Entertainment &Hardware Wes Novack on 06 Dec 2008

Does your TV support digital broadcasts?

Does your TV support digital broadcasts?

We’ve covered the digital TV broadcast switchover in detail in the past, specifically looking at some of the myths and misinformation that has been disseminated from various sources, both online and over the air.

the digital switchover
Image by iboy_daniel

I’ve been seeing my local TV networks airing more and more commercials about the impending digital switchover lately. Some of these stations are even airing digital test signals, which you can use to determine if your TV has a digital tuner or not. If your TV does not have a digital tuner and you want to receive TV broadcasts over the air (with an antenna), then you will need to acquire a digital converter box.

Here are some general guidelines and information from the DTV website;

“What you need to know is whether your TV set has something called a “digital tuner” already built in. If it does, your TV set will receive digital signals. The best way to determine whether your TV set has a digital tuner built in is to consult your owner’s manual. If that’s not possible, you may be able to look up information about your TV set on the manufacturer’s website. Or, you can take an up-close look at your TV set. In any case, you’re trying to find out if your set has an input connection labeled “digital input” or “ATSC” (for Advanced Television Systems Committee, which is the DTV format).

Here are some general guidelines that may help:

If you bought your TV set before 1998, it probably doesn’t have a digital tuner at all. Almost every TV set made before 1998 was a traditional “analog” set. If you bought a big-screen, projection TV between 1998 and 2004, it may have a built-in digital tuner inside. But chances aren’t great. Only a limited percentage of projection TV sets (and generally only those 42 inches in diameter or larger) included digital tuners before 2004.

If you purchased a new TV set since 2004, your chances of having a built-in digital tuner improve dramatically. Starting in 2004, many of the TV sets sold at popular electronics stores feature digital tuners. But it’s not a sure thing. Even some of the newer TV sets are purely display monitors that lack the internal circuitry needed to pick up digital broadcasts. Usually these sets have been advertised as “HD-ready” or “HDTV monitor” sets. That means they can display digital and high-definition signals, but they need help getting those signals in the first place. You’ll still need a special converter or a cable TV connection.”

As this is a federal mandated change, the Government is handing out free coupons that can be used to purchase a converter box. You can obtain 2 free $40 coupons good for the purchase of digital converter boxes here: https://www.dtv2009.gov/ApplyCoupon.aspx

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