Do I need a digital TV converter box?
I inherited an older Sony color TV from my folks, a really good Trinitron, and it works pretty well with the rabbit ears I've hooked up, but I'm anxious that it's going to become obsolete when TV signals go all-digital. Legitimate worry, or will my TV work just fine over the next few years until it dies?
It's been creeping up on us for a couple of years here in the United States, but you're right, in February of 2009, all television broadcasts will officially switch over to all-digital signals. Specifically, February 18, 2009 (why they didn't pick January 1 or even February 1 is unclear, but that's the gov't for ya).
Once that happens, your rabbit ears antenna and older Sony analog TV are going to cease receiving anything that'll be viewable. You can switch to cable (because cable converter boxes can output analog signals to your TV from a digital source) or satellite (for the same reason), but if you don't change anything you'll be in trouble.
The good news is that the government is offering a $40 coupon that you can apply to the cost of a converter box: a digital to analog TV converter box is your third option, and they'll cost approximately $50 each. The net difference of $10 is well worth letting your Sony continue to work in the next few years.
Now, how do you get that snazzy coupon? You can call and request a coupon at 888-388-2009 or you can visit the DTV 2009.gov Web site.
The first 22 million requests received will get a coupon (if you're keeping track, that represents a potential liability of $88 million to ensure people can keep getting their soap operas and crime drama) then the remaining coupons in the program will be allocated to people that don't have a pay service (e.g., cable or satellite).
This program is all administered by the Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, by the way.
Godo luck to you. I used to have a Sony Trinitron, actually, but now I have a Sony LCD digital HDTV and, well, it's an upgrade. :-)
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Reader Comments To Date: 67
is there a website where you can type in your
tv make model and see if you need a converter and
which type to get?
What D to A Converter TV boxes MUST HAVE:
Jump BACK- back and forth between 2 stations not in order
LOW SIGNAL - defeat ??
so a marginal station can still be received.
STEREO in composite video on ch 3/4?
NOT using captured stereo available at RCA jacks on back??
TURN ON AND OFF TV button - this button can be programmed to send the code to the TV, if the TV is near the Converter box.
DISPLAYS STATION AS COMMANDED by entering station number, even when the station was NOT detected during auto-search
TURN ON / OFF TIMER in converter box? And does it keep the time for 7 days in the week? How is control sent to TV?
Will two or more TV,s connected to one converter box work propertly?? OR do I have to get a converter box for each TV. My home has an common outside antenta that is shared by three TV,s.
In the information on the digital conversion boxes for TV, many brands are listed as needing one, but not Sony. I have not found a cite of the Sony company to which I can direct a question on whether my Sony TV needs a box. I have Sony model KV27546
serial 4101786 SML Dec. 1999, Chassis type BA40.
I purchased a 10" RCA under cabinet crt color tv just 2 years ago. This tv has no video/audio input jacks. Is there any way i can adapt a converter box to this tv?
I HAVE A TV THAT DONT HAVE A VIDEO|AUDIO INPUT JACK, CAN A CONVERTER BOX BE CONNECTED TO THIS TV?
how you work the box i don't know how
It is really easy to work the converter boxes. All you have to do is hook it into the back of your TV and follow the directions in the manual. It should take just a few minutes to get it all done.
Have 2 analog TV's connected to Comcast cable. The comcast person with whom I spoke said the Magnavox converts I got with the coupons from the gov. will not work with comcast - I will need to (apparently lease) a comcast converter, costs which will mean I pay for a converter every 7-9 months. Can this be? Why would a Magnavox converter not work? Would I not then be able to access digital stations? I'm thinking of getting rid of cable and going satellite, although some say weather affects satellite frequently. True?
They chose that date because it's after the superbowl, to ensure that there isn't a panic to get converter boxes all of a sudden. Read up...
Do these boxes work with Comcast signals?
I lost a couple of channels on my older TV and didn't want to rent yet another box from Comcast
Will I get a digital signal if I connect the converter box before feb. 17?
HAVE A TV THAT DONT HAVE A VIDEO|AUDIO INPUT JACK, CAN A CONVERTER BOX BE CONNECTED TO THIS TV?
if you live in hilly country with a poor signal already, will you need to purchase a "special" antenna to receive a good signal?
