Will your TV work after February 17?
On February 17, 2009, television stations will cease broadcasting analog TV signals, those normally picked up by an antenna, and start broadcasting digital TV signals.
If you are receiving broadcast television now via an indoor (rabbit ears) or outdoor antenna, your television will stop working on February 17. Your antenna will still receive the signal, but the signal will be unintelligible and your TV will not be able to display the programming.
You will either have to install a converter box to convert the signal from digital to analog, or if your television has a digital tuner, rescan or auto-tune the channels to set them up.
If you are connected to a cable TV system or a satellite TV system, you will not have a problem since those systems already handle digital TV signals.
A closer look
Analog televisions – If you have an analog TV and receive television signals free and do not subscribe to a cable or satellite TV service, you have three options: purchase a DTV converter box, purchase a digital TV set, or subscribe to a cable or satellite television service.
If you want to keep your analog TV, purchase a DTV converter box and install it between your antenna and television.
DTV converter boxes are available at most electronic retailers including Best Buy, Circuit City, Kmart, Radio Shack, Sears, Target and WalMart.
Households may apply for up to two $40 coupons from the National Telecommunica-tion and Information Admin-istration to be used toward the purchase of DTV converter boxes.
To apply for a coupon, telephone toll free 1-888-DTV-2009 or go online to the web site https://www.dtv2009.gov/ ApplyCoupon.aspx.
Digital TV with antenna – If you receive your TV signals via an outdoor antenna or rabbit ears, you may have a TV with a digital tuner.
To find out if you have a digital tuner, look for the ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) tuner identifier on the set, look in the manual or contact the manufacturer.
You will have to rescan for or auto-tune the channels to find the digital broadcasts in your area.
One possible problem is televisions on the very outskirts of the viewing area, those that are now receiving a very week analog signal, may not be able to pick up the digital signal.
In recent FCC tests conducted in Wilmington, North Carolina, it was found the digital TV signals did not reach some remote areas that the analog signal reached.
Cable television – Any TV set in your home connected to a cable TV service will not have a problem. However, any TV set in your home that is not connected to the cable system will have to be upgraded as noted above.
Satellite television – Any TV connected to a satellite television system will not have a problem receiving digital TV signals. But, some satellite systems charge extra for local channels. So some installations use an analog antenna to pick up local channels.
If this is the case, you will either lose those channels, need to subscribe to them through your satellite TV provider or install a converter box.
More information on switching over from analog to digital TV may be found at the web site http://www.dtv answers.com/dtv_how.html.