Monday, January 12, 2009

Are You Ready for the Digital Switch?

We've been hearing about it for about a year and a half now. We've been told that we need to upgrade equipment. We've been given the date, February 17th, 2009. But what exactly is the switch to digital television going to mean for us regular folks?

First of all, if you've got cable or satellite television service, the switch to digital over-the-air signals isn't going to affect you in the least. You're already receiving your television in digital format. The change only affect those of us who are still using antenna to receive TV signals.

For those of you who still use a good ol' fashioned antenna, either on the roof of your home or attached directly to the top of your TV set, the following information is for you...

First of all, what the switch means is that the picture and sound you see and hear on your television will be transmitted as a digital, "computerized" signal. This should result in improved quality. This also means that, unless your television is equipped with a digital tuner (check your TV's manual to find out), you'll need to purchase a digital converter box from your local electronics store. This will enable your older television sets, or newer sets without a built-in digital tuner, to properly receive and display digital signals.

There are, of course, potential issues that need to be addressed for the transition to be successful. and the Associated Press (Joelle Tessler) give a pretty good outline of some of the problems that have and could still crop up during and after the transition. These are things that could have an impact on a great number of people, including loss of signal and misunderstanding of the technology.

We do all have to keep in mind that this is really a very good thing, however. Problems aside, the increase in available frequencies for emergency services and internet service providers will be extremely helpful to government and industry. We are doing a good thing, and with all upgrades, there are headaches that will need to be worked out. Hopefully, we can get through this change quickly, and reap the benefits for decades.

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