Analog to Digital TV Conversion - Comments Page 1

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Posted by:

John Cletheroe
02 Feb 2008

Bob, Good stuff, but might it be worth adding a big bold comment right at the start of this article to make it clear that it only refers to the USA and that the situation regarding the analogue to digital tv switchover in other countries is different?

Posted by:

william webb
04 Feb 2008

Will broadcast be in 4x3 standard or 16x9 widescreen after feb 08?

EDITOR'S NOTE: The digital cutover will be in Feb 2009, a year from now. And you may be confusing Digital with HD. Even when all TV broadcasting is in Digital, there will still be both Standard Definition (typically 4x3) and High Definition (typically 16x9) broadcasts.

Posted by:

12 Feb 2008

I still don't see anything that states whether we need an individual converter box for EACH TV in our house. Can the cable company's cable connect to the converter before entering the house? And, why are we getting TWO $40. vouchers?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I think you answered your own question -- one converter per analog TV. And note that if you are getting your TV signal from cable, the entire issue is moot.

Posted by:

Anne Tanner
12 Feb 2008

Forgive me, because I'm about to be unfashionable. To me this is a huge expense waiting to happen. I do understand that, since I have cable, I will continue to get a signal, though it will continue to be analog because my set is as elderly as I am. But I cannot believe that the cable monopolies in the United States will not use this excuse to double or triple their fees. Furthermore, if you wish to get the allegedly superior signal, you must buy a new television, which is particularly hard on the elderly, the poor, and other classes that Congress doesn't pay much attention to. In other words, this is a TV tax passed by Congress, and I feel like the child saying, "The emperor is wearing no clothes." I do hope I'm wrong.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Anne, no new TV is required... just the signal converter. With the $40 voucher, it should carry little or no cost.

Posted by:

ann leisten
12 Feb 2008

Does ANYONE have any information regarding some type of converter to use with an am/fm/tv band radio...since the signal obviously, will no longer be available for use. I have two almost new Sangean radios specifically for the purpose of listening to tv on my radio..and I fear these will now be useless for that purpose, unless someone has come up with a conversion system of some kind. Any information will be most appreciated.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If your radio has a place to attach TV antenna leads, then I think you should be able to insert the digital-to-analog converter between the antenna and the radio. If the antenna is built-in, you're probably going to have to buy a new radio. Unless you can get the UHF band... that's where the digital TV signals will be.

Posted by:

Jim - Ontario Canada
12 Feb 2008

Anybody have any idea how this will play out north of the 49th parallel?

EDITOR'S NOTE: The CRTC set a date of August 31, 2011 for the digital TV cutover in Canada. For other countries, see

Posted by:

Dave in Indy
12 Feb 2008

Bob thanks for incorporating the info that I had mentioned on Low Power stations into this piece. This is one of the most comprehensive articles on the DTV conversion that I have ever seen. You rock!

Some sales clerks have no idea that several stations have been broadcasting DTV for years (on an auxiliary channel). Maybe the clerks should read this.

Posted by:

The Merc
12 Feb 2008

You missed a VERY IMPORTANT story:

Basically, w/o a cable hookup regardless if you live in a large metro area or somewhere in the boonies you may never again get [free] TV reception.

EDITOR'S NOTE: That's not what the article says. Some market research firm has released a study asserting that some (small) percentage of people may not be able to get (1 or 2) channels. The FCC studies disagree. We'll see...

Posted by:

Virginia M. Mayo Black
13 Feb 2008

I've tried on 4 separate occasions to apply for a pair of the television coupons. All times have been unsuccessful. I appreciate the upgrade in technology -- and, of course, your explanation. But when you have to keep "fighting" the website and still end up with nothing, there's something wrong with the process. Oh well. I'm betting my husband and I will be stuck paying full price for the converter boxes. And heaven help the folks who do not have computers or have a lower frustration threshhold.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you have trouble with the website, call 1-888-388-2009.

Posted by:

13 Feb 2008

Bob: Interesting gotcha for this government program. You can get a free $40 coupon from the digital TV website that is good for 90 days. When you take it to your friendly local electronics store to buy the converter box (Radio Shack and Best Buy in my town) the clerk at the store says, "Sorry, we don't have any converter boxes in stock. Come back later." What happens if "later" happens to be more that 90 days?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I guess it's a good idea to wait until this fall to get the voucher.

