Tip Remember to scan periodically to make sure that you are receiving all of the digital channels that are available in your area. More

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Frequently Asked Questions

Please note that the June 12, 2009 DTV transition deadline does not apply to low-power television (LPTV) stations. The FCC will determine a deadline for these stations to transition to digital at a future date. Learn more about LPTV.

Top FAQs

Can I Still Use My Old Analog TV Set? How?

Your analog TV set will not be obsolete once the transition to DTV is completed, but there are some steps you must take to be able to continue to use it. To ensure continued use of your analog set, you must do one of the following:

  • Use a digital-to-analog converter box.
  • Connect to a subscription service such as cable or satellite TV.

In addition, analog sets should continue to work with gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products that you use now.

This converter box, much like your cable box, will allow you to receive a picture, but it won't be able to show high-definition pictures or give you access to other digital services.

Analog TV sets will need additional equipment to receive over-the-air television when the DTV Transition is completed. All broadcast TV stations in the country have temporary use of a second, separate channel so that they can transition from analog broadcasting to digital.

Congress has set June 12, 2009 as the final deadline for terminating analog broadcasts. Under the law, on February 17, some full-power broadcast television stations in the United States have already stopped broadcasting on analog airwaves and have begun broadcasting only in digital. The remaining stations will stop broadcasting analog sometime between April 16 and June 12. Analog sets equipped with a converter box will display the digital broadcasts, but not in full digital quality.

For more information on antennas, see the Antenna Guide.


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Can I Use My UHF/VHF Antenna to Receive DTV?

Television stations broadcasting in digital use both the VHF (channels 2-13) and UHF (channels 14-51) bands. Many indoor antennas use “rabbit ears” for the VHF band and a “loop” or “bow-tie” antenna for the UHF band.

Make sure you are using an antenna that covers both the VHF and UHF bands and have connected it properly.

dtv illustration

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Does the DTV Transition Affect TV Sets That Are Connected to Cable Services?

No. If you subscribe to cable service, the DTV transition should not affect any TV sets that are connected to your cable services. The DTV transition applies only to full-power broadcast television stations – stations that use the public airwaves to transmit their programming to viewers through a broadcast antenna.

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How Do I Improve DTV Signal Strength?

Your DTV reception can be affected by terrain, trees, buildings, the weather, damaged equipment, as well as antenna type, location, and orientation. It can be improved just by changing the location of the antenna you’re using now. Moving your antenna away from other objects and structures, or placing it higher, can often improve reception. The performance of outdoor antennas can degrade over time due to exposure to the weather. Also, you may consider installing a signal booster, which should improve reception. If you are having trouble receiving a broadcast:

  • Check your connections.
  • Perform a channel scan.
  • Adjust your antenna.

The FCC Consumer Facts sheet “Troubleshooting Guide For Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes and Digital Televisions” at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/troubleshootguide.html should help you diagnosis and correct your problem.

Stations may make changes to their coverage between now and June 12, 2009. To find DTV signals that are available at your location, go to DTV Reception Maps.

For more information on antennas, see the Antenna Guide.


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What Converter Boxes Are Eligible in the Coupon Program?

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