One year till death of analog TV in USA

One year till death of analog TV in USA

Summary: Analog TV will no longer be broadcast one year from today on February 19th 2009, are you ready for the conversion to digital TV?  This may or may not affect you so here's what you need to know to avoid losing TV reception!

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TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware
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Analog TV will no longer be broadcast one year from today on February 19th 2009, are you ready for the conversion to digital TV?  This may or may not affect you so here's what you need to know to avoid losing TV reception!

The first question to answer is whether this government mandated change to over-the-air digital TV will affect you.  If you have any older TV that depends on rabbit ears or external UHF/VHF antennas for analog TV reception, you will no longer get any TV reception a year from today.  If you're already using cable or satellite for TV reception, you have nothing to worry about.  If you have a newer TV that supports the ATSC standard for either standard definition and/or high definition reception, then skip the coupon section below to the antenna section.

If you have an older TV that relies on analog TV signals, there is good news for you but you better act fast.  The US government has a $40 coupon program that can either cover some or all of the cost of a converter box.  You need to apply for it here and each household is entitled to two coupons but there are a finite number of coupons so you need to act before they run out.  Once you've obtained the coupons in the mail, you can buy one of these certified converter boxes priced between $40 and $70.  Update 7:15AM - There are a total of 33.5 million coupons available and as of right now for this update, roughly 3.3 million coupons have already been ordered.  Last week the count was 2.9 million ordered.

You're not home free yet since your existing rabbit ears on your TV set won't work anymore.  At the very least you'll need an indoor passive antenna or a powered indoor antenna like this Philips amplified UHF/VHF antenna which sells for as little as $20 online or $48 at Circuit City.  If you already have one of these antennas you can hook it up and give it a try as soon as you get the coupon and converter box and see if you can get all the digital TV channels you want.

Ideally, you need an outdoor UHF antenna which typically sell for $40 to $80 but the hard part is running the coax cable from the roof to the TV.  You'll typically need around 100 feet or more of RG-6 cabling to attach the outdoor antenna to your TV which costs around $20 online.  If you already have a roof antenna and the cabling in place, you're really in luck.  AntennaWeb.org has some great information on choosing antennas and others pointed out that http://tvfool.com is great too.  With a good antenna in place, it will allow you to receive free standard definition digital television over the air.  You can even get high definition digital reception with any of the HDTVs sold in the last year for as little as $400.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware

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94 comments
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  • So when I decide to get Cable again...

    I will have to get all of these items, or get a new TV. Perhaps my television set will die before then.
    nucrash
    • No

      If you have cable/satilite, or going to get it, you can use any TV analog/digital because cable/satilite is not over the air. (Yes I know technically it is but that is not what is ending) Cable\Satilite and stores that sell TV's will be pushing to sell you a new TV which you do not need.

      If your cable is connected directly to your TV you are still good to go. And no you will NOT need to spend extra on getting the cables digital service, unless you want PPV(Pay Per View) or VOD(Video on Demand).
      BroGnorik
      • WRONG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        "If your cable is connected directly to your TV you are still good to go. And no you will NOT need to spend extra on getting the cables digital service, unless you want PPV(Pay Per View) or VOD(Video on Demand). "
        Your tv will not be able to decode the digital signal without a cable box.ANALOG TV will work only with a Conveter weather through CABLE or OVER the AIR!
        TheCableGuyNY
        • Still Wrong!!!

          "Your tv will not be able to decode the digital signal without a cable box.ANALOG TV will work only with a Conveter weather through CABLE or OVER the AIR!"

          My understanding is that the FCC will require Cable Operators to continue to provide analog signals at least until 2012. The big switch in 2009 is for over-the-air transmission only.
          kenneth.kelley@...
        • WRONG. Ever heard of...

          cable ready TV's? They can indeed de-code the cable TV, unless you want VOD/PPV or the movie channels. But Basic and Extended basic you do NOT need a cable box.

          The analog cable is NOT ending. It is over the air. Now cable companies in an attempt to make more money, may try to force people onto digital service but NO you do not have to have it.
          BroGnorik
  • Waste of taxpayer dollars

    I predict 40% of these coupons will be used by Frys geeks to see how the converter works and the used an ornament.

    This is a waste of tax payer dollars.
    Prognosticator
    • I hope not, since there will be people who need these

      nt
      georgeou
      • Nobody needs television.

        nt
        frgough
        • It is not a matter of need,

          rather a matter of want. You do not need to do anything, you want to do things.
          BroGnorik
          • No argument there.

            My problem is when the taxpayer is required to subsidize someone's wants.
            frgough
          • Touche!

            Exactly! Nice repost.

            ;^}
            thx-1138_
        • NT2 is so not listening here; we should have BTX Media computers including:

          Be pactiant nt and PC Gamers may well be our time to get both after the RCA, Magnovox and Insignia selloff their inventory into the currently presented market at Walmart and Best Buy. "Keep WINning and it will come."__ Jeremy McGrath
          rtirman37@...
        • Outdated and Misinformed

          Television provides warnings of impending weather emergencies and other vital services. You may be able to live without or get the information else where but TV is necessary.
          ShadeTree
          • TV is not necessary

            If you don't watch TV how good that warning? I don't even watch the channels that show local warnings for anything so even if they are there I don't see them. TV is not necessary. It's just nice to have.
            voska1
          • RE: TV is not necessary

            What about severe weather warnings? Those broadcasts are known to save lives.
            Altiris_Grunt
          • RE: TV is not necessary

            Sorry. That point was already made by Shadetree...
            Altiris_Grunt
          • And when the power is out because of the severe weather?

            That's what radios are for.
            frgough
          • It assumes everyone is watching

            Not everyone watches TV. So it's kind of moot point. Sure put out the warning but don't only broadcast on TV. Radio bulletins, internet as well. It's not necessary to have TV. I know a few people that don't have TVs at all. They seem just informed.
            voska1
          • ...

            No it isn't. Clean air is necessary, food is necessary, medical care is necessary, clean water is necessary, waste disposal is necessary.

            TV is nice to have. There are other ways to obtain information. Unlike the items I listed as necessary, you can live without a TV just fine. ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Tell that to

            the thousands of lives saved on May 3 1999 by television coverage of the tornado. They would have not lived had it not been for television.
            soonerproud