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The Dumbos Guide to Digital TV

Unless Congress has a(nother) change of heart, February 17, 2009 marks the cutoff date for analog (NTSC) broadcast television here in the United States . On that date, all analog televisions that utilize an antenna to receive television programming will effectively cease to work as there will be no analog TV signals left to tune. However, most people don’t use an antenna to receive television programming, and viewing digital television (DTV) doesn’t necessarily require the purchase of a new TV. The transition to a 100% digital television broadcasting system is all but inevitable, and the good news is that few people will even notice when nearly 80 years of analog television broadcasting service comes to an end early next year.

The word about the digital television switch-over seems to be getting out to the masses, and the Federal Government has started to accept voucher applications for the digital converter boxes you’ll need on February 17, 2009 if you have an analog television set.

They will issue up to two $40 vouchers per household towards the purchase of an digital-to-analog converter.

Will you need a converter?

If you purchased a television after March 1, 2007, probably not. Federal mandate orders that sets manufactured after that date must come with digital tuners, standard.

If you subscribe to a cable or satellite service, definitely not, as your over-the-air broadcast channels are being sent via coax or fiber.

Who will need a converter?

Homes with older analog television sets, those using rabbit ears, or those without a subscription to a cable or satellite service.

For more info and the voucher application, follow this link https://dtv2009.gov/ApplyCoupon.aspx

What consumers will get with Digital TV?

More capacity, more channels, more content.

Technology and entertainment stay winning.

Here are some useful resources for learning more about the DTV transition:

www.dtv2009.gov: Main converter box site/main DTV transition site

www.dtvtransition.org: DTV Transition Coalition Web site (has a handy DTV quiz that can help you determine how ready you are for the transition.)

www.antennaweb.org: A Great place to find out about what local DTV channels are available and how to receive them (including info about selecting an appropriate antenna).