Digital TV Transition


Digital television (DTV) is the new format used to broadcast TV programming instead of the older analog technology. Digital technology allows for additional capabilities like a clearer picture, better sound quality, a wider range of channels and a host of features not available with analog technology.

Congress voted to delay the target date of Feb 17 to June 12. Now, on June 12, 2009 broadcasters will be required by law to turn off their analog signals.

The “Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005” requires TV stations to stop broadcasting in analog and broadcast only in digital after June 12, 2009. With the new Digital TV broadcasting deadline approaching there will be many changes and issues during the next year. The biggest change is that consumers will need to decide how they will continue to get televised programming after the change to digital.

Non-cable/satellite consumers with analog televisions who wish to receive the full-power broadcast channels after the switch to digital, have the following options available:

Purchase a digital to analog converter box that will plug into your current analog TV,
Purchase a TV with a digital tuner,
Connect the analog TV to cable, satellite or other pay service.

US Department of Commerce

In an effort to remove some of the burden or cost to consumers who will still have an analog TV after the transition, the US Department of Commerce has started a TV converter box coupon program. The coupon recipients will have 90 days to redeem them for a converter box. More information on the coupon program can be found online at: .

Federal Communications Commission
The FCC has a website with additional information about the DTV transition and is located at:

If you purchase a digital-to-analog converter box to watch digital broadcasts on an analog TV and also wish to continue watching analog programming broadcast from stations in either Mexico or Canada, you should purchase a converter box with "analog pass-through" capability, which allows analog broadcast signals to pass through the converter box to be tuned by your analog TV. Converter boxes with analog pass-through capability will also enable you to watch U.S. low-power and translator television stations, most of which will continue to broadcast in analog. (For more information on low-power and translator TV stations, see our Consumer Advisory entitled “The DTV Transition and LPTV/Class A/Translator Stations,” located at

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