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Tech Tip
by Brad Appleby
Appleby Arts

Digital Television Transition

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At midnight on February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations in the U.S. will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. The reason behind this change is that digital broadcasting supposedly provides a clearer picture and more programming options and will free up airwaves for use by emergency responders.

Analog television sets receiving free TV using an antenna will not work after February 17, 2009. Television viewers with TV sets that are not connected to a pay TV service will need to deal with this issue before February 17, 2009, to ensure their TV sets continue to work. I talked to COX Cable and a representative told me no box is required for their service.

Preparing for the DTV transition is easy and requires one of these steps:

1. Purchase a new television set with a built in digital tuner. If your TV was built after 2004 it might have a digital tuner built in. Check your owners manual or manufacturer for this information.

2. Purchase a digital-to-analog converter box that plugs into an existing television. The boxes are expected to cost between $40 -$70.

3. Subscribe to a cable, satellite or telecommunications service provider if all your local broadcast stations are carried by that service.

Any of these steps will ensure that “over-the-air” television will continue to receive programming.

Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep using their analog TV sets after February 17, 2009. The program allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes. You can apply by calling 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), by applying online at, or by mailing their application to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000. For more information, go to

For more information on this and other tech issues, contact Brad at (702) 294-1392 or

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