I have a common antenne for 4 tv is there an out side cionverter box that will work for all tv's? Or do I have to have a converter for each tv
i bought two the gov't converter boxes but neigher get a signal with a rabbit ears. my new tv uses rabbit ears and I get free hd channels but I am told to buy a smart antenna for the analog tv I think the gov't should give use rebates on outside antennas also. what is a smart antenna?
I have hooked up my converter box, however when it did the scan it said no data no channels. what does that mean. why does the box not work??
Thank you for you time
so is someone out there going to answer these questions for us???? before feb 17 Please
if i do not get a very good signal with a antenna to begin with, will my signal improve with the box. i can only get one fuzzy station (we all have to get cable out here)
If I have hdtv will I need a converter box if I still use tv antanna
So, one still needs a box even though I subscribe to cable? And, I won't be able to tape different programs on different channels at different times without being home to set the tuner on the box?
I have DISH Network and will be disconnecting. Do I need to reset my two TV's?
do i or can i use zinwell converter box on digital ready hd tv
I have dish network satellite but cannot get local channels through dish. I get local channels through antennae. How do I hook up converter box to tv, anntenae and satellite without having to disconnect and reconnect when I chose to watch local channels or satellite.
I hooked up the converter box, was working fine. But then I decided to unhook it, because I was unable to get some of the channels I previously got. Anyway, I hooked it up again & now I'm getting "no signal" message. What could be the problem since it worked before. Did the signal change, so perhaps I need to buy a new rabbit ears?
I need your help? I purchased a Sansonic Converter box FT-300A and I have connected it properly. I recieve all of the local Cleveland, Ohio channels accept for one local channel which is ch3. When I try to use the romote to enter ch3 on the screen shows me no channel and no signal.
So my question is why am I recieving all the local channels but not this certain channel 3. Please let me know if I have to switch to a digital attenna from rabbit ears? What can be done to get this local ch3 to be activated.
Also I have noticed that some of the local channels have a break up picture or stand still picture in place just like when a picture on satalite does.
It seems to me that if digital pictures and signals are going to be broken up by bad weather and lose its signal then digital is not the right system. Please advise me what can I do to get this one local ch3 problem solved.
Bob, I would call up the retailer from whom you bought the converter box. The channel 3 issue is an interesting one because so many consumer electronic devices use channel 3 on the TV as the input frequency, I wonder if there's a collision there? Check the back of the converter for a small slide-switch that lets you choose between channels 3 and 4 for the TV input frequency (or maybe it's part of the setup). And you're right, the new channels should look better than the old on-air ones, so perhaps you can call your cable provider to find out what's going on? Good luck!!
Will I have to have a separate converter box for each tv in my home?
Mike, yes you will, or you'll need some other way to split the signal from the converter box to your multiple TVs.
I JUST BOUGHT ANEW TV, DO I NEED TO GET CABLE OR DIRECT. CAN'T I JUST PLUG IT IN AND WATCH TV.
THANK YOU, KATHY
If i have a hd dolby digital tv, will i need to buy a converter box?
If so please email me! email@example.com or at my yahoo firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy and Sam, it's not about your TV. It's about the signal you feed into the television. If you're grabbing that off an antenna, you probably have a problem now that the switchover has happened. If you have cable TV, Dish or DirecTV you're good to go.
I have an RCA DTA800B converter box and I believe there is something wrong with it. When I plug in the power cord, the yellow light comes on although I did not press the standby button. The manual says the green light will come on when power is turned on but it does not. So my TV is not working since the box is not on.l There is no phone number at RCA to call for tech support and the retailer won't take back the box. They said that since it was bought with the coupon, I should call the FCC. I am at my wits end now and don't know where to turn for help.
Marilou, the retailer is out of line. Coupon or not, they were reimbursed for the purchase (they cash in the coupons and get the $$ to offset inventory costs and overhead) and they should stand behind the sale. They also know that the FCC is not set up to handle defective product returns. I'd go back and talk with the store manager. Good luck!
I have a Sony Analog TV with a converter box and an outdoor antenna easily 30 feet up on the roof. I am told online that I an supposed to receive 13 channels in my area Tacoma, WA (98444)according to signal. I only receive 6 channels, -the major networks are not picked up. Therefore, channel 2,4,6 9 are not picked up. I do receive 11-13x2 and a few other channels. Why? Thanks.
