If you haven’t heard the news already, Congress recently passed legislation delaying the deadline for television stations to stop broadcasting in analog. Last year the deadline was set for February 17, 2009 for all stations to end broadcasting in analog, but with millions of people still not equipped for the change, Congress has given television broadcasters until June 12, 2009 to make the move. Though some full-power stations may stop broadcasting in analog this month on the 17th, others are deciding to postpone their switch until sometime between March 14th and June 12th. Additional information regarding exact dates around the switch to digital can be found on the FCC’s Digital TV Transition website.
Congress’s decision gives the public more time to make the decision to either upgrade to a new television or to buy a converter box. For many, this legislation is giving people the push needed to go out and upgrade thier television. Though digital converter boxes enable people with analog televisions to view digital broadcasting, some are finding this not be an easy transition.
One complaint that has been made is that when the digital converter box was installed, less channels were received then without the converter box. This is because analog can pick up on weak signals, while digital cannot; with digital reception you either have reception or you do not. While your analog television may have delivered some stations in poor quality, these stations probably will not be picked up at all with digital.
Another concern that has frustrated the public is that people with analog televisions will no longer be able to record programming directly off of the air with their VCR’s. Though this problem can be overcome fairly easily, it does pose one more obstacle for those still utilizing analog. One option is to connect the digital converter to the VCR and to also connect the VCR to the T.V.; the problem with this method is that the viewer cannot change channels while recording programming. A second option would be to buy two converter boxes and have one connected to the T.V and the other connected to the VCR. The final option would be to buy a digital video recorder (DVR) to record programming digitally off the air.
The only real way to avoid all of the upcoming hassle involved with making the switch from analog to digital would be to invest in a new television set. If your T.V. still works with analog you probably haven’t upgraded in a long time anyways- televisions on the market now are quite impressive in their functionality. Clarity, color vibrancy, and all together image quality are remarkable in some of the new HDTV’s and prices are also fairly reasonable. Brands such as Samsung, ViewSonic, and Panasonic offer a wide range of television models that accommodate for trade offs made between image quality and price.