The upcoming USA conversion to digital television transmissions will arrive on February 17, 2009. This has been dubbed as DTV Day or Digital Day. Many people are confused about the transition to digital and what they may have to do to be prepared for DTV day. We’ve compiled a list of questions and answers to help make sure that you are ready for the big day.
How much time will I have to convert to digital television?
There will not be any grace period for you to convert to digital television. At midnight on February 17, 2009, television stations in the USA are required to stop broadcasting analog television and switch to digital broadcasting. Basically, you will go to sleep after watching your last analog television program on February 16 and wake up with digital programs.
Will my current analog television still work with digital television broadcasting?
If you are using an antenna and have purchased a newer television with an ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) digital tuner your television should still work. Consult your television manual if you are not sure if your television has an ATSC tuner. If you are using an older television with an analog tuner and are currently receiving your television broadcasts via an antenna, your television will no longer work unless you install a digital-to-analog converter box. The converter boxes are expected to cost about $70. The US government has a program where you can obtain a $40 discount coupon to take the sting out of the price for buying a converter box.
Do I need a converter box if I use cable of satellite services?
If you are using a paid television service, such as cable or satellite, you should not need a converter box. The television service is supposed to handle the digital signal conversion. Check with your local cable or satellite service to see if you will need to take any action as part of the conversion.
Will all of my television programs be in high definition after the conversion?
Unfortunately, no. The transmissions will be digital, but they will not be in high definition unless you pay extra for high definition services through cable or satellite services. It looks like obtaining high definition after DTV Day will work pretty much the same as it does today.
Why is the government forcing television stations to go digital?
This program has been in the works for a long time. First, digital television offers sharper images, overall better quality and more programming options. Second, digital transmissions are more efficient and take up less “airwave space”. The US government is auctioning the frequencies currently used by analog transmissions and expects to pull in billions of dollars in new revenue for the use of these frequencies. I read somewhere that this will be used to pay off part of the national debt and is required to be used for this purpose as part of the Debt Reduction Act of 2005.
If you have additional questions about the conversion to digital television, post your questions in the Leave a Reply section below. We will try to answer as many of your digital television conversion questions as we can.