Digital TV Converter Box: "Does It Work?" - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

"Does It Work?"-05/13/07

Digital TV Converter Box: "Does It Work?"

On February 17th, 2009, analog television--what we've all known since the early 50s--will cease to exist. The good news is, we're not going to have to go back to watching the radio. In fact, the fix is already in. A new digital signal is out there right now. Question is, are you prepared to use it? Well, if you currently get your signal through a rabbit ears antenna or one on your roof, and you have an older TV, you may not be ready. In that case, you'll need one of those digital converter boxes, you've probably heard about. There are several to choose from, so this week, we put two popular brands to the test, in a special edition of "Does It Work?

If your VCR still flashes 12:00, you might be a little intimidated by these new devices on store shelves. But it's time to learn something new.  Otherwise, if your tv needs one, "you will not be able to watch television without it," says KLTV Chief Engineer, Butch Adair.  

Set up couldn't be easier.  Just unplug the antenna from your TV.  Plug that into the "input" on the converter box and attach the included wire between the "output" of the converter box to the antenna input of your television.  You're done!

Now, you'll notice, your old TV remote control doesn't work the way it used to.  That's good.  Your new converter box comes with a remote that now controls your volume, channel changing and power.  It does other things to that the analog-fed TV could not do.  You'll notice each TV station you used to get now is split into three, maybe four stations.  You have more choices!

You also will get new menus that tell you the name of the program that is on the channel you're watching now and the program that comes on next.  You also get a brief synopsis of the program.  

The other good thing about your new digital signal is, if you've got've got it. No more snow or audio trouble as you get farther from the source. "You can be 40 miles, 50 miles away from the station but if you've got enough signal to work, you'll have the same quality as the guy sitting right in town next to the station," says Adair.

There are about 70 different brands eligible for a $40 coupon. The hook up's the same, but some of the features differ. We liked the one from Zenith. It allows you to manually enter a station you know is in your area and gives you a little strength meter that will help you tune in that station by adjusting your antenna. This is also possible with the Insignia brand.  That's because it's the same exact box.

The RCA performed well, but manual tune-in was not possible this way, and if you struggle with eyesight, the channel number is much easier to read on the Zenith than on the RCA. "Does It Work?" Digital TV is better, offers more options and hook up's really a breeze. We give these converter boxes, a yes.

The Zenith and Insignia boxes were 59.99. The RCA box sells for 49.99.

Joe Terrell, Reporting

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