Thursday, February 5, 2009

Digital TV premier delayed until June

TV goes digital 6/12/09
Now you have until June 12 before the nation cans analog television broadcasts in exchange for digital signals. Then, not Feb. 17, you'll need a digital TV, digital subscriber service or a digital converter to stay tuned.

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com
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Deadline Newsroom - President Barack Obama is expected to sign legislation that will delay the transition to digital television until June 12.

Broadcasters were expected to make the switch anytime after Feb. 17 and can still do so if they wish. The delay is designed to give consumers more time to prepare.

Now, after June 12, when the nation cans analog television broadcasts in exchange for digital signals, you'll need a digital TV, digital subscriber service or a digital converter to stay tuned.

If you are still climbing a ladder to adjust your rooftop TV antennae or leaving the couch to reposition those "rabbit ears," your TV won't need help until after June 12.

To stay tuned with your low-tech analog TV, you'll need have to get a digital converter to dumb-down the signal for your low-tech TV.

Otherwise all channels will be full of "snow" and white noise.

(Things get complicated if you have an analog VCR recorder! Read the FCC's solution.)

Luckily, free coupons worth $40 each, two per household, are now available from the federal government to help you defray the $50 to $70 cost of a converter. Converters are available from electronics retailers and other merchants. Consumer Reports rated the 1 Zinwell and 9 Channel Master tops in converters, but rated many converters as "Recommended".

Remember, the transition is from analog to digital, which only requires that your TV has a digital tuner, your cable or satellite TV service provides digital tuning or that you get a converter for over-the-air digital reception.

You do have some other options in addition to the digital-to-analog converter, which, again, is only necessary to get the digital signal over the air via an antennae to your analog TV.

• You will not need the converter if you own a digital TV, even if you get over-the-air antennae signals. The digital TV converts the signal with it's built in digital tuner.

• You will not need the converter if you subscribe to a cable or satellite service, even if you have an analog TV. Your service converts the signal for you.

• The transition does not require you to buy a high definition TV (HDTV), unless you want to take advantage of a high definition video image.

• Digital TVs that are not HDTV are priced comparable with the newest analog TVs.

• You can watch HDTV programming with a digital TV, with a digital service or with a digital converter, you just won't get the full HDTV image quality.

Since March 2007, all TV reception devices -- including video cassette recorders (VCRs) and digital video players and recorders (DVRs) -- should be clearly marked as analog, digital or HDTV.

Also, analog products must be displayed with or near a consumer alert label that designates it as analog, while disclosing what is necessary to use it with the digital signal.

The coupons for digital converters are offered, along with more information, from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

You can also call the 24-hour federal hotline at 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009) to sign up for the $40 coupons and to get more information.

Another web site, the Federal Trade Commission's "Countdown To DTV Transition" also offers digital conversion information.

Are you prepared? Take the Online Quiz offered by the DTV Transition Coalition.

Wilmington, N.C. went digital Sept. 8, 2008.

Hawaii went digital Jan. 15, 2009.

© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist, parlayed 30 years of old-school journalism into a digital real estate news service, the San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews Group -- DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service and Web site and the Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's news back shop. Perkins is also a National Real Estate Examiner. All the news that really hits home from three locations -- that's location, location, location!

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