can afford that?

"The cheapest (solution) would be your antenna. --If you had the converter box, if you don't want to buy a new TV-- then an antenna would definitely be your cheapest (option), states Tom Schaad, of Shadix TV.

And you can get coupons from the federal government to help you buy up to two of those converter boxes. Each coupon has a value of $40, the same as the lowest cost set-top box. You can buy as many boxes as you want or need. But the federal government will only provide you with coupons to help you buy two. The installation of one of these set top digital converter boxes is rather easy.

All you have to do is take the antenna lead, run it into the back of the box, set it near your television set, run the additional cable back to the back of your current TV set, plug it in the power strip, reprogram or let it search for the new frequencies.

But what happens if you've done all of that and you STILL can't get a decent over-the-air signal? We'll have some suggestions for you in Part Three...

To help you buy up to two of the set-top boxes go to www.dtv2009.gov or call 1-888-d-t-v-2009.

Remember if you have cable TV service this does not apply to you.

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