I see a lot of questions, but no answers . Are there any answers?
I too bought a converter box but it won't work with Comcast cable. They said I should be able to use it, but that the model is not on their list. Are there only certain DTV converters that will work with Comcast cable. Basic cable has a few digital channels I would like to get but it doesn't work with the converter I got. Sansonic FT-300A. Do I need a different box or does Comcast only work with their own 9rented) boxes?
Can you help me with a vcr recording problem? Since the digital tv conversion, I have not been able to get a signal or record anything with my vcr. I bought a new digital tv (Samsung model LN32B360 C5D 32") (TV works fine) The hookup I have is Coax coming into the house to the the vcr input and av cables from the vcr (Panasonic PV4022 purchased in June of 2002) to the tv output (also have coax from the vcr to the tv). The cable company is MDU which has a dish on top of each of our buildings and an antenna on the individual units.
When I try and program the vcr it only gives me a choice of L1,L2, and ch 38 for channels. When I hit the VCR/TV button to switch to vcr, I get this message on the screen "weak or no signal".
Is the problem that the vcr is too old or is it the cable company, or do you have an suggestions as to how i can set this up to record - preferrably recording one channel while watching another.
Thanks in advance,
I have a question for you, I picked AT&T U200, and the salesman told me I needed a AT&T digital converter box for each TV, and be billed $7 dollars each month. Will any Digital converter box work, or do I have to use only AT&T boxes?
i have a analog tv w/ rabbit ears. got a converter box and i can not get any signal to any tv stations. what else do i need to watch tv? i'm on a limited income, but i do like to watch tv. haven't been able to watch anything since they did away with analog.
I have a friend that states comcast service is
different in the city of chicago than the suburbs..says she does not need the adaptor box
when comcast changes its digital channels..Is this
so............Also claims she bought a digital ready tv and has rabbit ears on it....gets all local channels except for channel 2 which is a local channel...told her she needs a digital box
Right or wrong ?????
Question: I have just purchased a new Flat Screen Digital TV for my Masonic Lodge. I have not hooked it up yet or taken it out of the box. Do I need a digital antenna of some type to receive local stations? Being a Masonic Lodge, we have no need for Cable TV unless we have to.
Michael, hmmm.... there are some digital-ready TVs on the market that can 1. pull digital content off the air directly, and 2. work with cable services without using a cable box, so it is possible that your friend is telling you the truth. Surprised? You seem very skeptical of her. :-)
Jack, since TV stations switched to digital broadcast, there are a surprising number of digital channels you can pull out of the ether with an antenna, so I'd try that first before you go any further. Modern TVs also have a "scan for channels" feature: use that and let it step through the thousands of possibilities to see what it can find for your lodge, and good luck!
im really stuck my 42" plasma tv (LG) wont switch off ive tried the remote and also the manual button on the set???? I'm really confused i switch it off and after a few seconds it powers back up on its own. Any help would be greatly appretiated. ta
I installed a converter box on a TV in my home last year. It works great on all channels except for a single channel. The signal comes in distorted. Any suggestions?
I live in an apartment building that is serviced by Austar and of course we also receive the free to air stations. Both pay & FTA channels are received via what would be, given its age, an analog cabling system and an Austar dish. We have just installed new digital TV sets in most of the apartments.
Given that analog is to be turned off soon is it necessary to recable our building with digital cable? Should Austar be installing a new dish?What would be the bensfits of recabling with digital even if it wasn't entirely necessary. What would be the downside to doing nothing? Does the fact that there is a pay TV provider involved have any effect?
I apologise in advance for the multiple questions but your assistance will be much appreciated. It is very difficult to get most techs to talk in terms that the layman can understand.
thank you for responing to me
I have an older Sharp TV with cable and a cable box. If I get a new LCD/LED digital TV do I still need the cable box? I'm in Canada and we're doing the same switch on Aug 31st as the US did.
I have rabbit ears connected to an VCR/DVD combo then to and HD TV. How dow I record channels?
I have a HD TV, I connect to rabbit ears through my VCR/DVD. Problem is I want to record TV programs on the VCR, how do I accomplish this?
