Converter Boxes: How Do They Work? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/21/08

Converter Boxes: How Do They Work?

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If you're watching TV through an antenna, you will lose reception next February. That's because the government is changing the way television signals are broadcast. They are doing away with analog and changing to digital. There's no need to be blown away by all this technological information. It's really simple to understand and we're going to break it all down for you in this special addition of Does It Work?  

A converter box is, well, I'll let Beau Salvage tell you. He's the expert we consulted from Ace Hardware inside the Lowe's Marketplace at 82nd and Slide.

"If you solely use an antenna to receive your TV signal, free television broadcasting, you will need a converter box," says Salvage.

There are about 70 different kinds of converter boxes on the market that are eligible for the government $40 coupon, but we're taking at look at these four; Magnavox, RCA, Philco, and Zenith. 

First let's talk hook-up; just plug your antenna into the converter box and then the TV. It's that easy.   You see, the box will convert the digital signal and turn it to an analog signal, so your old TV set can read the signal. Here's what we found out about the Zenith, RCA, Magnavox and Philco.  Each converter box picked up nine of the ten channels broadcasting in Lubbock.  

So, now it comes down to features. I liked the Zenith because it has more features, but the Philco and this particular Magnavox model have what's called an Analog Pass-through, which means, "You can still use your analog tuner to pick up those low power stations," said Salvage. Those would be your Spanish speaking channels.

Here's something really cool about all these converter boxes; with a digital signal, your picture is going to be much clearer - no more snowy or blurry signals. "That's one of the benefits to digital over analog," said Salvage.

You're also going to get more channels, like NewsChannel 11's Weather Plus. Another feature is that each converter box will display what's on TV now and what's coming up next.    

In a nutshell, all these converter boxes worked and you're going to need one if you have an analog TV set. KCBD has a whole section on the "Big Switch" to digital, to learn more click here.

If you'd like to sign up for a $40 coupon from the government, click here.  Most converter boxes are going to cost around $50 to $60.

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