Digital Disconnect

July 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Seven months from now we'll transition from analog to digital broadcasting. The change means if you have an older television with an antenna, you may need to take a trip to your local electronics store.-----------------------------------------------
For more information, including how to get your government coupon Click Here.
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Cable and satellite TV companies will benefit from the digital transition but there is a much cheaper option. You'll still find old-school TV antennas in many valley neighborhoods.

The switch to digital TV begins February 17th, and your antenna will still work if you have a converter box.

Paul Bergman is ahead of the game. "I was wondering if I was going to be left out in the cold and I've been exploring other options too." Paul decided not to put a new dish on his roof or install cable.

A $59 digital converter box is all he needed. Besides, the government offers $40 coupons.

"What I did was apply for the $40 card and I got that. Went down and bought both of them. Bought two of them because I have two TV's," says Paul.

A survey conducted by Best Buy showed almost half the people polled said they would wait until after the digital deadline to buy a converter box or take other action. Leo Rabago, Best Buy, says "I assume the day before we'll definitely have some type of rush real quick but right now we're selling out of them pretty regularly."

The box is simple to set up. One plug for your antenna and another for your TV. But Rabago says there is still a great deal of confusion among consumers. "If you don't have a digital TV right now you will need a digital converter box unless you wanted to sign up with some type of paid cable or dish."

Newer TV's have built-in digital converters but new antennas can also be purchased if you don't have one. Not everyone wants the latest. "I don't need high-definition," says Paul and his wife agrees. Jocelyne Starkey, Fresno, says "We never wanted to add too much stuff to our television because we're selective."

So with the government coupon the converter box would cost about $20.

The Better Business Bureau wants you to beware of this ad for a free Miracle TV Box. It's not free; it comes with a $58 warranty and monthly fees. Plus shipping and handling.

If you're not sure if your TV has a built-in digital converter, an electronic store should be able to tell you.
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