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In our house, we haven’t had cable tv for about 6 years. When we moved in, there was an antenna on the roof and coax cable to a bunch of locations where tvs could go. In the basement is a signal amplifier that seems to help all the equipment find the signal. It took some getting used to, but most of what we watch is on over the air broadcast anyway. Free over the air broadcast is the way it should be. The 40ish year old antenna on the roof was recently replaced with a fresh one from the dump.

Most of what is on tv is useless, so why pay for the mind numb? Well, I am not the only video consumer in the manse, so when the big date for Analog to Digital broadcast comes along, I will have to do something.

At this writing, a few stations are dropping their analog signal. A football game here, morning cartoons there, public service announcements hinting at what is to come and eventually the screen will go blue.

So not everything can be watched online, though there are some great resources for watching.

Hulu, youtube, Vimeo, PBS and lots of other online outlets will help keep you up to speed with lots of good video based information.

Make:TV may be reason in itself to get a digital converter box for every tv in the house.

The most useful piece of information on the change from Analog to Digital I have seen is a show on PBS. They have a half hour segment where the hosts go through a neighborhood and help check out the houses’ digital connectivity. Take a look at the show and see where you stand.

What is your plan for the great Analog to Digital changeover? Where do you get your information? What do you like about digital tv? How do you record tv shows now that video tape is just about extinct? What are your solutions to surviving and prospering in the digital tv age? Add your comments to the discussion and contribute your photos and video to the Make Flickr pool.

Chris Connors

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.


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Comments

  1. ChrisW says:

    The first round of converter box coupons just ran out of money. There is a waiting list for coupons which will become available once the unused coupons expire. This will become a major problem when people turn on their TV’s on 2/18 and get nothing but snow. I won’t be surprised if they tell me to keep the transmitter on for a few more months.

  2. Spikenzie says:

    I live north of Vermont / New York and do not watch much TV. The over the air reception with an antenna on the roof is ok, but fuzzy on some channels.
    I was curious about digital TV, so I purchased a $40 converter in NYC. The results are amazing! Channels that were fuzzy are now clear and there are even more channels that were not available as analog!
    Never the less, I still don’t watch much TV.

  3. Lex says:

    you guys are getting there now?? we have digital tv for 3 years already over here in Estonia.. not being rude here or anything.. just weird.

  4. Sleepydog says:

    If you have a converter box, here’s a easy, simple and cheep antenna you can make with scrap parts. Mine works great:

  5. adam says:

    dtv is probably available everywhere in the us by now. has been for years. people have been wrapped up by HD and have in many ways failed to purchase tvs that are digital air or digital cable capable. I work for a major cable company and have helped people set up digital tvs for internal and set top box over the air dtv even without amplifiers in apartment settings and with even the old style “non digital” amplifiers most people have had spectacular results.

  6. Rob Cruickshank says:

    Haven’t made this yet, (my rabbit ears pick up local DTV channels here in Toronto just fine) but looks fun to play with:
    http://members.shaw.ca/hdtvantenna/

  7. Ryan says:

    I just had the cable switched off on New Years.

    We have 3 TV’s, 2 are HD, one is not. 1 HD has an ATSC tuner. I have two converter boxes and a TiVo HD. I have a large antenna to install, but right now I am running two small antenna on two of the TV’s. Tivo HD records shows, and I have an appletv + boxee on the other TV.

    Hardest part was getting buy in from the two toddlers in the house.

  8. wonder-wheeler says:

    We are 80 to 90 miles from the big transmitters and have found the digital converter boxes very helpful, and have had two for several weeks. Have a large VHF antenna on a piece of pipe about twenty feet off the ground. We find we have additional channels and the image is practically cable quality. Much better than what we had before.

    We watch a lot of PBS and we now have two PBS channels instead of one. 6.1 and 6.2. The coupons were helpful, and I ordered the boxes off ebay. The Sony tv we had was apparently HD ready, so we can get many of the programs in high density now also. The boxes each come with a remote, and this can also adjust sound volume, and also can show a text menu of the current and upcoming shows.

    The only real inconvenience, is that you have to use two remotes (or two boxes including the tv) to turn it on, and the volume setting on the tv effects the maximum volume you can get on the other (digital) remote. Also, you have to turn the set and digital off in the right sequence, or you can get blasted by full volume as you turn the tv off late at night. :-0

  9. tuckerch says:

    May be getting a Samsung 24″ 1080p LCD set in February or thereabouts.

    Currently a Comcast subscriber.

    The Internet is my DVR.

    A Mac Mini with an HDMI port would be some killer media center hardware.

  10. richardb says:

    I have a cable box and Freeview (I’m in the UK) and never use any channel that you can’t get on the free service. However every time I think about cancelling the cable I work out it’s around £10 a month and don’t get round to it as it doesn’t seem worth the bother of cancelling. I guess this is the bundle factor, take one part and it seems very cheap so inertia prevents any changes being made. I know there’s a similar switchover going on in the USA – if you’d like to check out the site it’s here http://www.digital-tv-advice.co.uk

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