The digital-TV transition is a pain f...

The digital-TV transition is a pain for some

There are 10 comments on the story from Sep 20, 2008, titled The digital-TV transition is a pain for some. In it, reports that:

Television is going all-digital early next year, and Pat Teiken thought she was ready.

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#1 Sep 21, 2008
Some Off-Air viewers who buy a converter box have problems receiving the same stations digitally with the box installed as they did without it or get no broadcast stations at all. Excluding the possibility that they have a defective converter box or have installed it incorrectly, there are many more likely reasons why this happens:
1. They have an old antenna that has corroded over the years.
2. They have the wrong antenna (VHF only) for UHF reception where most of the digital broadcast signals are and will be located.
3. They may have received an acceptable analogue picture for years, but a) the broadcast station analog signal was not that powerful in the first place (signal power or distance) producing a little snow and/or b) the old antenna is not powerful enough to receive and send a strong digital signal to the digital tuner in the converter box. Unlike analogue, no strong signal, no picture, just a blue screen.
4. Many of the TV antenna designs now in use and on the market today such as the Yagi and rabbit ears have technology roots going back 30 years or more and may not work well with the digital chip sets in converter boxes.
5. The analog signal passed through trees, but the digital signal passing through tress, especially through pine trees, will not be strong enough to be decoded by the digital tuner.
6. Their antenna is aimed at the old analog tower location and the digital towers have been relocated or it was aimed wrong all these years, but received a marginal analogue picture.
7. The digital stations may be broadcasting in low power until the transition.
8. If you live less than 5 miles from the station, you might need an attenuator to reduce the signal strength and prevent overloading the tuner. If you live more than 35 miles from the towers, you may have to consider an antenna amplifier.
9. They may be dealing with multi-path in urban locations. Multi-path (bounced signals) is caused by buildings, hills and any other hard object in the line-of-sight to the broadcast towers. They cause signals to reach the antenna out of phase, confusing the ATSC (Digital) chip set in the converter box (or digital TV set tuners. Try re-aiming your antenna.
10. They may have not performed the correct search procedure on their TV to find the digital stations. Many stations have changed channels, mostly to UHF (14-69)
11. The old incoming cable and/or connectors may be bad. These do not last forever.
Consumer Reports has just upgraded their ratings on some of the available converter boxes at:

But a bigger variable is the need for the right Off-Air TV antenna where reception starts.

Viewers should certainly try their old antenna first. Itís true that any of these older antennas will pick up some signals. If theyíre getting all the OTA channels they want, than theyíre good to go.

While itís correct that antennas canít tell the difference between analog and digital signals, there are definitely certain models which have higher DTV batting averages than others. Not all antennas are equally suited for DTV. A percentage of viewers will require something a little more tailored for DTV reception.

With one of the newer and smaller OTA antennas, with greatly improved performance, power and aesthetics, viewers may also be able to receive out-of-town channels, carrying blacked out sports programs, several additional sub-channels or network broadcasts not originally available with analogue. And for those with an HDTV, almost completely uncompressed HD broadcasts, unlike cable or satellite.

OTA viewers can go to to see quickly what stations are available to them. And if they decide to buy a newer antenna, they should buy it from a source that will completely refund their purchase price, no questions asked, if it doesnít do the job for them.

Saint Paul, MN

#2 Sep 22, 2008
I have a big roof top antenna with a signal booster, and when I bought a digital TV I found that I could get most of the DTV stations. When I tried two different brands of the converter boxes and neither one could get more than one station with the same antenna. My question is how good are these converter boxes? Is there a difference in how well they pick up the signal? Unfortunately, the article only talks about trivia like the shape of the remote, not how well they work.

Olive Branch, MS

#3 Sep 22, 2008
Frank wrote:
My question is how good are these converter boxes? Is there a difference in how well they pick up the signal?
Consumer Reports has upgraded their ratings on some of the available converter boxes at:

Here is a quick summary of a lot of models:

Saint Paul, MN

#5 Sep 22, 2008
Tybalt wrote:
OJ Simpson should be burned at the stake, that's what i think.
Seriously? What's wrong with you?!? Drawn and quartered seems so much more appropriate.

Saint Michael, MN

#6 Sep 22, 2008
The digital TV signal will be much better, but the shows will still be a bunch of dreck.

How's that for progress?

Prairie Farm, WI

#7 Sep 22, 2008
Hey, don't forget that so far channel 9, and 11 will be going back to the VHF band after the feb, 17th. Something to think about when buying a UHF only antenna.
Jack Hammer

Minneapolis, MN

#8 Sep 24, 2008
"John Congemi, of Vadnais Heights, winces at the $1,000 his VCR originally cost him." ---- Cripes, man - let it go. VCR's haven't cost that much in over a quarter century! Turn the crank handle and fire up the 'ol Model T and drive it down to Circuit City for one of them DVD players before they go out of business!
TW Day

Saint Paul, MN

#9 Nov 3, 2008
I'm in Little Canada and I have gone from seven stations to three with my digital converters. I guess digital television will be a good excuse to break the tv-watching habit.
Jim - Minnestoa man

Luck, WI

#10 Nov 4, 2008
Why are we taking this, do most of us want this FORCED change?

Doesn't the FCC work for us?

Dump cattle, not even trying to run before being turn in to a hamburger.

United States

#11 Nov 4, 2008
Jim - Minnestoa man wrote:
Why are we taking this, do most of us want this FORCED change?
Doesn't the FCC work for us?
Dump cattle, not even trying to run before being turn in to a hamburger.
I believe this is what's known as an unfunded mandate. I see we can look forward to at least 4 years of being told what to do, may as well get used to it.

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