Facts for over-the-air viewers


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Digital television provides crystal-clear reception—or none at all. The all-or-nothing nature of digital broadcasts is one reason many viewers will soon find they need better antennas. A household that gets acceptable or marginal analog TV reception with an indoor antenna may need an outdoor one to get digital broadcasts.

When analog TV goes away, will it be time to bite the bullet and start paying a monthly bill for TV programming?

A bit of work, but most will manage

Setting up a new digital TV or converter box to find the signals of local stations can involve more work than just putting a plug into an outlet. But anyone with an ounce or two of tech savvy can probably make the leap. (Er, maybe that’s the wrong word. If you do decide on a rooftop antenna, you may want to enlist a friend to hold that ladder.)

“Most OTA DTV viewers will have no trouble with the changeover. But some will have problems they are not prepared to deal with,” according to Ken Nist, a retired electrical engineer whose HDTV Primer offers wise and patient counsel to viewers making the switch. “All considered, I bet that 10 percent to 20 percent of viewers who now are satisfied with analog OTA will switch to satellite or cable rather than OTA DTV.” Subscription TV services offer telephone support and—for a price, usually—installers who will come to your home. If you’re considering that route, have a look at our tips for cable or satellite viewers.

For more updates on the transition to digital TV, including the converter-box coupon program, keep an eye on our news section—Digital TV Facts: The Latest.

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