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Preparing Yourself For The Digital TV Revolution

Reported By Ed Curran

(CBS) CHICAGO Chicago television has been transmitted over the air since the 1940s. Channels 2, 5, 7,9,11 and UHF use what's called an analog signal.

But a TV revolution is coming, and as CBS 2's Ed Curran reports, you may need some new equipment when the plug gets pulled on old-fashioned TV and everyone makes the switch to digital.

If you don't prepare for it, your favorite show will turn to snow in less than two years.

"The U.S. Congress has set a date, February 17 of 2009, when the old analog broadcasting goes away," said John Taylor, V.P. of Public Affairs for LG Electronics USA.

Those old analog TV channels, with their sometimes ghostly images, will be turned off. To get digital TV over the air you'll need a new TV. In the next two years 62 million new, digital television sets will be sold.

"There are TVs that start off as low as $179 that have high definition-capable tuners," said Abt Electronics General Manager Marc Cook.

Or you'll need a converter box for your old TV. That's why the old TV on the left looks so good.

A $60 LG converter box will come out next year, and the federal government will even give you a $40 coupon to buy it. You can also get your TV from cable or satellite.

"One thing to remember is that if you have cable or satellite service nothing is going to change," said Mike Fort of Buying Guide. "You don't have to do anything"

But a good old antenna may deliver the best HDTV picture you can get.

"The digital signal is an incredible picture," said Mike Abt, president of Abt Electronics. "It's a lot, lot better than what you're watching now and a lot of people are starting to see that."

CBS 2 transmits from on top of the John Hancock Building, but come the switch over date the station will have a digital transmitter on top of the Sears Tower with a new, higher frequency to serve you better and the station will be able to transmit from either location.

For Aaron Gordon, that's good news. He gets all his TV over the air, and he's happy to hear the digital TV he's eyeing will work just great with his trusty roof-top antenna.

"I didn't know, and that's good to know," he said. "All right, we're not quite prepared to go cable just yet."

Making his move to digital TV is an easy switch to make.

© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved.

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