Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's time to git yerself one, or two

If you are an OTA (over the air) television watcher and don't want to replace your analog TVs before the March 2009 official switchover to digital broadcasting, it's time to get your $40 coupons from the federal government, and buy a set top converter box. I went to Wal-Mart today and picked up the RCA DTA800 for $49.87 (so less than $10 after coupon). It's easy to hook up, and has RF (coax) and composite video-left/right audio output. Why no S-video or other output, you ask? Because to be eligible for the $40 coupon the box has to be minimally functional.

Just hook it up between your existing antenna and TV (or recorder). You don't get HD quality since you are still using your old TV, but you do get to watch the multiple digital stations (instead of just one analog signal per station you will probably get two or more) that are already available over the air, and you'll get simple on-screen TV schedule description.

What's available -- analog and digital -- in your area? Use Antenna Web to find out. You don't need to input your personal information, a zip code will do.

So join the 20th century before the first decade of the 21st is over :)

Unrelated trivia: What is the source of the electricity to run your converter box and old TV? See PG&E's "power mix".