If you have a traditional antenna, Arkie, you'll only be able to record programs on your VCR if it has its own built-in tuner. If so, then you'll want to hook it up:
Antenna --> VCR --> TV
If you want to add a DVD player I think you'd want this:
Antenna --> VCR --> DVD --> TV
Because in my experience, DVD players generally don't have tuners built into them any more. Good luck!
I have a Sanyo TV Model DP42647 that I bought in Nov 2007 and now it has black streaks down the middle of the screen like "falling rain".It is a LCDHDTV, is the screen going bad?
I am trying to hook a box without instructions. Can you tell me how or where to get manual/instructions.
Also, we were told that with the new TV we have, we should be able to pick up several stations with just rabbit ears. Can you tell me anything about that?
Thanks in advance for any info.
Hi! I am moving to Brazil and would like to take a LED Sony TV with me.Do I need buy a converter box since tvs there are built on PALM mode? Does it make tv work properly?
Thank you for your help!
You Americans are lucky. We have to pay $50 plus taxes for the boxes because our government just left us high and dry.
I'm really angry over this because a lot of Canadians can't afford these boxes. They just want us to throw our TV's away so they can retrieve the gold out of them, so when I finally break down and chuck mine out I'm going to smash it first and make sure it goes into the dump instead of the recycle bin. The government isn't going to profit from me twice.
I have just bought a brand new flat screen tv. And with no cable, will I need a converter box and rabbit ears? I live in an apartment and comcast is the only cable company around. With there price hikes, I had to drop them. Can anyone help me. Please email me at email@example.com
WHY CAN'T THE CONVERTER BOXES BE TURNED OFF?????
Hi davei have a question about the digital adapters for Time Warner Cable. I moved into the house i currently live in about 3yrs ago. The landlord at the time told us we didn't need to pay for cable because he's had it hooked up for free for almost 18years. my house was sold and we have a new landlord now and he as well knows about the free cable. my question is, will i be able to get an adapter or because im not a time warner customer will i get in trouble for having free cable even though it wasn't me that hooked it up? (I was told by my landlord that he cancled his survice with them years ago and TWC never disconnected. I don't know how true that is but that is what i was told. thanks Dave.
I friend of mine has a 13" RCA True Flat DTV. He doesn't have cable and this tv is cable ready. He bought a digital converter and an antenna we scanned the channels and we can only get one channel it is channel 7. Is there anything you can suggest or what are we doing wrong.
I have just bought a brand new flat screen tv. And with no cable, will I need a converter box and rabbit ears? I live in an apartment and comcast is the only cable company around. With their high price hikes, I cancelled them. Thanks for any information you can provide!
Patrice, a modern TV should be digital ready, so what I would suggest - and this is going to sound weird - is to hook up your TV to the cable coming into your house, then let it "search for channels". You might well have a fair number of channels sitting there for public access without a converter box or subscription, channels with weird channel numbers like "96.1". Good luck.
perhaps someone can guide..I have an older off brand tv with coaxial port on back. I hooked my motolrola converter box to my tv. I hooke my digital antenae to converter box. problem is I get no signal when I check the antenae. The tv works great when I hook it up to dish. I am trying to recieve a channel not shown by dish anymore in my area.
I have a digital television and presently have cable. I am considering discontinuing my cable subscription - can I use a digital converter on this television? thanks
Hi Dave, I purchased RCA DTA800B1 digital converter box and hooked it up. Everything worked fine for about an hour when the picture started breaking up, digitally fragmenting/buffering. I retuned the box and hooked another brand up, and pretty much the exact same thing happened, what gives?
I don't see any answers to these questions ! I'm going NUTS !!! I am home bound on disability and the T.V. is my life line . The last "help" site I went to answered questions as if I was a T.v. repairman and I didn't understand a thing that was said !!!! How do you get any help in layman's terms ??? I have a roof antena and rabbit ears and I used to get 40 channels for a few months , Now , tonight I have NOTHING ! spent over an hour making tiny , slight adjustments and waiting . NOTHING !!! I wonder if the cable ,dish ,direct tv companys have made a deal with the government to force us all to buy into one of them , REALLY ! This is B.S. !!!!
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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