What are your thoughts on the digital transition?

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#1
The transition to DTV has been delayed to 6-12-2009, but some TV stations have already begun the transition by choosing to switch over to digital broadcasts on February 17th, 2009 anyway.

How has the digital transition affected you?

Have you had to upgrade your antenna?

Have you been denied by the TV Converter Box Coupon Program?

Have you applied, but not received a converter coupon?

If you're already watching DTV through a converter box or a TV with a digital tuner, do you feel that it was worth the added expense?
 
#2
I will say my experience was rough at first but ended up very satisfying. here's my list of pros and cons and my experience afterward:

PROS:

Satellite-quality picture without the satellite bill

No static when moving around the house or during an approaching storm, audio and video stays intact rather well with a good signal and box worth its salt

Boxes are cheaper than anyone would expect for the great results.

DVRs are coming on the market and are easier to get than dealing with satellite companies and credit approval is not needed.

More channels available, even some only on cable (such as classic TV channels, ION TV, or others) through multicasting.

Electronic Program Guides are very handy

CONS:

Coupon box program isn't perfect, denies a few even though they should be eligible, possibly from the USPS's definition of the address in question being misidentified as a business?

Boxes are becoming out of stock as the transition looms ahead

Delays in the official date cause stations who don't choose to upgrade on the original date to share analog and digital causing weaker signals and more PSAs for four more months, which can delay the deployment of extra multicast channels originally planned to air in Feb 17, 2009.

Signal isn't forgiving as analog in any event of weather or distance from stations

Portable TVs that are handy in bad weather or during a power failure will require upgrading since any converter box requires AC power.

The satellite-fallacy of 'cliff effect' is the same with digital TV, any kind of rain or weather has the same effect on digital OTA reception as 'rain fade' on satellite TV, resulting in no picture or skipping audio during the storm.


My experience with setup wasn't as clean as i had hoped. i was denied coupons because the USPS thinks the trailer park i live in is a business and i cannot appeal. i also couldn't reach a human over DTV2009's contact info, just automated email replies and unmanned phone support that doesn't have a human even after trying star, pound, 9 or zero which usually ends up to a person. there is none as of when i tried in December.

My Fleetwood was equipped with a WineGard Sensar from the year 1986 (the date my trailer left the factory) with a booster wall recepticle. the booster was defective and when i used TV at all it was from rabbit ears. digital reception even with booster-equipped rabbit ears was sporadic and i was missing half my lineup and was more susceptible of interference in bad weather or from the use of appliances (cliff effect from the heater cycling for instance or when the refrigerator compressor runs) so i had the trouble with having to find a replacement recepticle for the Winegard, then after that i had a full 15-channel lineup, but only 30% signal, which is ok in perfect weather, but we have bad high-winds come winter from our north. up to 50 mph days on end. so the winegard was bobbing around like a tree limb and the channels were blank. that wasn't acceptible. so i had then been forced to climb on the roof and stabilize the antenna, got back down the wind wasn't causing drop-outs but i still had a lousy and still-sporadic 30% signal that seemed to go to that and zero off and on for no reason, and one of my converter boxes if it drops to 0% for any length of time, it gets 'unrecoverable' and stays there until the unit is powered off and then back on; the booster was working but it seemed insufficient. so i tried to add an inline booster but that made it worse. so i got back on the roof, looked at the antenna's balun that connects it to the house wiring and simply undid it and reconnected it, ruling out bad connections even though it appeared brand new. upon trying again it is now 90% on good days and no amount of wind seems to cause the signal to drop below the 40% threshold.

Rocky at first, but now i'm satisfied. my favorite channel so far is RTN 25, a TV Land like channel, but unlike TV land which hardly plays the classics, this one does. I also have a 24-7 weather channel, not available in analog.

The one thing i miss is our CW affiliate, WAZE-TV Evansville. it seems to not show in digital, still shows in analog. apparently they are in financial trouble and don't plan to exist after the transition, sad, since i had some shows that aren't usually on OTA like George Lopez and King of the hill and Family Guy, which exist only on satellite here and the CW.

As for the transition itself, i disagree with it being forced on everyone like a benevolent dictatorship. eventually as technology progresses people adopt and upgrade on their own free will. i think trying to force it is wrong. i always chose to upgrade as i see fit. and i don't like having anyone make the choice for me.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
#3
Here's what I think about the transition!!!

