Monday, May 19, 2008

Your TV May Not Work After February 17

At midnight on February 17, 2009, almost all television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. This is supposed to provide a clearer picture and more programming options.

One drawback: if you don't have cable or satellite, your TV isn't going to work in 275 days. And it's possible that your VCR will lose about 50% of its functionality.

If you don't want to dump your brand new analog TV just yet, you can buy a TV Converter Box to convert the digital signal to an analog signal. In its wisdom, Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for people wishing to keep using their analog TV sets after February 17. You can get up to two coupons, each worth $40, that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes.

The boxes are running $60 - 70 in Downtown Brooklyn. (we picked up a Digital Stream DTX9900 at Radio Shack for $60 (- $40 coupon) for a total of $20 at Radio Shack. You can't use the coupon online at Radio Shack; you have to go to the store.

Why You May Need Two Converter Boxes, Even If You Only Have One TV:

With one converter box, your old VCR will not be able to record programs on channels other than the one you are watching, and you won't be able to program it to tape a show in advance. To record one program while watching another you will need two converters. So make sure you request both $40 coupons. (If you don't need them, someone else will.)

We're not sure if you can override this whole problem by watching and recording through a new digital VCR. Any TV techies out there?


CK1 said...

Many really new TVs, VCRs, DVD recorders (as in this year or last), have built-in digital tuners. Instead of two converters, it might simply be time for a $150 DVD burner.

bj said...

Can you run your TV through a DVD burner?