Do You Need a Digital Converter Box for Your TV?

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 11:39am.

On Feb. 17, 2009, major U.S. television stations will stop broadcasting analog signals and send only digital transmissions. Some questions and answers about the transition:

_ Why is this happening?

Stopping the analog broadcasts will free up a huge amount of airwaves. The government has auctioned off some of them for use by wireless broadband and cell-phone TV. There's also a drive to use some of the spectrum for a network that can be used in emergency situations by public safety officials.

_ Do I need a digital converter box?

If you have cable or satellite TV, only extra sets that are not hooked up will be affected. If you get TV over the air _ which more than 19 million U.S. households do, according a survey by Nielsen Co. _ your TV might not work come Feb. 18. Most new TVs sold today, including flat-panel sets, have digital tuners, sometimes called "ATSC" tuners after the technical standard they use, and won't need a converter box.

"NTSC" is the old, analog tuner standard. Retailers can still sell older TVs if they are labeled as being analog-only.

_ How much do the converters cost?

Go to or call 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009) to get up to two $40 coupons per household. The converter boxes generally cost $50-$60, so the final cost is between $10 and $20 per box.


AP - April 23, 2008 - posted at

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 11:39am.