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Your DTV Questions Answered

Friday, 12 Jun 2009

Chicago, IL - The nation's television broadcasting system transitions to digital on June 12. After 11:59 pm, the "rabbit ears" antenna set up will no longer work without making some changes.

By midnight, Chicago and the rest of the country's television signals will switch from a decades-old "analog" system to a new "digital" system. All the stations' regular programs will cease being broadcast on the analog system and will begin being shown on the digital system.

If you have cable or satellite TV, you should continue to receive your channels without interruption. But older televisions will not be able to recognize the digital signals.

To continue to receive channels on an older TV set that is using an antenna, you will need a converter box to watch local channels, and possibly a stronger antenna to get all of your available local channels.

Each piece of equipment plays an important role in converting analog signals to digital. The antenna grabs the broadcast signal from the air, and the converter box translates it so an older television can understand the signal.

If you do not yet have a converter box for your older set, and you have not already done so, you have until July 31 to apply for two $40 discount coupons from the federal government. (Most converters run around $60.) Call (888) DTV-2009 for help or go to www.DTV2009.gov to apply for coupons or to check the status of your application.

If you need help installing converter boxes and antennas, the government has hired people to assist you (for free!) Call (888) CALL-FCC to schedule an appointment.

If you have a converter box, it should be easy to install and set up. Click here to read a step-by-step guide for how to install the converter box . You will no longer have to stand up to change the channels, but rather, use the remote that came with the converter.

Once the converter box is connected, turn it on, navigate to the menu with the remote and "scan" for channels. Scanning allows the box to pick up local channels. You should scan again tomorrow to ensure your box will see signals that made the digital transition later in the day. Click here for a step-by-step guide for how to scan and rescan.

Have an old TV you want to get rid of? Don't just toss it in the trash. Older sets contain toxic materials, and state law mandates special treatment. Abt Electronics in Glenview is accepting drop-offs of ANY kind of TV for recycling. Call (847) 967-8830 for details.

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