Converter boxes? We’re still waiting…

February 27th, 2007

RCA digital TV adapter. RCA/ThomsonOld TV sets will survive into the digital age, thanks to those handy converter boxes (and to Uncle Sam, who will help pay for them). Why, if a few of those boxes would just make their way to your local Best Buy store, the sales reps might even be able to reassure customers about the cutoff of analog broadcasts in 2009:

Because they haven’t received formal announcements about the converter box thus far, employees at electronics stores are finding it difficult to explain the transition to customers or to advise them about the equipment they will need to guarantee that their TVs continue to work.

Best Buy spokesman Brian Lucas:

“People don’t really know what those will look like, what the pricing is going to be. Until we have something to offer people, it’s hard to talk to them in conceptual terms about it.”

A converter box from RCA (they call it a “digital TV adapter”) is scheduled to hit the U.S. market this year. LG’s model arrives next year, and several other manufacturers can be expected to join them between now and 2009.

• Link: Chicago Defender

Comments (4)

  1. donald schell says:

    Will we need to use a antenna with the new box?

  2. Steven Sande says:

    An antenna will be required — two antennas, if you need to pull in both UHF and VHF stations.

    An antenna that worked for analog TV can also be used for digital. Some folks who get marginal analog TV reception with an indoor antenna may need to get a rooftop antenna for digital, although digital reception capabilities have improved significantly in recent years.

  3. WTF says:

    This is thoroughly retarded. All of the stations I used to get with just rabbit ears are dropping out already. I’m not going to buy a digital-ready TV; I’m not going to switch to cable or satellite; I *can’t* buy one of these boxes yet—what the hell? Retarded.

    Thank goodness for torrents to watch shows without commercials and in HDTV, albeit the day after they “air.” ;-)

  4. Steven Sande says:

    WTF, indeed — this is a difficult part of the transition. Stations will have to swap their analog and digital antennas around, in many cases, and some are doing so this year so as to get a spot on the antenna installers’ schedule, according to TV Technology. Maybe that’s happening in your neck of the woods — I’d be interested to know what part of the country you live in.

    In the near term, for my money a digital TV will offer better value than a $200 converter box (let’s hope the box prices fall quickly), especially before the government’s coupon program kicks in.

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