10 September 2008

Easy Ways to Get Ready for Digital Television (DTV)!

National Public Radio's morning news program, Morning Edition, featured an on-air article on September 9 about Wilmington, NC's rollout of digital television (DTV).

The people who will be most affected by the nationwide switch to digital television are those who own analog televisions and receive their television channels "over the air" with antennae, rather than cable or satellite.

The accompanying print article includes links to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) DTV information website, a DTV info site provided by the Consumers Union (a non-profit pro-consumer organization), and the government coupon program for digital-to-analog converter boxes.

There is a very good article that explains how a digital-to-analog converter box works and why you may need one on the howstuffworks.com website.

Since February 17, 2009 (the date all full-power broadcast television stations must switch over to digital) will be here before we know it, now is a good time to dig out your television manual, put new batteries in your remotes, vacuum and dust your television, DVD player, digital video recorder (DVR), audio receiver, speakers, and other electronics gathering dust right in front of you. Check the audio and video cables. Replace pinched, bent, or broken wires, which not only will negatively affect your video and audio signals, but may present a fire hazard.

If you cannot find the user manuals for your electronics, most manufacturers have downloadable Adobe PDF versions available on their websites, even for older models.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you watch low-power channels, such as local access, community, or religious stations, be sure your digital-to-analog converter box includes an "analog pass-through" feature or button. Low-power stations are not required to switch to digital (the equipment costs are often prohibited for small stations). If your converter box does not have an analog pass-through, you will not be able to pick up those channels. For a good explanation on this issue, you can listen to a five-minute report on NPR's Weekend Edition program from May 2008 or read this article from the Consumer Reports blog.

If you have any questions about digital television, your specific equipment setup, or how to choose a digital-to-analog converter box, comment here or e-mail a Totem Media multimedia specialist at InfoRequest "at" totem-media.com.