Everything you wanted to know about the transition but were afraid to ask

What Will Happen on February 17, 2009?
All TV stations in the United States will turn off the analog signals they have been broadcasting over the air since the beginning of television and start transmitting digital signals. Anything that uses an analog tuner like an older TV, most portable TVs, multiband radios with TV bands, etc. will not receive TV programs using only an external antenna. However, reasonably-priced converter boxes will allow you to use many of the old analog devices.

Who will be affected?
If you have a product that won’t receive a digital signal you may be able to use a converter box to make it work,
otherwise it will have to be replaced. If you get your TV signals from cable or satellite you won’t be affected.

What is a TV converter box?

A convert box takes digital signals in and outputs analog signals. You can hook up an antenna to the input on the converter box and your old TV to the output and you will be able to watch TV using the new digital signals.

Where can I buy a TV converter box?
You can buy a converter box online or at your local retailer like BestBuy or Radio Shack.

How much do they cost?
Converter boxes cost around $59. The government is providing every household with up to two coupons worth $40 each to be applied against the cost of a converter box.

Is one TV converter box better than another?
That’s a good question – check out CR

What’s the downside of a TV converter box?
The convert box runs through channel 3 or 4 on your TV set. That means you will need to change channels using the converter box remote and most likely, adjust volume on the TV set.

What else will I have to do?
Even if you buy and install a converter box, you may still not receive a TV signal because your old antenna may not be sensitive enough. You may have to buy a new indoor or outdoor antenna that is tuned to receiving the new signals.

Is it hard to hook up a TV converter box?
Most converter boxes come with everything you need to hook them up. Depending on your antenna type you may need a adaptor to attach the antenna.

How can I tell if my TV is analog or digital
Age, manual?

What if I have cable TV?
If you have cable TV coming into you set whether you have a set top box or not you should be in good shape and not require a converter box. However at some point in the future cable companies may decide to stop transmitting analog signals. At that time you may have no choice but to replace your TV.

What if I use a satellite dish?
Satellite TV users should not be affected. The satellite receiver box should continue to provide the analog signals that you current TV may require.

Why is the government doing this?
By eliminating analog signals the government is able to free-up some very desireable bandwidth that will be used for various purposes including emergency services and consumer wireless networking services.

If I decide to replace my old TV what’s the best way to dispose of it?
Unfortunately most recycling centers charge a fee for disposing of old TVs and computer monitors. Expect to pay about $5 – $7 per device. Mygreenelecronics.org takes your zip code and lists recycling centers nearby.


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