On February 17, 2009, analog television signals—the mode of TV delivery since the 1940s—will be completely replaced by digital. Here are the basics behind this monumental change, and what it means for TV viewers.
Simply put, a digital signal is an improvement over analog. Analog signals are susceptible to interference or "noise." Digital signals are more efficient, providing better picture and sound, and the opportunity to broadcast multiple content streams.
How dramatic is the digital transition? Eighteen broadcast channels—52 through 69 on the UHF band—will no longer exist. Since digital delivery frees up space, TV broadcasts along those frequencies will be discontinued. Roughly 145 stations in the US currently use those channels, and nearly all will continue on digital channels.The newly available space won't stay empty for long. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has begun accepting auction bids on five portions of the 700 MHz frequency (don't bother unless you have a couple billion dollars). Additionally, a small section, 20 MHz in size, has been set aside for public safety communications.
What will it mean to you when stations and providers cease analog signals in February 2009? That depends on the equipment you useto watch television.There's no need to do anything if:
You subscribe to digital cable TV
You subscribe to satellite TV programming, like DirecTV or DISH Network
You receive over-the-air TV signals with an antenna and digital TV, or antenna and digital tuner
You'll want to take action if:
You have an analog TV and receive signals via antenna. In this case, you'll need to purchase a converter box to watch digital programming The good news: The government is offering converter box coupons worth $40 each.
To learn more and see if you're eligible, visit the TV Converter Box Coupon Program website.
Simple facts about digital TVs:
Any TV shipped after March 1, 2007 must include a digital receiver
There may be some new televisions shipped before March 1 that don't include a digital receiver. In that case, the box must have a sticker explicitly saying so
TVs without digital tuners aren't necessarily "old." For instance, some HDTV models from 2006 are "digital ready"—they'll display digital signals, but only when connected to digital cable or a digital receiver. For these, you may see phrases like "digital monitor" or "HDTV monitor" on the box
Our advice: Read carefully and ask questions if you're not sure. Check your TV manual. Call your cable service. Many of you already watch digital television. For you, our advice is simple: Enjoy.
Bose has a variety of home theater audio options to complement your digital TV. From innovative two-speaker setups to premium 5.1-channel surround sound systems, Bose brings more to your home entertainment experience.See home theater systems on Bose.com »
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