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Try out converter box, antenna early for DTV transition

In two months television stations will switch off analog transmitters and broadcast only in digital.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — In two months, television stations will switch off analog transmitters and broadcast only digital signals.

To keep getting a television signal, people can purchase cable or satellite, buy a digital television or buy an antenna and converter box.

Installing a converter box and an antenna

“The signal has to come through the converter box in order for the converter box to do its job and make the picture show up on the TV,” WRAL’s Tyler Hobbs said.

A cable runs from the antenna to the converter box. Another cable goes from the box to the television. When it is first hooked up, however, viewers will probably still see snow.

Viewers should use their television remote to go to channel 3 or 4 and then hit “menu” on the converter box's remote.

“What you're generally going to want to do is go to 'auto tuning,' and then you press the ‘OK’ button” to scan to find channels, Hobbs said.

It is important to note that many stations already broadcast  digitally on at least two sub-channels (ex: 5.1, 5.2), so the number of channels will be doubled.

Antenna tweaking


If there are missing channels, is no signal or the picture is breaking-up, move the antenna.

“Just a simple movement, even if it's an indoor antenna from off your TV to your mantle or to a bookcase or something like that may completely take care of all of your problems,” Hobbs said.

Then re-scan for channels. If that doesn't work, a different type of indoor antenna may be needed.

Hobbs says rabbit ears probably won't do the job. An outdoor antenna mounted in the attic or on the roof may be needed.

The key is to try it out before the conversion takes place on Feb. 17.

“You kind of have to go through a trial-and-error process because if you want to receive your broadcasting over the air, it's not an exact science. Some things will work for some people, but not work for others, so sometimes you have to do a little experimentation,” Hobbs said.

Dish Network and Direct TV have not transitioned their satellite signals to digital yet, but the providers say they will be ready for the switch.



Monica Laliberte, Reporter
David McCorkle, Photographer
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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