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2009 Digital Television Transition


After June 12, 2009, most television stations will switch from analog to digital broadcasting. Television viewers that use a television with a digital tuner or subscribe to a pay television service such as cable or satellite will not be affected by the transition. Analog televisions receiving free broadcasts through rabbit ears or a roof antenna will not work after June 12.

What are my options?

Owners of analog televisions may be thinking, "Now what?" Well, you do have a couple of options.

  • Buy a new digital television.
  • Subscribe to cable, satellite or other pay TV service.
  • Buy a digital converter box.

If you don't want to buy a new television or subscribe to cable, satellite or other pay television service, you can update an older television to receive digital broadcasts by attaching a digital converter box. Converter boxes connect to your television in much the same way a VCR does. The converter box works with your antenna to convert the digital transmission to analog so your analog television can receive television broadcasts.


Certified digital-to-analog converter boxes are expected to cost between $50-$70. To help consumers pay for the converter boxes, the federal government is offering US households up to two $40 coupons. Coupons are free, but expire after 90 days and supplies are limited. To apply for your converter box coupons visit www.dtv2009.gov or call 888-388-2009. This Web site and hotline number can provide you with more information on the converter box coupon program, how to tell if your television is analog or digital and where to find a converter box retailer near you.


What should I do with my analog television?

Reuse it - Just because a television will stop receiving analog signals, does not mean everything will stop working. You can still connect your gaming systems, VCRs or DVD players to the television.

Donate it - Schools, nursing homes and other organization might have a need for a television to watch movies or even training videos. By donating your unwanted, working television, you are helping that group provide a service that they could not otherwise afford.

Recycle it - There are environmentally friendly options available to recycle, instead of throw away, an old television. A legitimate electronics recycler can remove potentially hazardous materials from inside a television. Doing so will not only help prevent those materials from accidentally being exposed to the environment but also means the materials can be reused to make new products. By recovering and reusing these materials, the need to mine for new raw materials is reduced. Besides being possibly disruptive to the environment, mining requires large amounts of energy.



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