Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Analog To Digital TV

I've only owned two televisions in the past 15 years. One is a portable 9 inch TV, and the other is a 21 inch TV set. A friend felt so sorry for my 9 inch "big screen" TV that he gave us his old 21 inch. So now we have two TVs at home, but unfortunately both are analog TVs...

On midnight February 17, 2009, all the analog TV broadcasts will cease; and it will be 100 percent digital. We don't watch much television at home, but I thought we might as well use our $40 TV converter box coupon, purchase a converter box, and make the transition to digital.

During the past weekend, we finally set up our TV converter box and installed a new antenna (replacing the "rabbit ears"). Now we have over sixty TV channels, and we even pick up HDTV stations in Riverside, Orange County, and San Diego. I was happy with the quality of the reception.

Which converter box and antenna did we get? I purchased a Tivax STB-T9 Digital-to-Analog TV Converter (only $7 with the $40 coupon), and the RCA ANT2000 Smart Flat Antenna ($44). The "smart" antenna incorporates phased array technology. When used with the converter box, it automatically adjusts electronically to the strongest signal.

I first tried setting up this antenna on the wall right next to the TV. Reception was OK, but not good with the more distant stations, like the ones over 30 miles away. So I moved the antenna up into the attic near the highest point in the house and connected it to the converter box with a 75 ohm video coaxial cable.

The coaxial cable runs down inside the wall from the attic, and terminates at a wall plate. So with the antenna hidden upstairs, it sort of looks like we have "cable". This set-up greatly improved both the number of TV stations received and their signal strength. Now with 60 HDTV channels, who really needs cable? We can catch all the PBS stations in our area -- KVCR in Riverside, KCET in Los Angeles, and KOCE in Orange County...

By the way, this website called AntennaWeb is helpful to figure out where the TV broadcast stations are located (direction and distance). You can determine what kind of antenna might work best with your TV converter box.


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