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Transitioning to Digital Television (DTV)

Transitioning to Digital Television (DTV) Information compiled by the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection Graphic courtesy of What is going to happen?

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Transitioning to Digital Television (DTV)

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  1. Transitioning to Digital Television (DTV) Information compiled by the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection Graphic courtesy of

  2. What is going to happen? • By June 12, 2009, all television sets will be required to operate under the digital spectrum only, instead of the analog format • This means that TVs that still run under the analog spectrum will be rendered useless without a converter box to the digital format

  3. Analog Format:Typically, televisions that have the rabbit-ear antennas are under the analog format. This format allows TVs to receive free over-the-air waves. Digital Format: Televisions contain a digital tuner which allows more information to be utilized on the spectrum (allowing options such as multicasting) and clearer picture and sound. The different formats

  4. Why the switch? • The digital format marks a new era in television broadcasting • Offers movie-like quality and sound • Offers other options, such as multicasting or closed-captioning • Multicasting enables several different channels under one channel by carrying more information per wave (for example, Channel 5 could be Channel 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4) • Switching to the digital format will free up analog spectrum space, which is a very limited resource • Can be used for other purposes such as public broadcasting, emergency awareness, wireless communication

  5. What has already happened? • Deficit Reduction Act of 2005: Title III- Digital Television Transition and Public Safety • This February 2006 act calls for all full-power television broadcast stations to switch to digital spectrums only by February 2009 • FCC mandate that all manufactured or shipped TV’s must include digital tuners • By June 2007, all televisions being sold are either required to contain a digital tuner or must be identified at the point-of-sale as not having one

  6. Do I own a digital television? • Consult your owner’s manual for your TV. It will most probably give details on whether or not your television contains a digital tuner. • Look up information about your TV’s manufacturer and model on the internet. • Take a look at your TV – you are looking for a digital input or ATSC connection. • ATSC stands for Advanced Television Systems Committee, which helps to develop the DTV format

  7. If you bought a television before March 2007, it may not contain a digital tuner. Once February 2009 comes around, if you have an analog-only television, it will simply not work because all television waves will be switched to the digital spectrum. To find out whether or not you will be affected by the DTV Transition, click here for a short quiz that will help you decide which options are best for you. Why does this affect consumers?

  8. Other Television Equipment • All of your extra analog television equipment such as VCRs, DVD players, video cameras, and video games should continue to work with digital televisions • However, they may not be able to provide digital-quality picture and sound • Your equipment retailer may be able to provide more information on connectors for your equipment that may be able to help provide digital-quality picture and sound

  9. Options Available to Consumers • Buy a digital television • The manufacture and shipment of analog-only televisions was prohibited in March 2007. By June 2007, it was made mandatory to either sell television equipment that includes a digital tuner, or to tell the consumer at the point-of-sale if their purchase does not include a digital tuner. • Sign up for a paid service for your analog television • Cable and satellite signals will not be impacted by this change from analog to digital and will continue to provide services. • Buy a converter box for your analog television

  10. The Converter Box • A digital-to-analog converter box will be needed for any analog televisions sets to continue to operate after February 2009. • Beginning in January 2008, the government will take requests to provide up to two coupons per household to subsidize $40 of the cost of the converter boxes • The government allocated $1.5 billion to subsidize cost to consumer for the converter boxes • More information about the coupon can be viewed here:

  11. Recycling Analog TVs • Consumers can opt to keep their old analog TVs with a converter box, or buy new digital televisions to accommodate for the February 2009 change to digital spectrum. • If you choose to purchase a new digital television, myGreenElectronics is a recycling program set up to recycle old analog TVs or other old electronic devices.

  12. More Resources • Digital Television (DTV) Tomorrow’s TV Today! • • DTV Is Coming! And Sooner Than You Think! FCC Consumer Facts • • DTV Transition – A New Era in Television Broadcasting • For comments or questions pertaining to the DTV transition, please e-mail

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