Analog vs. Digital: The countdown is on

Seven On Your Side
February 4, 2009 1:41:14 PM PST
The countdown is on. The official switch from analog to digital TV is now underway.So what does that mean to you as a TV viewer? Will you have to get a new TV? Seven On Your Side's Tappy Phillips helps you make an easy transition.

It can be very confusing, the switch from analog to digital television transmission. Who will it affect and what do you need to do?

On June 12, 2009, if you're one of the tens of millions with an analog TV, you will see nothing but snow. (Note: The transition was originally set for February 17, 2009, but has since been delayed).

But not for cable and satellite customers.

"No matter what kind of TV you have, if you have satellite or cable, you have nothing to worry about," said Paul Reynolds, of "Consumer Reports" magazine.

That's because cable and satellite already deliver a digital signal.

Those affected will be those with the old rabbit ears or a roof antenna.

"The chances are, if its a television set you bought more than two years ago, unless you know it's a high definition television set, chances are it won't be digital," Reynolds said.

In the last two years, just about all new TV's sold are digital. But analog sets are still on the shelves.

"If retailers are still selling analog-only televisions, they must display prominantly on or near the television set a label that tells the consumer that it is an analog-only television set and that after the transition it will require a converter box," the FCC's Cathy Seidel said.

And at a local Target, we found analog sets with the warning labels.

And how can you tell if your existing set is analog or digital?

"If the consumer isn't sure, we advise them to contact the manufacturer of that particular set or their local retailer," Seidel said.

After 2009, you will still be able to use your analog set, you'll just need to buy a converter box. The government is making $40 vouchers available to help out.

If you have any questions, you can either call 1-888-CALL-FCC or visit

For more information on the conversion, visit