2009 Analog Cutoff - TV converter Boxes
Yes the Febuary 2009 Analog TV Cutoff is getting nearer and people are going to need converter boxes. Why wait until the last minute to get these if you are watching TV using only an antenna to get your signal? You may as well go ahead and get a converter box now so if you have any problems with reception, you have some time to work them out.
Why is the government giving us these vouchers, you ask. Well it turns out that there will be a lot of RF spectrum freed up by the switchover that has been auctioned off and the revenue is far more than the cost of the converter box vouchers. So no, the taxpayer is not footing the bill for the vouchers.
As of this writing some of the converter boxes have not been priced yet. That’s how new this issue is.
Also there are some important restrictions you need to be aware of about the converter boxes that you are able to buy with the coupons. Most important they are not high definition converter boxes. They are restricted to SD outputs only. This may be RF coax, hooked up like many cable boxes, composite video/analog audio, hooked up with yellow-red-white cables, or some could have s-video. That’s it, 480i only. Period. Why? Because the government does not wish to help people out who can afford a HDTV. Actually if a new HDTV is purchased these days, they all have the necessary ATSC tuners so the converter boxes will not be necessary. But there are a few monitors that will accept HD video input, so what is important here is these converter boxes will not be a method to get HD video into these monitors. HD tuners are available at a somewhat higher cost.
There are other alternatives available as well. Cable TV and satellite TV will be unaffected by the over the air 2009 analog cutoff. But for those people used to getting their free TV via their antenna, the converter box is the way to go, cost wise.
Speaking of antennas, good news here, your existing antenna is fine for digital reception. No need to buy a new antenna. Don’t fall for the marketing hype about their being a “digital” TV antenna. All TV antennas are good for both analog and digital TV reception.