How to convert your old TV to receive digital TV over the air.
Now that you want to convert your old tv to digital, there are a few things you need to know. This article will help explain your options and help you decide whether or not to take that old favorite tv that is just collecting dust and convert it to receive the new digital tv signals that you may get for "free" by using an "off the air" antenna. We will also make recommendations taken from well known reviews such as Consumer Reports.
Introduction. The Reason for DTV.
Why is television going from the old analog television broadcast technology to digital? The Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 requires broadcasters to switch from analog (old technology), to all-digital broadcasting after February 17, 2009. Digital television provides a clearer picture and more programming but also does it more efficiently, using less of the airwaves. Our nation's airwaves are very congested and the problem is getting worse by the day.
Digital broadcasting will free up some of the nation's airwaves for fire fighters, police and other public service agencies to better communicate during emergencies and will allow consumers access to next-generation wireless services which take up even more "space" on the airwaves.
Does all of this effect me and my tv?
If you receive television programs free, over the air using "rabbit ears" or a rooftop antenna, you must take action and make decisions to continue to receive television service over the air after the changeover. Your older tv may not be designed to receive digital tv signals and will not work with the new digital transmissions. Effective 1 March 2007, new television sets that receive signals over-the-air, including pocket sized portable televisions, must include digital tuners for digital broadcasts. If your tv is older than that, it is the older analog type and will require an external digital tuner. As of this writing, all regular broadcast tv stations have made the digital changeover and you will NOT get the regular tv stations that you got before the changeover on your older tv without either buying a new tv or adding a converter box to the old one.
Since the changeover date is already in effect, "over-the-air" television viewers will need to either purchase a new device, called a digital-to-analog converter box; (DTV converter), subscribe to cable or satellite service; or purchase a television with a digital tuner to watch TV after that date.
What do you need to do?
You have to decide whether or not to get a converter box or go with Cable or Satellite tv to get reception on that old tv. Now is the time to identify any televisions in your home that receive free, over-the-air programming through an antenna. If you are hooked up to a "master tv antenna systems" that may be in apartment complexes and unless they have made provisions to get the digital tv for you, or have switched to cable or satellite, then you will have to do it for your old tv.
Ways to Prepare checklist:
A Few More Things You May want to Know!
Some companies will no doubt try to take advantage of the digital TV-transition confusion. Here are a few tips to help you make an informed decision before you buy or subscribe to something you may not need.
To clarify, you're tv is not affected by the DTV transition if you have one of the following:
* If if was
manufactured on or after March 1, 2007
If you own a TV that's
a few years old, a quick look inside your owner's manual may tell you if
your television has a digital tuner. Some TVs with this feature are
labeled, but if yours isn't, you can go to the manufacturer's website and
search for your model. It that's no help, then ask a local TV
Do not buy a
television that doesn't have
a digital tuner, unless you're planning to spend
more money on a converter box.
Connect your old tv to an outside tv antenna or a set of rabbit ears (if you live near the tv transmitting station). (The prefered is an outside antenna.)
Now tune to your favorite tv station that you received well before the DTV changeover using the same antenna.
Then try tuning the
tv to many other channels. If you get nothing but snow on the screen,
How to hook your new DTV converter
If you are
getting a "broken" picture that looks like a patchwork quilt, similar
to the picture below, Then you may need to use a better and higher tv
antenna or re-aim yours. If the tv stations are in different directions
from you, you may need to get an antenna rotor to aim it for each station
for best performance.
Recommend DTV Converters
There are numerous web-based resources you
should check out.
DTV Station Locator. Use to locate digital stations near you.
The latest FCC DTV channel allocation tables, organized by state - www.transmitter.com
FCC FAQs on Digital TV - http://www.fcc.gov/oet/faqs/dtvfaqs.html