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Ethan Flores
Ethan Flores

Buy Digital Converter Box Walmart

On Feb. 17, 2009, some analog channels in the United States went dark -- with a few exceptions, the rest did so on June 12. Regular broadcasters in the United States have completed the transition to digital television (DTV). The reason? Broadcasters moved their signals to another part of the radio spectrum. One reason for the switch was to free up space for police, fire and other public safety communications. The remaining portion of the broadcast signal will be available to consumers for wireless services.

buy digital converter box walmart

The original date for the analog-to-digital transition had to be moved because the FCC needed to raise awareness of the change among the population. The idea was to make sure few people are left behind, but their efforts caused some confusion. To receive digital television signals, some people need a converter box.

You might think that with the switch to digital television you need to buy a new, expensive high-definition television (HDTV) set. You can do that if you want to, and you'd have many good reasons to do so. HDTV offers better sound, a larger picture and a higher resolution. But despite the drop in prices that has come with more players in the market, these machines are still out of range of many household budgets.

So do you have to buy a fancy new TV and junk the old one? The simple answer is no. If your television has a digital tuner -- the component that helps you tune into TV stations -- already built in, you don't need a new TV. However, if you're still using an older TV with an analog tuner built in, like millions of people, the switch didn't make your TV obsolete. In fact, it should clean up your reception, but it won't make your television show look like high-definition programming.

The difference in analog and digital is pretty simple. Unlike digital broadcasting, which is either off or on, an analog signal can waver in relation to factors such as the strength of the signal. If you've ever had to get up to play with the antenna on your TV to get a better picture, you'll appreciate digital broadcasting. If your digital TV is getting a signal at all, you're getting clear audio and video.

That said, if you have a TV with an analog tuner and a terrestrial antenna -- not a satellite dish antenna -- you need a digital-to-analog converter box to continue watching TV now that the deadline for conversion has passed. You need a converter for every tuner you have, whether it's for a TV or for the videocassette recorder or digital video recorder you use to record shows. So if you have a second TV in another room, you need a box for that one, as long as it has an analog tuner built in.

Televisions with digital tuners built in will probably be labeled as such. If you aren't sure about yours, check your owner's manual or contact the manufacturer for more information. The Web is a good place to look; many companies keep information on older models online for reference.

Do you subscribe to digital cable or satellite TV? If you do, the box that goes on your TV handles the conversion for you. In fact, the analog-to-digital switch really affected just local broadcasters. Satellite and cable stations don't use the same frequencies that your local network affiliates do. So if you're not using an antenna to watch TV, the switch didn't affect you.

Are you an analog cable subscriber? Here's a clue: If you plug the cable directly into the back of your television, your cable company might be offering you analog service. The FCC requires cable companies to provide analog signals for local stations that have switched to digital signals as long as they offer analog feeds for any other channel. You may be fine for now, but if you're concerned that your TV will go dark in the future, you should contact your cable provider.

There are a few exceptions to the conversion rule, though. Low-power, Class A and TV translator stations don't have to make the switch to digital just yet. These stations are usually rural or local community stations, and while they didn't have to switch in June 2009, they'll be required to switch over in the future [source: FCC].

If you watch one of these stations regularly, make sure to get a converter box that has analog pass-through capability, and you can continue to receive those channels. Otherwise, you'll have to get a signal splitter and divide the signal from your antenna for digital and analog stations.

Switching from analog to digital let broadcasters offer higher picture definition, because a digital signal can be compressed far more than an analog signal. Compression allows stations to fit more information in the signal. That means you're getting a clearer image with digital television than you would from an analog signal. In fact, even though digital signals get weaker with distance, just as analog signals do, digital signals won't degrade in quality. As long as you have a signal, you'll get a clear picture [source: Cringely].

There's another advantage of having additional bandwidth available. Using digital broadcasting, local stations are able to offer more programming to their viewers than they could with an analog signal. How? Multicasting, or broadcasting several shows within a single frequency. Many stations across the United States are already multicasting. For example, WRAL in Raleigh, N.C., broadcasts a 24-hour news feed alongside its regular programming [source: USA Today].

If you have a digital-to-analog converter box and a terrestrial antenna, you can take advantage of your local station's multicasting, if they offer it. Cable and satellite providers may not necessarily add the additional stations to their lineups, however, so you may not see them if you subscribe.

If you still need a converter box, you may still be able to get a $40 coupon from the U.S. government at, if there are any still available. You could also buy a new television with a digital tuner, if that's what you would prefer, though that's a more expensive option.

After February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations will broadcast only in digital. If you use "rabbit ears" or a rooftop antenna with your analog television set, you must take some action to continue receiving television broadcasts. The Federal Government is offering US households up to two $40 coupons to help with the cost of certified TV converter boxes. A converter box is a one-time purchase that will allow your analog TV to work after February 17, 2009. Coupons are free but supply is limited. Coupons will be mailed by the Federal Government. Applications will be accepted from January 1, 2008 until March 31, 2009. Coupons expire after 90 days and cannot be re-issued.

This guide describes the installation of a digital-to-analog converter box with your current antenna and analog TV. This guide will help you prepare so that when you purchase a converter box you will know what to expect and whether you may need help setting it up.

Supplies: You will need your analog TV, the antenna you have been using (indoor or outdoor), and the coaxial wire that currently connects your antenna to your TV (as pictured on the right). Your new converter box will come with a coaxial wire and a remote control. Before you begin the installation of the converter box, you should unplug your TV.

For instructions on how to connect your converter box if it does not include an analog pass-through feature or for instructions on connecting your converter box to other components such as a VCR, go to or contact the FCC by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY.

A digital television adapter (DTA), commonly known as a converter box or decoder box, is a television tuner that receives a digital television (DTV) transmission, and converts the digital signal into an analog signal that can be received and displayed on an analog television set. Some also have an HDMI output since some TVs with HDMI do not have a digital tuner. The input digital signal may be over-the-air terrestrial television signals received by a television antenna, or signals from a digital cable system. It normally does not refer to satellite TV, which has always required a set-top box either to operate the big satellite dish, or to be the integrated receiver/decoder (IRD) in the case of direct-broadcast satellites (DBS).

On June 12, 2009, all full-power analog television transmissions ended in the United States. Viewers who watch broadcast television on older analog TV sets must use a digital converter box. Since many of the low-power TV stations continued to broadcast in analog for a while, consumers who watch low-power stations needed an adapter with an analog passthrough feature that allows the viewer to watch both digital and analog signals. Viewers who receive their television signals through cable or satellite were not affected by this change and did not need a digital television adapter (however, see the cable TV exception below). Additionally, viewers who have newer televisions with built-in digital ATSC tuners will not need an external digital television adapter.

At the Consumer Electronics Association's Entertainment Technology Policy Summit in January 2006, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said many Americans did not know about the February 17, 2006, deadline for ending analog TV. Furthermore, he said, too many people were still buying analog TV sets, meaning more demand for converter boxes. And even if people found out what they would have to do, converter boxes might not do the job adequately. Tribune Broadcasting chief technology officer Ira Goldstone said just buying a converter box did not necessarily mean getting the latest technology. Bob Seidel of CBS said companies (especially in countries other than the US) might use cheaper tuners, and people would need new television antennas for proper reception. Circuit City Chairman Alan McCollough opposed converter boxes, saying people should just buy digital TVs, and television networks should offer only widescreen-format television programming as an incentive to do that.[1] 041b061a72


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