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Digital TV Conversion

Excerpts from a larger discussion at:  www.dtvtransition.org

On February 17, 2009  the era of analog broadcast television in the United States will end as the nation completes its transition to an all-digital system.  While this change will mark the end of the traditional analog method of broadcasting over-the-air television, it wonít signal the end of free broadcast television, and your favorite broadcast programs and local television stations will still be available.

If you currently receive analog television over the air or via an antenna, youíll need to take action to continue watching your favorite stations.  TVs accessing "pay" television service such as cable or satellite aren't likely to be affected by the switch.

What is the digital TV transition?
The digital TV (DTV) transition is the switch from traditional analog TV to digital TV, a modern technology with many benefits. February 17, 2009 is the deadline by which traditional analog TV service will be shut off. The DTV service will be what remains. Most television stations are currently broadcasting their programming in both analog and digital until February 17, 2009. Analog television sets receiving free, over-the-air programming will still work after that date, but owners of these TVs will need to acquire converter boxes to change digital broadcasts back into the old analog format. Converter boxes will be available from consumer electronics retailers at that time. If youíre a cable or satellite subscriber, you arenít likely to be affected by the DTV transition, but you may want to check with your cable or satellite provider if you have questions about your service

What is the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Assistance Program?
On February 18, 2009, broadcast television stations will stop analog broadcasting and complete the transition to digital broadcasting. If you donít subscribe to cable or satellite services, youíll need either a television set capable of receiving DTV programming, or a digital-to-analog converter box.

Digital-to-analog converter boxes will make DTV signals viewable on analog TV sets. These converter boxes will be available in retail stores during the transition. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce is developing rules that will allow households to obtain coupons that can be applied toward the purchase of digital-to-analog converter boxes. For more information on the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Assistance program, visit NTIA's DTV Coupon FAQ.

How can I prepare for the DTV transition?
Preparing for the DTV transition is easy and requires one of three steps by February 17, 2009:

  • Purchase a new television set with a built in digital tuner.

  • Purchase a digital-to-analog converter box that plugs into an existing television. The boxes, which are expected to cost between $50 - 70 will be available for purchase in 2008. Beginning on January 1, 2008, U.S. households can request up to two coupons valued at $40 each. Each coupon can go toward the purchase of a single set-top converter box that will allow you to continue watching free "over-the-air" television on an analog set.                                                                                                     

  • Subscribe to a cable, satellite or telecommunications service provider if all desired local broadcast stations are carried by that service.                                                      

Any of these steps will ensure that "over-the-air" television consumers will continue to receive programming.

Preparing for the Digital Television Transition. Analog TV ends on February 17, 2009. $40 coupons for a "digital-to-analog" converter are now available at www.dtv2009.gov. For more information on the DTV transition click here Ľ

 

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