Posted by:

Dave in Indy
15 Feb 2008

In response to "The Merc," and to the Editor. That may have been true a few years ago but with newer digital to analog converters, the chip's inside have been getting better. Many statiosn have DTV reassignments that are UHF, while the analogs had been on VHF. So you might need an antenna upgrade but you should be able to get what you got before. Again check and do a search by your address. Cable and satellite companies are going to wear out the "misinformation train" with lies at attracting confused customers.

Posted by:

15 Feb 2008

Pardon me for possibly being dense... Are those those of us with analog TV sets... and "basic" cable service (no cable converter box) going to need digital-to-analog converters? Seems to me (maybe I am wrong) that the signal coming down the cable line is digital anyway, is it not?

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you have cable, you should not need to do anything. Cable broadcasts are not affected.

Posted by:

15 Feb 2008

I have a Zenith 9" portable TV set. No cable, no exterior antenna hookup, just works on it's own antenna. Is this set done for in the digital age? After 20 years, I think I'm going to miss it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If it doesn't have a coax connector, or those two little screws to hook up the antenna, you won't be able to connect the digital to analog adapter.

Posted by:

20 Feb 2008

I just purchased a converter box and although it gives me a nice picture I am having trouble figuring out how to make it work with my VCR. The converter box dumps all the channels on to either channel 3 or 4 and then you tune through that channel to the channel you want on your tv. Now if I want to record channel A from 8 to 9 pm and channel B from 9 to 10 pm how can I do that?

EDITOR'S NOTE: What kind of converter box did you install? The analog to digital switchover is not for another year, so I'm a little confused about your comments.

Posted by:

21 Feb 2008

Howdy Bob. I have a rather large dayroom where 20-30 people watch a single analog TV. Some of them have their own small hand held TVs, but do not get good reception, so they watch the larger one. Is there something out there that will be able to re-broadcast the analog signal within the building so everyone can pick it up no matter where they are?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I poked around a bit and couldn't find anything like you describe. If it exists, it's probably expensive and geeky.

Posted by:

28 Feb 2008

Hi - word from the UK where we are indeed a good way down this road as Bob said.

1 Lucky you! No government vouchers for us - you've got to buy your own box.

2 Wow - what a fast changeover: UK won't complete until 2011 and from the sounds of it started before the US.

3 It is worth it as the number of channels expands greatly (including "+1" channels, transmitting the same schedule but delayed by an hour for htose who get home late)

4 You can only use a VCR etc to record the station coming through the digibox - which is also the one you're watching. So unless you get a high-spec "dual-tuner" box, you have a problem and probably need to get a second box for the VCR. Oh and another for every TV in the house. Ooops!

5 Although you can keep the same antenna, an upgrade is worthwhile ($100?) as some digital transmissions are at lower power (theoretically, digital is more resistant to interference, which means they don't need to blast out the signal to cover the noise as much - so if your reception is marginal onm a station at present you might lose it altogether)


Posted by:

28 Feb 2008

Wiil these converter boxes "convert" the "digital" signal from a satellite or digital cable feed, if even for just the basic channels to be able to use a dvr or TIVO or dvd recorder?

EDITOR'S NOTE: My understanding is that the D2A converters are for over-the-air broadcast signals only.

Posted by:

29 Feb 2008

It is not widely known about the 90 day expiration and you can't get another coupon. Any reason for this that you know of. Some folks are going to get screwed.

EDITOR'S NOTE: It's probably to reduce fraud. The application form for the converter boxes does say right at the top: "IMPORTANT: Coupons will expire within 90 days of the date they are mailed."

Posted by:

10 Mar 2008

I wanted to point a few things out for those wondering about analog cable/sat:

"The 80% of television viewers that use cable or satellite television will not be immediately impacted. Virtually all satellite users and an increasing number of cable users already use set top boxes to view programming, and analog cable television is being phased out in many markets."

This means that cable/sat analog channels will eventually be turned off as well. I haven't figured out if this will end at the same time as the over-the-air broadcasts, but from the wording it seems unlikely in the US/Can.

As for the question Connie had about her VCR not working with her converter box:

"Some existing analog equipment will be less functional with the use of a converter box... video recorders for analog signals (including VCRs) will not be able to select channels, limiting their ability to automatically record programs via a timer or based on downloaded program information."


Posted by:

15 Mar 2008

Thanks alot for your informative article! It helped me quite a bit. I was totally confused.

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