I think it would be great if I can get my VCR to work right!!!! I don't have cable in this neck of the woods, but I really do like the idea of having a few more channels. Especially the weather ones. The pictures are clearer at least.

If I find out later that I don't like it - I can either get cable or get rid of the TV and get more exercise. :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
#4
I think it would be great if I can get my VCR to work right!!!! I don't have cable in this neck of the woods, but I really do like the idea of having a few more channels. Especially the weather ones. The pictures are clearer at least.

If I find out later that I don't like it - I can either get cable or get rid of the TV and get more exercise. :)
Watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5yLDd_hYiM

----------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------



It's amazing when it works. I spend alot of time adjusting my antenna.

Analog needs to be THROWN into the gutter and DTV transmitters need to be put at the top of the towers and transmit @ FULL ERP regulated power so they can reach all viewers.

No viewers = no ratings or revenue from advertising. No advertising = no station.


Broadcasters are in for a rude awakening on June 12th.
 
Last edited:

IwantmyDTV

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
Transition

When I heard about the transition, I decided to get a jump on the rush for "$40 Coupon"s and requested two.
Up until that time I had only 2 analog tvs with rabbit ears, which on good days would receive 2 channels. The reception was fuzzy. If there were any subtitles, they couldn't be read.
When I bought my first converter box, I thought I had hit the poor mans tv lottery!! I went from the 2 fuzzy channels to 9 crystal clear channels!!! Yeah! :D So I purchased my second converter box (RCA like the first one). My local stations did their tests for readyness--I passed! "This DTV convertion thing is a GREAT idea!"
That's what I thought BEFORE one station actually switched 2/17/09.
I lost that stations 3 affiliates, but the other 6 channels are still there. Noone can tell me why! Rescans, resets, antenna positioning, stronger antenna--NOTHING!! I passed the digital readiness tests!!! What's changed that I can't get those channels now??? What were those tests actually testing??
I would hate to invest in either a new converter box or another antenna, not knowing which, if either, would fix the problem. And I can't afford a monthly cable/satellite bill.
I'm NOT looking forward to 6/09 when I lose the remaining channels!!!!:mad:
 
Last edited by a moderator:
#6
i think it is horrible! i am a single working mother. i receive no government assistance or child support. it is very hard financially just getting by everyday. i don't have cable and now my children are not going to be able to watch regular tv because i can not afford a converter box. did the government think about people like me? what am i to do? also elderly people on fixed income who can't afford this. what about them? i guess my children with have to go back to the olden days and play games or read books for their enjoyment since the government is taking away tv.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#7
Yes, the government did think about folks like you, and made arrangements to provide you the assistance you would need to address this issue. Everyone has had all of 2008 to request two $40 coupons from the government, and use them to purchase converter boxes, which sold at retail for about $50. There was a clear expectation that people had to take some responsibility for themselves and their own circumstances, and ask for the assistance that the government made available.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#8
For myself, it's been a very good experience for the most part.

We did lose all the Cincinnati station except for 64 for several days. That started on 2/17 but they're all back now, although 19 isn't as good as it was.

Money wise I've spent a little more than $125 to upgrade my system which includes 2 converter boxes, a CM7777 pre-amp, antenna combiner, and a 4-bay antenna. I didn't have to get the pre-amp and 4-bay but I'm greedy and want more channels lol. Those two additions added five new channels to the line up so it's worth it to me.

And I'm not done yet because the Insignia boxes manual tuning feature shows a weak signal coming in on channel 21 which should be channel 10 from Columbus. 'Bout time to buy a couple more 4-bays. Just waiting for the income tax check now.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

#40Fan

DTVUSA Member
#9
Having the nice, clear, HD channels has to be the best part of this whole switch. Even investing the antennas and combiners isn't that much of a tug on the wallet. Three payments of sat TV will cover it. Boost the DTV power!! Huge antennas shouldn't be required. Other sad thing is finding out your big screen that you bought 4 years ago isn't DTV enabled. :(
 
