Are you ready for the switch?

Published 3:33 pm Thursday, January 8, 2009

Television is something we take for granted very easily. We trust that if we simply click a button, we can open up our living room to the whole world in a matter of seconds.

For those who rely on an antenna for their TV signal, however, preparing for the upcoming switch from analog to digital TV will take a little more work than that, however.

The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that on Feb. 17, TV stations will cease analog broadcasting forever and convert to digital. This will be the most significant change since the advent of color TV in the ‘50s.

Advantages of the switch are that you will have a clearer picture than ever before, provided that you have the capability of receiving a digital signal. The picture quality should be comparable to that of cable or satellite TV.

Are you prepared for the switch? If you have cable or satellite TV service, then you need not worry. But if you receive your signal through an antenna and do not have a “digital ready” TV, there is work to be done.

Here are a few tips for anyone affected by this change:

Buy a DTV converter box, which should be available at any electronics retail store.

Purchase a television with a built-in digital tuner (i.e., “digital ready”).

Subscribe to digital service through cable, satellite or other form of pay TV service.

If you are buying a converter box, be sure you purchase it from a reputable retailer. The average price is between $40 and $70. Don’t get duped into buying expensive equipment or packages.

If you need assistance setting up your converter box, check the prices of several service providers. Don’t invite just anyone to work in your home.

Get educated about the transition by visiting a Web site such as or