Archive Pen & Links

Why won’t my TV work?

December 26, 2008

As most people are aware by now, the digital TV transition is at hand. Some of you may be spending this day after Christmas hooking up your new TVs you bought specifically for this transition. Congratulations on being richer than I am.

Sure, you could rationalize buying your giant new flat screen TV because in two months your TV won’t work, but you can be ready for much cheaper than a $1,000 set.

First off let’s clear up some confusion

1. This is not the HD transition – There is no such thing as a high definition TV transition. You don’t even need an HD TV to get the signal. The only thing that’s changing is the way TV stations are sending the signal. If you’re getting your TV through your cable or satellite provider, you should be just fine.

2. You do not need to go to digital cable – Comcast is not sucking up basic cable channels to the digital tier for this transition. That’s a whole other can of worms I’m sure they couldn’t explain with a straight face (although the good news is you won’t be losing anymore channels to digital cable for a little while). Between misinformed employees and using the common word “digital,” these two events have been confused. If you have cable, you do not need to upgrade to digital cable unless Comcast snatched away a channel you like and you don’t want to go satellite.

3. Not everything is happening on Feb, 17 – Some stations have already swapped their signals, which is sort of a blessing in disguise. An easy way to find out if you’re ready for the transition is if you get KCVU from Chico. As of Dec. 22, it ended its analog transmissions. So if you get KCVU right now, that’s a sure sign you’re ready.

I mentioned something earlier about doing the switch cheaper than buying a new TV. You can buy a converter box at most retail stores. It’ll take the digital signal and make it compatible with an analog TV. Some boxes can push $80 easily, but it shouldn’t be hard to find one around $40 and you can get a coupon from the government to help defray the cost.

If you bought your TV within the last year and a half, you should definitely be fine.

And, hey, if you screw up and don’t have anything to watch on your TV come Feb. 17, why not try our video section?