Tuesday, February 10, 2009

ABC Wednesday--D is for...

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.


Janie said...

Sounds like quite a time consuming and expensive project, changing over to digital.
Interesting "d" post.

Liz said...

We've had a box for a while too and we go digital this summer I think. I love your old bedroom aerial!

Congrats on your 501st post!

Babooshka said...

I had this for my odd shot the other week as the smae thing is happening here. You explained this so well. The only way to get a decent signal is with cable so we all have converted anyway.

Neva said...

OMG...just when you thought that all would be well....the government gets involved with my TV watching.....love your "D"...and glad I have cable.......

One of "the kids" said...

You can watch them all at cbs.com, and probably other sites too. (I watch Numb3rs on Netflix each week.)

We've opted not to get a box as all of our programs are available online.

Do you want our TiVo?

Rose said...

I have been listening to all the complaints on a local radio station about the conversion and its postponement. Everyone makes it sound as if it will be so simple to change--obviously, it's not! Most of our local channels have already made the change to digital as well. Good luck getting everything straightened out--I hope you can get all your stations soon.

Lene said...

It was a lot easyer in the good old days ;)

Have a nice day :) Maby there is something interesting at tv tonight ;)

Julie said...

I'm so with you on all this, except I still have 4 remotes, not 3. We get tons of PBS stations now and CBS is fabulous (it comes out of Lewiston) and FOX is sporadic, but cannot get a digital signal for ABC or NBC. I have been researching whether I want to go with DISH or DirectTV since this is all so ridiculous and of course in the boonies we don't have cable or enough bandwidth to watch TV online without upping my satellite internet plan. A person can get monthly feed to death! BTW, we ended up having to order our boxes through Radio Shack last summer! Great post Kathy.

photowannabe said...

How exhausting. I thought that it was a simple proceedure. We have Direct TV so we were set to go from the start. What a crazy ploy this whole thing is anyway.

Kim said...

Remind me why it is for the better good that we all have digital stations? Luckily we pay the 8 dollars a month for basic cable and don't have to deal with it, but I know a lot of people who have been negatively affected by this. Oh well, what can we do?

Happy ABC Wednesday :)

Tumblewords: said...

I'd like to laugh but I'm almost crying. I ordered a coupon and was warned I could only order one. It didn't come. TV hasn't much to offer any more anyway, but it's hard to believe life could get this complicated and then even more so at the last minute. Good post! Good luck!

Leslie: said...

I'm so sorry that I'm laughing simply because when I got a new server (supposedly the best in the area) I got their "wonderful" remote control. Well, every day something screws up with that remote and I'm ready to chuck it at the TV! Takes FOREVER to reset everything! I empathise with you.

Reader Wil said...

In my country we have the same problems. I once could try digital TV with a converter box. But after one day I asked to take the whole thing back.I didn't see any difference and all my programmes were at sixes and sevens.
Excellent D post!

Lilli & Nevada said...

Now Katney you should see what we have to go thru just being on cable,At first we thought you didn't need a box if you were on cable, but nope that is not true. And beings we are a motel the added fee a month for each box is ridiculous, I for one think that since we didn't ask for this change it should be included. And then let me tell ya that we have to have 3 remotes to run the stupid thing. Since we have DVD's to rent. And if someone brings there own stuff they can't get to main menu without the remote.
I find it along with guests a real pain in the you know where.

PERBS said...

Maybe I am glad I never got the converter. I decided to just give up TV BUT last month I changed my mind and the same day the news said, they ahd run out of coupons to send you.

Now, how can they do that? How did they know who had TV's that needed them? It was stupid to say you couldn't use coupons distributed after a couple months. I was told to get on a list to get them when they produced more. I was going to do that but now I think I will just wait and buy a new TV that doesn't need this crap. . . someday . . . after all, my TV is 22 years old.

I will only really miss HOUSE and I can go to the rec room on the 9th floor to watch TV if I want because they have cable there. Maybe I will turn on my radio more. . . hope I don't need a converter for that also.

Grace said...

Thanks for visiting my ABCs... I'm just loving some of those pixs of antennas. I never thought about it being difficult to get those converter boxes.

kml said...

We haven't set ours up yet - and I'm not looking forward to it.

Wish they would just leave things alone.