On June 12, 2009 TV stations across the Country will turn off their analog broadcasting signal. The analog signal is the one that's been around since the beginning. A couple of years back TV stations began broadcasting a digital TV signal. Currently The new digital signal is broadcast simultaneously with the old analog signal. The two signals are broadcast in a very similar fashion but the content of the signal (what it is carrying) is very different. The two signals have co- existed for a few years now.
On June 12 the old analog signal will be turned off. If you receive your TV free with an antenna you must convert to digital TV reception by this date.
To do this you must obtain a digital TV tuner. There are two ways to do this. Purchase a set top digital TV tuner. A set top tuner box is connected to your current TV. It receives the new digital TV signal and converts it back to analog signal. Set up is pretty simple. The antenna is disconnected from the TV and re - connected to the digital tuner box. The digital tuner box is then connected to the TV. Generally the connections are made with standard coaxial cable.
Once you have made the connections power on the digital TV tuner and follow the directions included with the tuner. For most applications you will tune your TV to channel 3. The tuner will require a channel scan to find the digital signals available. You will likely use your TV remote control to turn your TV on/off and to control the volume. In most cases the TV itself stays on channel 3. The remote control to the set top digital tuner will be used to change channels along with other settings and functions of the set top box.
The second way to receive the new signal is to purchase a new TV. All new TV's come equipped with a digital tuner built into the set. The TV antenna down lead is disconnected from the old TV and re-connected to the new one. Once the antenna is connected follow the set up options provided with the TV. Before you can receive digital signals the new TV will require a digital channel scan.
Am I ready for June 12, 2009.
I believe by now every full powered TV station in the Country with very few exception is broadcasting a digital TV signal. To determine if you're ready is actually pretty simple. Digital signals appear as point channels. For an example if the analog channel is 10 the digital signal will appear as 10.1. The .1 channels are the digital equivalent to the analog programming of each particular channel. In other words, if you don't receive the .1 channel on every station that you want to receive your not ready. There may also be additional digital programming available as .2, .3 and so on. Each channel can broadcast multiple digital channels on the same channel number.
There are only 3 reasons why you wouldn't receive the digital signal.
1. You don't have a digital tuner.
2. The station doesn't have a digital signal. Very rare.
3. The antenna system in use to receive the signal is inadequate.
Some viewer's won't have to do anything with their current antenna system to receive the new digital TV signal. Some who have used rabbit ears for analog reception may have to install a small outdoor antenna. Others who have used small outdoor antennas may have to install a larger antenna. Some may need to add a signal amplifier to their current antenna system.
Many people have used inadequate antennas for analog reception and the result is a snowy picture that a less then perfect. The weaker the signal the worse the analog picture becomes.
Digital picture quality is perfect or at least as good as your TV can produce. There won't be any snow, double imaging, or interference present in the picture. As the digital signal weakens the picture remains of the same quality until the signal reaches the drop out point. This is the point where the signal becomes so weak the digital tuner can no longer read the signal data that is being sent by the broadcaster. The first evidence of a weak digital signal is called pixellation. Pixelation appears as stutters in the picture and sound and blocks of the picture may disappear and then reappear. This is the borderline point between a signal that is strong enough and one that is too weak. If the signal becomes even weaker the picture will disappear altogether and be replaced with a No Signal Available banner across the TV screen.
If you are experiencing digital reception difficulties and want better digital TV reception I suggest that you visit the Digital TV Antenna Selector. The selector will help you choose the proper TV antenna and equipment for your particular location.
All in all I believe free over the air digital TV is a good thing. Digital TV offers much better picture quality and sound. Because of digital TV there are more channels available with more to come in the future. However, it will require some effort on the viewer's part to continue to receive free TV, but I think it's definitely worth the effort.
Denny's TV Antenna Source