Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Converting to digital TV - Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

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Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

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Converting to digital TV

QI bought a DTV converter box for my five-inch black-and-white television. But I can't get a signal at all during setup. Do I need to purchase another antenna? I thought the DTV box was an antenna of sorts. Is my TV compatible with the box? I have other TVs connected to VCRs and DVD players. Will they need converter boxes? Or do I need to purchase new VCRs and DVD players? I keep getting different answers to my questions.
—Susan in Springfield, MO listening to KWTO 560 AM

ADTV converter boxes aren't terribly complicated. But I can understand the confusion. As you've found, there's a lot of misinformation floating around.

First, the DTV transition will affect everyone who receives over-the-air signals. If you use an antenna, you get over-the-air signals.

Things are different if you have cable or satellite programming. I won't address that here. My tip explains it.

A digital TV converter box is not an antenna. Rather, it is much like a television without the screen. It contains a TV tuner that picks up digital TV signals. It converts the signals to analog. It then sends them to your analog TV.

The converter box needs an antenna. Otherwise, the picture could be scrambled, if you got one at all.

Typically, an old antenna will bring in digital signals. But that probably won't work in your case.

I suspect your TV is a portable. I haven't seen one in ages, but I think they had built-in antennas. That won't help you in the transition. The antenna has to connect with the converter box, not the TV. It must be located between the signal source and the converter. An antenna on the TV shouldn't work. The TV gets its signal from the box.

Do you have an old TV? You'll need a digital converter. Check this.

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