DTV Plain and Simple

DTV Plain And Simple
Feb 17th – Turn On, Tune In, What Happened?

Just about five months from now on February 17, 2009 analog TV signals will be turned off and only digital TV signals will be transmitted over the air. This is the biggest change to standard TV signals since color TVs were introduced over 50 years ago. What does this mean for you and other TV owners?

Retrevo.com offers this overview of what you need to know and just in case you want to use this event as an excuse to bring your TV or Grandma’s TV up to 21st century standards, Retrevo has recommendations for the best values in TV sets and DVD recorders including HDTV LCD TVs, DVD recorders, and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs).

It's All in the Tuner
NTSC tuners take analog signals from an antenna, cable, or other connection and turn them into something you can see and hear on your TV set. To receive programming over the air (OTA), NTSC or analog tuners are usually connected to external rabbit ears or rooftop antennas. Many TV sets hooked up to a basic cable connection also use an analog TV tuner to display all the non-premium channels but these won’t be affected in February.

On February 17, 2009 analog signals will not be available over the air and all tuners getting signals over the air will need to be ATSC tuners which accept digital signals. TVs can receive digital signals over the air, often using the same external antennas but they’ll need to have an ATSC digital tuner in order to hear or see anything. Cable-based systems should not be affected since cable companies should continue to offer analog signals for most basic cable channels. Satellite systems already transmit digital signals and should not be affected either by the switchover.
If you happen to have a TV or device with an analog tuner you have two choices. You can buy a converter box and possibly use a government issued coupon to get a discount or you can replace the old analog-based TV with a brand new digital one.

Converter Boxes
A converter box will most likely be the cheapest solution especially if you use a $40 coupon for a $60 converter box however it could make for a few problems. For starters, you’ll have another remote to deal with. If you’re lucky, your universal remote will work with your old TV and the converter box but Grandma will have to figure out how to switch devices on the remote to raise the volume. You’ll also have something else to plug into an outlet and fit on the shelf. Some estimates claim there are 30 million analog sets that will require converter boxes or will need to be replaced.

The federal government is offering $40 coupons that consumers can use on a basic converter box. You can request up to two coupons per household now through March 31, 2009 . Remember the coupons are only good for 90 days so make sure there is something available to purchase before requesting a coupon. DVRs or DVD Recorders come with digital tuners and are reasonably priced, but are not eligible for the government coupons.

Retrevo for HDTV Info

Don’t forget to check out Retrevo.com for reviews and manuals for all the latest gear and gadgets like Digital Cameras, HDTV,Camcorders, Laptops, GPS, and more.

Converter Box Buying Guide
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