Deck the Walls with HDTV

Tuesday, December 4th 2007, 11:38 am
By: News 9

By Joel Craig, NEWS 9 contributor

The impending end to TV as we know it is inevitable. The day when all television will be broadcast only in HDTV is coming. February 2009 is the supposed doomsday for non-HD television. You can survive the next phase in television without spending thousands of dollars.  

If you get your TV through a cable or satellite provider, you won't need to do anything. But if you rely on an antenna and you either have an older TV or a newer one with no built-in digital tuner, you'll need a converter box.

Fortunately help is on the way. Starting January 1, 2008, all households will be eligible to request two coupons to be used toward the purchase of government approved HDTV converter boxes. There are a limited number of these $40 value coupons, as Congress has authorized a limited amount of money to cover the program.

Details on how to apply for the coupon program from the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration will be released later this year.

There will be many models of HDTV converter boxes available, but not all of them will qualify to use the coupon.

If the box can only output an analog signal to your TV, basically to use on an older TV, it probably will qualify. But if the box also has connections to output an actual HD signal to a newer HD-TV, that box won't qualify.

The converter box will require an antenna on your roof, in the attic or rabbit ears. Even if you have a full HDTV, you don't have to pay extra to cable or satellite companies to watch local channels in high definition, all you need is an antenna.

In next week's Tech Talk, Joel Craig will spill more beans on what to look for when buying an HDTV.

Originally aired Nov. 8, 2007