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Buying Guides - DTV Transition
DTV Transition Guide

On 6/12/09 the end of analog television transmission in the United States began. Television stations throughout the U.S. are now required, by government mandate, to end the broadcast of analog signals and replace them with 100% digital broadcast signals.  This change in broadcasting deliveres clearer, more detailed pictures and offers more programming options, as well as the ability to convey other types of information, like public safety announcements.

How will this affect you and your TV viewing?
Not at all, if you own a TV with a digital tuner or receive your TV signals through a digital source, like a cable connection or satellite dish. If you own an older TV with an analog tuner and still use an antenna, your screen will not display a picture. Instead it will appear blank or snowy. If you aren't sure whether your TV has an analog or a digital tuner, check the owner's manual, the manufacturer's website, or ask one of Abt's knowledgeable salespeople to assist you.

Do I need to purchase a new TV?
You can still watch TV on an analog set.  A number of manufacturers are now offering low-cost Digital television (DTV) converter boxes that will easily connect to the antenna as well as to your VCR or DVD player. It is about the size of a cable box. Keep in mind that you will need a separate converter box for each analog TV you own that utilizes an antenna to receive a broadcast signal.

Will a DTV converter produce an HDTV picture on my old TV?
No. Even though a DTV converter box will accept High-Definition Television (HDTV) signals, it isn’t able to display them on a standard definition TV. It down-converts the HD signal to a standard signal, and that is what will be displayed. There will be an improvement in picture quality switching from the analog signal to the standard definition or digital signal. Digital signals are not subject to the same noise or interference that affects analog signals. However, if you'd like to enjoy a true high-definition picture, you will need to purchase an HDTV. We offer many HDTV options from top manufacturers.

How Do I Improve a Failing Digital Signal?
Your DTV reception can be affected negatively by several different factors: terrain, trees, buildings, poor weather, damaged equipment, as well as antenna type, location, and orientation. This can be fixed by altering the location of the antenna you are currently using. It can also be remedied by placing your antenna away from other objects and structures, generally speaking, the higher up the antenna, the better. Performance of outdoor antennas can degrade over time due to exposure to the weather. Also, you may consider installing a signal booster, which should improve reception. If you are having trouble receiving a broadcast:

  • Check your connections.
  • Perform a channel scan.
  • Adjust your antenna.

The FCC Consumer Facts sheet “Troubleshooting Guide For Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes and Digital Televisions” at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/troubleshootguide.html should help you diagnose and correct your problem.

More info:

Revised 04/05/2010

DTV Categories:
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plasma HDTVs
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Blu-Ray & Upconverting DVD