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Digital Converters

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There is some confusion about what digital converters actually do. Since the conversion to digital format, broadcast stations, those that you used to access over the air, aren't transmitting in a format you can receive with just an antenna and an older picture-tube style television set. Analog over-the-air broadcasting that older televisions used has been retired in favor of digital.

Using Digital Converters

This doesn't mean you can't use CRT television sets anymore, though. For some applications, analog signals were converted to digital even before the changeover so the technology has been around for a while. Now there are special set top boxes that do that in reverse; they change newer digital signals to the older analog format.

With a specially designed converter box, you can continue watching your favorite over the air broadcast stations on an analog television without investing in cable access or any other television pay service. You will have to buy the converter, though. For a number of months, the federal government was giving them away free to qualified applicants. If that program isn't extended, you can pick up a converter for under twenty dollars at your local electronics supply outlet.

There are some things you may want to consider before you do that, though. The new digital format has a lot to offer in terms of picture quality. The digital signal carries much more embedded information that helps create a crisp, vivid picture -- but you'll have to invest in a high definition television set in order to enjoy it. Take a look at what HDTVs are going for these days, and compare the picture quality to your analog set. It won't take long to discover that there really is no comparison. Regardless of the HDTV technology you're viewing, it will be superior to analog in almost every particular. Better yet, prices for digital TVs are coming down all the time.

Digital converters make it easy to keep your old set, but you may want to explore trading in your analog television for a newer digital high-def model, especially if your TV is 32 inches or smaller. Smaller flat screens are experiencing the biggest price drops these days, and over-production in this tight economic environment has made them a great buy, especially now.

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