Soon, very soon, analog TV will be a thing of the past. It will become just another story parents will tell their children -- like walking to school through three feet of snow, uphill, both ways.
The End of TV as You Know it is Near
On February 17, 2009, broadcast TV stations will forever turn off their analog signals and start transmitting only in digital. For many, this will be a welcome change. A chance to finally watch all TV programming in full digital glory. And hopefully, they will also be in 1080i Hi-Def.
Big Changes Are Coming
Not since the advent of color has there been such a huge change in broadcast TV. And there's a good reason why this change has been planned.
- It will free up airwaves for public safety agencies (a good thing)
- It will free up airwaves for new wireless phone and Internet services (another good thing).
- And for people who don't have pay TV services, it will provide a clearer pictures and more broadcast channels.
But for as many as 26 million American households, turning off the analog signal will also mean no longer being able to watch TV on their older, analog TV sets that can only receive over-the-air signals.
Choices are good
If you happen to be one of the 26 million, you will have a couple options.
- Funds permitting, you can opt to buy a newer TV that has a built-in digital tuner.
- You can purchase a digital-to-analog TV converter box
TV Converter Boxes
Converter boxes are expected to cost between $59.95 to $69.95 and a list of retailers expected to start stocking them in February is available for download in PDF format.
Coupons. Get Your Coupons Here!
The good news is that starting today (Jan. 1, 2008), the federal government is accepting applications for coupons worth $40 off a no-frills converter box.
Every household is eligible for two coupons and the government is allocating $1.34 billion in coupons. That's a lot of coupons.
Even if you do have a TV with a digital tuner or subscribe to cable or satellite TV services (which don't require a converter), having a digital-to-analog TV converter box would be a good thing to have during emergencies or power outages.
Personally, even though I just got a sweet 50" Plasma TV as a great Christmas gift, I've opted to apply for a coupon.
You can also apply by;
Or via mail:
TV Converter Box Coupon Program
P.O. Box 2000
Portland, OR 97208-2000
Article of interest: Ten Things You Need to Know About HDTV
If you're interested in upgrading a nice LCD or Plasma TV, here are some current great deals on eBay.