DTV 101--The switch to Digital Television: Part 1

Since TV began it has broadcast an analog signal. In February 2009 all full power stations will be required to turn off the analog signal and go 100% digital. What does that mean to you?

If you have an analog TV you won't be able to get the signal unless you get a subscription to a cable or a satellite service or you can get one a converter box. The box will convert the new digital signal to analog so your old TV will still work.

The converter box sells for about 50 dollars. The government will provide two 40 dollar coupons per household, similar to credit cards and you would use to buy your converter box.

Once you get the box home the set up is very easy. For a video demonstration, just click on the link at the top of this story.

Once the box is hooked up the first thing you will notice is the digital signal enhances both the picture and sound. A remote control comes with the converter that will allow you to adjust the picture size.

Right now every full power station in the South Bend-Elkhart market is broadcasting in digital. Another nice thing about digital is that it allows you to watch several different channels from the same station.

WNDU broadcasts on 16.1, 16.2...stations offer 24 hour weather, and network and syndicated programs.

There is a downside to digital—you either get a clear picture or a blank screen. No more static or snowy signals. Reception is all-or-nothing.

If you are using rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna and are getting a clear picture now, it will most likely work with the digital signal.

Again, you don't need a converter box if you are a cable or satellite subscriber. It is only if you receive the signal over the air.

And if you need the 40 dollar coupons to get the converters, just go to the Big Red Bar on the left of your screen and click on the TV coupon link.

In Part 2 of our series, we will talk about H-D, high-definition television.

This is the ultimate digital signal and it is available over the air at no cost—another benefit from the switch to digital television.

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