The Switch to DTV: Fact vs. Fiction

The switch to DTV happens on February 17, 2009. There are plenty of rumors circulating about what you need and don't need to have a successful transition. Let's set the record straight.

RUMOR: You have to subscribe to cable or Dish Network to be able to watch TV in 2009.
FACT: If you have a new TV, which is one you purchased within the past two years, you don't need to do a thing. If you have an older TV, broadcast stations will still provide over-the-air television for free, but you will need to plug in your antenna into the digital converter box to be able to get the signal.

RUMOR: You will need a special, expensive HDTV antenna to use the converter box.
FACT: Any antenna will work fine. You can buy the most basic version that will only run you about $10 or less. If you have an HDTV antenna, it will work fine, but it's not necessary.

RUMOR: The digital converter is going to be expensive.
FACT: You can order a coupon from the government by calling 800-DTV-2009. It is worth $40 and can be used towards the purchase of your converter box. After you cash in the coupon, the out of pocket cost to you will be between five and twenty dollars, depending on the converter model. Also, be aware that the coupon is only valid for ninety days, and if it expires, you cannot get another one, so make sure you use it as soon as you receive it.

RUMOR: If you have a digital ready television and/or already subscribe to Dish or cable, you do not need to purchase a converter.
FACT: You do not need the converter box to make the transition successful if you fit into one of the categories above, but it's a good idea to purchase one anyways, especially while they are so cheap with the government coupon. You will find the box useful if your cable or dish goes out for some reason, and you will not be able to access NewsChannel 10 or any other local channel, the best sources of information in an emergency situation.