|DTV Converter Box: When To Buy?|
|By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
Published February 11, 2009
Last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that the nation-wide deadline for the switchover of primary television broadcast signals to digital would be delayed by four months. The original deadline was to be next week, February 17. But that was delayed to June 12 to give consumers additional time to prepare.
Nationwide publicity campaigns have reminded American consumers that, after the deadline, they will need to have updated equipment to continue receiving a signal. If a person’s TV is not already equipped to receive a digital signal, then a special converter box would be needed to continue receiving the new digital signals. This piece of hardware will convert the digital signals into an analog format that the TV set can read.
But Moapa Valley residents who still use free TV airwaves will most likely have even longer than the June 12 deadline before they will need the converter. In last week’s Moapa Valley Television District (MVTVD) board meeting, Chairman Daniel Pray explained why.
Most of the signals received by local residents are secondary signals, Pray said. They have been received by MVTVD equipment at its Beacon Hill facility and then re-transmitted down into the community. “As the primary transmission of these signals have (and continue to be) changed over to digital, we have had to update our equipment up there to be able to receive these signals,” said Pray. “But we are still re-broadcasting those signals to the Valley in analog format.”
Over the past year, most of the MVTVD efforts have been centered on the need to update equipment to be able to receive the new digital signals in time for the deadline. The change in deadline gives the district a little more time to do that. Currently, however, the MVTVD equipment already receives four of its channels in a digital format.
The district has plans in the works to begin updating its transmission equipment so that it can re-transmit these signals in digital as well. This is a costly process and must be done one station at a time.
“We hope to have one channel; and possibly more; in digital transmission by sometime this summer,” Pray said.
Until then the district signals will continue to transmit in analog and no converter box will be needed yet.
“It is important for our customers to realize that they don’t need to rush out just yet,” Pray said. “And if they have already bought a converter and found that they don’t need it yet, they shouldn’t get rid of it. They may need it soon.”
Pray emphasized that if residents have a newer TV set, they may not even need a converter box. But if a converter is needed, the units are available at the Radio Shack in Overton. The cost for a converter is $59.99. The federal government is offering $40 discount coupons to anyone who applies. Applications for the vouchers are available at www.dtv2009.gov/