Digital Televisions

Digital Television - 1/15/08

INTRO: About this time next year, your TV could just stop working. And even worse, if you tune out this important update, you might miss Golden Opportunities!!

1. WHY WOULD OUR TV'S STOP WORKING NEXT YEAR?

A. On February 18, 2009, TV stations must switch from analog to digital broadcasts. This means that your old non-digital TV may no longer work, unless you plan ahead.

2. DO WE ALL HAVE TO RUN OUT AND BUY NEW TV SETS?

A. No. And don't let anyone scare you into buying something you don't need. In general, you'll have these options if you want to continue to watch television next year.

  1. You can buy a new TV with a digital tuner. In fact, if you bought a television last year, chances are good it already has a digital tuner.
  2. Subscribe to a cable or satellite service. In that case, contact your provider. You may need to get some additional equipment that will allow your regular old TV to work just fine.
  3. Purchase a digital converter, and possibly an antenna adapter, for your existing TV. You can get their converter boxes from a retail electronics store. Costs vary, but are running from about $40 to $80 each. You'll need one for each TV set.

3. DO I HAVE TO PAY THE ENTIRE COSTS FOR A CONVERTER BOX?

A. No. The federal government is offering to help. Each household is eligible for up to two $40 coupons which can be used toward the purchase of 2 converter boxes. The coupons are not limited to people with low income or savings.

4. HOW CAN WE GET MORE INFORMATION?

A. You can go to the Federal Communications Commission's special website at www.dtv.gov, or call 1-888-225-5322.

5. WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT FORCING THE CHANGE FROM ANALOG TO DIGITAL BROADCAST.

A. The main reasons are to enhance public safety by freeing up frequencies for police, fire, and emergency rescue services, and to make money. The government will be able to sell frequencies to private companies. But an added benefit is that the change offers improved picture and sound quality, and more programming options.

CLOSE: If you want to be able to watch Golden Opportunities, along with your second and third favorite shows next year, you'll have to get moving. But don't allow an aggressive salesperson to push you into a product you don't need.