The change is coming!

Published 10:59 pm Tuesday, January 6, 2009

February 17 will be the last day for television stations to broadcast in analog.

What does this mean for you?

You can find out at the North Suffolk Library digital TV conversation workshop this week.


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If you have one or more televisions that receive free over-the-air television programming, with a roof-top antenna or “rabbit ears” on the television, you might have an analog television.

If it is a TV with an internal digital tuner, you can still continue to watch free over-the-air programming after Feb. 17. However, if you have an analog television, you will need a converter box to watch broadcast television on that set. Cable and satellite TV subscribers with analog TVs hooked up to their cable or satellite service should not be affected by the cut-off date.

The switch is being made because the U.S. Congress mandated it. According to a government Web site dedicated to the transition, the switch will free up parts of the broadcast spectrum for public safety communications, such as police, fire departments and rescue squads. Some of the spectrum will be auctioned to companies providing more advanced wireless services, like wireless broadband.

To determine whether your TV has a digital tuner, simply check the TV or its packaging or informational materials. If you see the words Integrated Digital Tuner,” “Digital Tuner Built-In,” “Digital Receiver,” or “Digital Tuner,” “DTV,” “ATSC,” or “HDTV,” your TV likely has an internal digital tuner, and you don’t need a converter box.

If you cannot figure out whether your TV contains a digital tuner, check it for the manufacturer’s name and model number and contact your consumer electronics retailer.

If you still need help figuring out if your TV is ready for digital, you can attend the North Suffolk Library digital TV conversation workshop at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 7 in the library lobby. Barbara Henley, a representative from WHRO public television, will be present to answer your questions and explain what is involved in the analog-to-digital switch.

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