Tips for the Transition to Digital TV

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Do you need a new antenna for the transition to digital TV? Here are a few tips:

-- First, try hooking up a converter box to your current set-up -- for most people, this means a basic "rabbit-ear" antenna. You may get all the channels with your existing equipment.

-- If you still have inadequate reception, you may need to upgrade to a larger antenna or one with a different shape.

-- For TV reception on VHF frequencies (channels 2-13) and UHF frequencies (channels 14 and above), a basic indoor antenna should work if the signal is strong. To pull in a weaker signal, you may need a round outdoor antenna that receives signals from all directions. For very weak signals, you may need a V-shaped rooftop antenna. Rotating antennas are equipped with motors to point directly at each broadcast tower.

-- You do not need an HDTV antenna to receive digital high-definition broadcasts. You also do not need a separate antenna to receive the new subchannels from a station.

-- Finding the right antenna can take some experimenting. Visit to get a better idea of what you might need. Prices range from $10 to more than $100, depending on the antenna's size and sophistication. Installation often adds to the cost.

-- Evaluate your reception situation early. The transition occurs in February, when rooftops may be icy and winds may be strong.

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