Knowing about cable tv conversion

Seven On Your Side
September 17, 2008 2:52:01 PM PDT
If you watch WABC-TV on a tv that gets its signal from rabbit ears or a roof antenna, this story is for you. In February of next year, the signal is going to change and you will need a converter box to watch us. Where do you get one? Seven on your Side has the answers. "I had cable for a while, but it was getting too expensive for me," said James Smith.

Smith is one of the more than 300,000 viewers in the New York area who do not have cable. They get their tv from the broadcast signal, picked up by an antenna. But on February 17, 2009, that's going to change.

The federal government has mandated that all tv stations convert from analog to digital. So if you currently get your tv from the airwaves and not from cable, you will need to buy a converter box.

At a informational event in Harlem today, Radio Shack showed it's converter box version for $59.95, but you can get help from the government in paying for it.

And it turns out the installing the boxes may not be as easy and just plugging them in. A test was recently run in Wilmington, North Carolina, and it didn't go smoothly.

Television is no longer just a luxury, or pure entertainment, it is the lifeline for many to the outside world, a place where they learn the news and alerts about weather or other disasters. So if you don't have cable, you might want to start thinking about a conversion box now.

To find out how to get the $40 federal voucher, go to, If you don't have a computer, you can call 888-CALL-FCC.

To find out where to find WABC-TV on your digital TV, go to,


Click here for more New York and Tri-State News

Report a typo || Email 7 On Your Side || Send news photos/videos