Digital Television: Coming Soon to a Set Near You

By  | 

If you are not among the millions who have already made the switch to digital television, eventually, it will cost you. While satellite and cable customers will be in the clear, antenna users will have to buy a special converter box if they want to continue using their antenna.

The reason? In a couple of years all TV signals will be digital. Gene Joyce, owner of Audio Video, says the dramatic shift has been in the works for some time.

"[They have] probably been working on [this] since 1995 or '96 to set a date," Joyce said.

That date is February 17, 2009. If you have a converter box, it will take the digital signal and transfer it into a signal televisions using antennas can recognize. But, of course, you have to buy the box yourself.

However there is an exception. KBTX Chief Engineer Kris Swearingen said televisions built in and after 2006 are required to be able to receive digital signals.

"The government mandated all TV's, 25 inches or bigger, have to have a digital turner in it," Swearingen said.

But he warns, just because you will receive a digital signal, you will not be able to enjoy a true digital quality picture unless you have a high definition TV.

The change from analog to digital is being done to free up airwave space that the federal government can sell to wireless companies and other businesses. Some of that space will also be used for public safety.