Are You Ready For DTV?

Monday, January 28th 2008, 5:57 pm
By: News On 6

Are you confused about DTV? Worried about losing your signal? If so, you're not alone!

Gerald Weaver, Chief Engineer of The News On 6 and CW 12/19 can answer your questions and help guide you through the coming government mandated change from analog television to a digital signal. He can explain what digital television is, why the switch and who will be affected by the change.

You can email questions to or call 918-732-6289.

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What is Digital Television (DTV)?

On February 17, 2009, television as we know it will change in a big way. After that date, the government will require all broadcast stations to stop broadcasting in analog and switch to a digital television format, or DTV.

DTV is over-the-air broadcasting technology that transmits pictures using data bits like a computer. DTV enables TV stations to provide clearer pictures and better sound quality, giving you a greater viewing experience than ever before.

Why is America switching to DTV?

DTV is a more efficient way to broadcast, and it will free up the airwaves for other services. DTV also provides movie-like quality pictures and sound, more channels and even free, over-the-air high-definition television (HDTV) for consumers with HD sets. DTV will also allow more services than ever before, including interactive capabilities and significantly enhanced closed captioning.

Who will be affected?

Consumers who receive free over-the-air television signals through antennas on television sets and who do not subscribe to cable, satellite or a telephone company service will be affected most by the transition.

At least 19.6 million households receive only over-the-air signals, and approximately 70 million television sets are at risk of losing their signals after the switch if owners of these sets do not make the transition to DTV.

Do you need a new TV set?

The answer is no. You will still be able to use your existing set and simply buy a converter box. It will plug into your set and convert the new digital signal into the analog format for older televisions.

How can you switch to DTV?

You can make the switch to DTV by following one of these steps by February 17, 2009:

  1. DTV Converter Box:
    The boxes are available now at most consumer electronics stores. The federal government plans to provide $40 coupons you can use toward the purchase of these boxes. If you currently use an antenna to receive programming, you will still need it after you install a converter.
  2. Digital TV Set:
    While not required, DTV sets are good investments. They come with built-in digital tuners. All TVs with digital tuners are able to receive digital signals broadcast by television stations, so you can continue to receive your free programming with no additional monthly fees. DTV sets come in 1080i and 720p. Generally, the higher the number, the higher the resolution of the picture.
  3. Paid Service:
    Subscribe to a cable, satellite or telephone company service to continue using your analog TV sets.
  4. You can watch The News On 6 digital programming on 6.1 over the air and COX Cable 706 on your digital television set.