Goodbye Analog TVs - Old Database

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Goodbye Analog TVs

No... not in the Philippines, but in the United States. I think we'll still be on "Analog" until the world's end. Hahaha!

The US federal government is turning off analog television at the stroke of midnight on February 17, 2009. The idea is to provide better images and sound, deliver programming options and free up airwaves for emergency first responders, such as police and fire services. This is the biggest change to standard TV signals since color TVs were introduced over 50 years ago.

Digital television (DTV) signals are transmitted using computer code -- ones and zeroes -- that provide a higher quality picture and sound than analog and which are less susceptible to interference.

On February 17, 2009 analog signals will NOT be available over the air (in the U.S. only) and all tuners getting signals over the air will need to be ATSC tuners which accept digital signals. TVs can receive digital signals over the air, often using the same external antennas but they’ll need to have an ATSC digital tuner in order to hear or see anything. Cable-based systems should not be affected since cable companies should continue to offer analog signals for most basic cable channels. Satellite systems already transmit digital signals and should not be affected either by the switchover.

So, what does this mean for you and other TV owners? offers an overview of what you need to know about the coming digital TV switchover. They have recommendations for the best values in TV sets and DVD recorders including HDTV LCD TVs, DVD recorders, and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs).

Converter Boxes

A converter box will most likely be the cheapest solution especially if you use a $40 coupon for a $60 converter box however it could make for a few hassles. For starters, you’ll have another remote to deal with. If you’re lucky, your universal remote will work with your old TV and the converter box but Grandma will have to figure out how to switch devices on the remote to raise the volume. You’ll also have something else to plug into an outlet and fit on the shelf.

Some DTV converter boxes are already available like the Insignia Digital to Analog Converter Box which costs around $60. The recently announced EchoStar TR-40 which is expected to sell for $39.99. Expect to see a much wider selection as the months go by. Some estimates claim there are 30 million analog sets that will require converter boxes or will need to be replaced.

Good Values in LCD TVs

The Syntax Olevia 527V can be purchased for just a shade over $500 but it offers 720p HDTV in a big 27 inch LCD TV. The Samsung LN-S1951W is a 19 inch LCD TV that gets good user ratings and costs around $400. The Toshiba 20HL67 is a 20 inch HDTV that gets good reviews and will cost you around $450. The Sharp AQUOS LC-19DV22U is a 720p LCD HDTV that you can buy for under $500.

Time to Replace That Old VCR

If you haven’t made the switch to TIVO or DVR and still have an old VCR between your cable box and TV set, chances are it won’t work either when the digital change takes place next year. You can still put a converter box in front of the old unit but you might want to take the opportunity to upgrade the old tape-based VCR to a DVD recorder. You can purchase a DVD recorder for under $200. Retrevo can help find some good values based on DVD recorder reviews, features and prices. Here are a few top picks: Toshiba D R-400, Panasonic DMR-EZ27, and Panasonic DMR-EZ17.

Digital Video Recorders store programs on internal hard drives. TIVO is the most popular brand. You can also rent a DVR set top box from cable companies like Comcast or Satellite providers like DirecTV. Here are some of the top models of TIVO DVRs: Tivo Series 2, Tivo Series 3, and DirecTV HR20-700.

Use Retrevo to See If Your Set is Digital

Misplaced the manual to your TV? Retrevo has manuals for most popular TV sets going back many years. You can use Retrevo to help find out if your old TV is digital or analog. Use the Retrevo search box to enter your make and model number along with either the word “manual, ATSC, QAM, or digital channels.” You can also browse for a manual on Retrevo by clicking here.

Don’t forget, you can find manuals and reviews for all popular gadgets and gear including GPS , Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Printers, and more from manufacturers including Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, and more at!

So, if your from the U.S., be prepared on next year's analog to digital switching phenomenon! If you're from the Philippines, be prepared if you want to. Hehe. :)