D is for Digital TV Conversion
For more than the last year, US TV viewers have been bombarded with public service announcements concerning the upcoming conversion of all television broadcasts from analog to digital.
For those with newer sets, and those with cable or satellite service, these are just a very redundant addition to the day's viewing. The same messages over and over and over.
For those with an older set getting their TV signal over the air, the messages explain that come the effective date in mid-February, if you don't act, your TV screen will go black.
So, what is to do:
1. Purchase a converter box.
Sounds simple enough--BUT...
The government, in its infinite wisdom, since it has mandated that your TV will go dark, has issued coupons for $40 off one of these boxes. Each household that receives its signals over the air is entitled to two of these coupons.
Once you have jumped through the hoops to get one of these coupons, you go to WalMart, Circuit City, Bet Buy, your local independent TV guy, or any of the other sources to purchae a box.
We got the last one at WalMart, where we went when our local TV guy did not get any boxes in. We got a second one at our local TV guy, whose boxes finally came in just before our coupon expired.
And we got ours early. As we approach the original date of conversion, the government has run out of coupons, the stores have run out of boxes, and many people's coupons have expired.
2. Connect the box to the TV and to the antenna. Somehow the DVD/VCR goes in there, too. See how many wires go out the back of the box?
3. Go back to the independent TV guy and find out which connections we have hooked up wrong since nothing works at all.
4. Reconnect the cables and scan for channels.
5. Figure out the sequence of use of the remote controls to get a signal.
We consolidated our remote controls to only three by replacing the old DVD and the old VCR with a combination unit.
Once we had done this, we had three of our normal five stations coming in on digital signal, and suddenly had several other variations on these stations.
Since it was still early in the game, we figured the other two stations were not yet broadcasting in digital. A different sequence of remote control mechanations would get those stations in analog.
And all was well.
Then we found out that all stations in our area were already broadcasting in digital as well as analog. So we scanned again. The congress had changed the digital changeover date to June 12, but most of our local stations, ready for the change and needing to do so because of equipment, are completing the change on the original date--NEXT WEEK. So we scanned the stations again, and got no additional stations.
We went to see our local independent TV guy again. and about $150 later, took this down:
...and put this up:
and scanned again.
They say that with Digital you either have a signal or you don't. There is no putting up with a bad signal--if it's bad, it isn't there.
We are still lacking one station. Unless we can figure out something, it's goodby CSI, NCIS, Survivor, Amazing Race, and Numb3rs.
And that's not even touching on the TV in the bedroom, where this:
...used to bring in a signal just fine, but we had to buy this as well as the converter box:
...but it still doesn't bring in any Digital Stations.
ABC Wednesday, in its fourth round, originated with Mrs. Nesbitt. To find the other participants, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog.
I'd like to make special note of David McMahon's post D is for Desolation. It is worth a read.