Get Your Converter Box Now

Thursday, January 22nd 2009, 6:54 pm
By: News 9

By Joel Craig, NEWS 9 Contributor

In less than four weeks television stations will make the switch to digital.

And while some are tired of hearing about it, many more are still confused about just what it means.

Right now February 17 is still the official date to change over to digital television. There has been talk about possibly delaying the transition date but most of the TV industry is against changing it. This change has already taken over 10 years to happen and a lot of money has been spent by the industry and the government to make people aware. There are also the billions spent by companies in other industries to obtain the rights to use the airwaves that carried the analog TV signals and the cost to TV stations to maintain two systems.

If you use an antenna to receive TV and you don't have a newer digital set then on February 17 you will no longer receive TV. It's that simple. If you receive your TV programming through a cable or satellite company, then you don't have to do anything, you will continue to receive TV like you always have no matter how old your TV is. But let me advise you that I think everyone with an analog TV should have at least one converter box. Why? Because if you've ever experienced a loss of cable or satellite for hours or days at a time you won't be able to just connect rabbit ears, you'll need a converter box.

Those old battery operated TVs you keep in case of an emergency aren't going to be receiving over the air TV either. I'm afraid they will need to be recycled as I don't know of any battery operated converter boxes ever sold.

If you haven't done it already now is the time to get your converter box. The government coupon program has run out of money and I think by the time the NTIA figures out if there is any money available from unused coupons the switch over date will have already passed. Another reason is many in the industry think there may be a converter box shortage for those who wait till the last minute. Current rumors are saying there could be a shortage of up to five million boxes. While this may not happen, why wait? You're missing out on unbelievable picture quality and additional free programming available now with digital TV.