The countdown has begun. If I understand correctly TV broadcasts as we have come to appreciate them will cease to exist on Feb 17, 2009… just a little over one year from now. If you’re like about 70,000,000 American’s, you do not pay for cable and you do not have satellite or other means of watching TV other than connecting to a TV antenna.
Next year, that won’t do you any good. All TV stations in America will be required to stop broadcasting that way. Why the change?
Simple: up to 7 digital channels can be transmitted in the same bandwidth that occupies the portion of the band of one regular TV channel. More programming. More commercials. And all of that, clearer with better sound. The government (and let me remind you, that’s me and you and our wallets) is offering to help with a $40 coupon to help pay for a digital converter
(which is really just a digital tuner
that can tune in these digital signals like your older TV tunes in analog signals) that will allow you to use your regular TV and antennae, while adapting the digital signal your antennae gather. The bonus is, most TV stations in larger metropolitan areas are already broadcasting digital signals anyway. Many people do not know that the “snowy, interference-laden” images they currently watch could be eliminated with one of these converters now. With the converter being your only new expense, the TV signals will still be free
, and you will be getting a much better picture and sound.
Update Coupon is valid “while the initial funds of $990 million
are available.” (from this Gov’t PDF
— Thanks WC.) This includes HDTV signals. Most modern TVs built in the last 2 years, 27″ or bigger already have a digital converter built in (check your user manual!). If you have recently purchased an HDTV, you do not necessarily have to pay for cable or dish to get HD digital TV. Local stations broadcast these signals for free, and your TV can decode the signal.
All HDTV signals are digital, but not all digital signals are HDTV — don’t get confused. Also, you do not have to buy a “converter” or digital tuner if you already pay for cable or dish: They are sending you a converted signal.
This is only for the people out there like my mom who only pick up TV shows over the air.