Many people, myself included, have felt much confusion regarding the recent television campaign reminding us that the switch from analog to digital is soon approaching. Beginning February 17, 2009 all broadcast stations will no longer be broadcasting in both analog and digital, but will solely be broadcasting in digital (DTV). This does NOT mean that all broadcast stations will be transitioning to High Definition broadcasts, and HDTV will NOT be a requirement.
How do I know if this change will affect me?
To determine if this switch is going to affect you and your TV watching habits, ask your self these two simple questions:
1) Do I subscribe to digital cable or satellite TV service or do I utilize the free over-the-air television programming?
If you have a subscription to digital cable or satellite service this change should not affect you, however if you do utilize the free over-the-air television programming, ask yourself this second question:
2) Do I currently have a roof top antenna? Do I have a pair of “rabbit ears” sitting atop my television set?
If you answered “NO”, to both of these questions, again, you need not be worried about the switch; your TV set already has an internal digital-tuner. However, if you answered “Yes”, to one or both of these questions, then this change is going to effect you. So take note. Current users of analog televisions have the choice of either buying a new digital television set altogether (with its own internal digital tuner), or obtaining a digital-to-analog converter box to continue watching free over-the-air broadcast television on old analog televisions.
How much will this cost me?
If you have an analog television set you may already be thinking about getting a new television set altogether. Prices on new TVs can vary depending on the size, functionality, and quality of the set desired. However, in the ever advancing world of technology the prices of quality televisions with the functions you desire (whether LCD TV’s or Plasma Displays) are becoming ever more affordable. The prices of televisions are only dropping as the next new advancement hits the market.
On the other hand, if you decide to obtain a digital-to-analog converter box the Government established the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program which began in January of 2008. Valid coupons are worth $40 each and the digital-to-analog converter box is estimated to sell from $40 to $70 each (meaning an overall cost to the consumer of about $0 to $30). For more information about this coupon program or about the overall digital switch visit the government’s digital television website at dtv2009.gov, or call 1-888-388-2009 (voice) or 1-877-530-2634 (TTY).