Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

What’s up with Digital TV?

Big things are happening around Tech–for Everyone H.Q.. In part, this is due to the upcoming change in how we Americans  receive our broadcast television programming (of course, I’m referring to the switch from analog broadcast signals to digital due in 2009), and in part due to the beginning of football season.

Those of you that watch television are probably aware that some of your shows are being broadcast in “Hi Def”. Some of our local newscasts are very pleased to be coming to us in Hi Def, though I cannot (and I’m a fairly imaginative guy) imagine the advantage of that.. two people reading teleprompters, in HD??? This is possible due to the fact that many transmitters are already broadcasting digital signals, as well as the analog we’ve been getting for decades. For more details on the technology of HDTV and digital broadcasts, click here.

To take advantage of these signals/broadcasts, all the sources (I could find) tell you that all you need is: “Over the air with an antenna: Most cities in the US with major network affiliates broadcast over the air in HD. To receive this signal an HD tuner is required. Most newer HDTV televisions have an HD tuner built in. For HDTV televisions without a built in HD tuner, a separate set-top HD tuner box can be rented from a cable or satellite company or purchased.”

The way I read that is I can either buy a new TV (with a “built in tuner”) or buy a set-top “box”.  I should tell you that we here at T4E Headquarters are extremely CHEAP and getting us to part with a dollar is a major undertaking. We do not buy new TV’s if the TV we’re already using isn’t dead-as-a-doornail (and the repair cost is equal to, or greater than, a new one). We “get our money’s worth” out of any investment and ride it until the wheels fall off.
A new TV is out of the question.

So I went looking for digital antennas and set-top tuners. I found the antennas easy enough ($19.99 and up), but no one could help me find the tuners. They seem not to exist.
That fact rather startled me. What is going to happen to all those Americans who cannot afford a new TV (with a built-in “tuner”)? It is a fact that not everyone has $1,000 for a new TV.
And if a new TV is required, what’s going to happen to all the old analog TVs? Do they get tossed in the trash? (Mother Nature won’t be pleased with that!)

It seems to me that a digital signal to analog output ‘box’ is an absolute necessity and simply must exist… but I couldn’t find one. I did find DVRs that could do this for around $300 (and up). Around T4E HQ, three hundred bucks is a prohibitive amount. Not a not-do-able amount, but it gives pause.

So we joined the ranks of thousands of other people and ordered satellite TV as part of a “bundle” (a package of services) and helped a monopoly become even stronger.
But we get football. Lots of football.

Perhaps my readers know of a set-top tuner, or another more affordable solution for people to deal with the upcoming end of analog broadcasts. I simply cannot believe that all these existing TVs will become garbage, or that we’ll all be forced into paying for television (that concept is downright un-American!). I really would appreciate some feedback on this topic.
If I simply did not look hard enough (or, in the right places) please let me know.

Today’s free link: IrfanView is a free digital image viewer, organizer, editor, converter, and more. It’s list of features and abilities is too long to list here, so take a look by clicking here.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul, All Rights Reserved.

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September 15, 2007 Posted by | add device, computers, hardware, HDTV, how to, PC, shopping for, tech, Windows | 1 Comment