#10
When I heard about the transition, I decided to get a jump on the rush for "$40 Coupon"s and requested two.
Up until that time I had only 2 analog tvs with rabbit ears, which on good days would receive 2 channels. The reception was fuzzy. If there were any subtitles, they couldn't be read.
When I bought my first converter box, I thought I had hit the poor mans tv lottery!! I went from the 2 fuzzy channels to 9 crystal clear channels!!! Yeah! :D So I purchased my second converter box (RCA like the first one). My local stations did their tests for readyness--I passed! "This DTV convertion thing is a GREAT idea!"
That's what I thought BEFORE one station actually switched 2/17/09.
I lost that stations 3 affiliates, but the other 6 channels are still there. Noone can tell me why! Rescans, resets, antenna positioning, stronger antenna--NOTHING!! I passed the digital readiness tests!!! What's changed that I can't get those channels now??? What were those tests actually testing??
I would hate to invest in either a new converter box or another antenna, not knowing which, if either, would fix the problem. And I can't afford a monthly cable/satellite bill.
I'm NOT looking forward to 6/09 when I lose the remaining channels!!!!:mad:
check tvfool.com to see the direction of the missing transmitter they may have move it to another tower look at the post transition results put in your exact address.
 

Lortra8

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
Converter Box Contest

My thoughts on the Digital Transition~AAAHHH!!! Why?? I don't like it being forced on us. If digital channels are free~why has my cable co. been charging me a fortune for it for years?
I think the transition was misrepresented to us in it's "simplicity" (all you need is a converter box & the gvmnts. free coupons will pay for most of it)! Most places I checked were offering 1 type box. In my area it's the Apex DT-250. New to this, I figured either thats all there were or it just didn't matter. So I used my coupons and got 2. Only when I got knee deep in the hassles involved~and joined this Forum, did I learn that there were MANY types of boxes & it DOES matter!
What started out (in my mind) as a way to free myself from the ever increasing expense of cable & access to a multitude of free channels, has turned into a frustrating, time consuming, expensive additional upgrades (antennas)~and loss of all but one channel! Oh yeah~not to mention the expense and loss of various portable t.v.s~some of them not cheap!
Now that I've invested this much TIME and money~and I'm not done with either (!)~do I keep going hoping for a good outcome? Or throw in the towel and go crawling back to cable? I think I'll push forward and try to see this to the end. Although at this point I honestly don't know if it's O.C.D. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), or stick-to-it-ivness!
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#12
I don't like it being forced on us.
Someone is going to be forced some way: Either folks who want digital would have analog forced on them, or folks who want analog would have digital forced on them. There is not enough bandwidth, nor is there enough money to justify, broadcasting everything in both analog and digital. The reality is that analog television transitions was designed about 80 years ago, and is an incredibly inefficient use of the limited resources that is the broadcast spectrum. Given a choice between analog and digital, digital is simply superior based on most (though not all) objective measures.

If digital channels are free~why has my cable co. been charging me a fortune for it for years?
I think you're confused...

Here, analog cable service ("Standard Cable") costs about $55, and digital service ("Digital Starter") costs about $58. Generally, cable companies charge "a fortune" for cable networks, not for "digital channels", like you implied.

Regardless, the digital transition we're talking about in this thread has nothing to do with cable networks. We're just talking about the digital transition concerning broadcast television stations. That has nothing to do with cable, and nothing to do with what your cable company may or may not be charging you a "fortune" for.
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#13
When the DTV transition was first announced a few years ago I didn't give it much thought. We live in a mountain valley and don't see many rooftop antennas up here and like many others assumed you had to get cable to watch television. With the recent economy and to make ends meet we decided to disconnect the local cable. Talk about withdrawals. I couldn't watch the local evening News, Weather and Sports or watch the local news the next morning. It bothered me so much I decided to go to AntennaWeb to research the DTV transition. The information I found was disheartening. There is no plan to support DTV in our area. I went to Home Depot and they had a rooftop antenna on sale. The store clerk said we could return it if it didn't work. With nothing to lose I took the antenna home and installed it. I contacted the Summit County engineer and she told me there was a translator tower on Lewis Peak. With the help of Google maps I aimed the antenna in the direction of Lewis Peak. Neighbors thought I was crazy, stating "you can't get television with an antenna up here". When I connected the antenna to the television the reception wasn't very promising. We received a few channels with poor to very poor quality. We would have to live with it or pay for cable. Not giving up I drove 55 miles to Sears. The clerk told me I could return the converter box if it didn't work out. Well again with nothing to lose this time I purchased a Dish Network ATSC Converter Box. I got home and unpacked the converter box contents. It was very simple to install. The on screen setup was simple to follow and within a few minutes it was complete. To my complete amazement it located 17 channels super clear DTV channels. The on screen TV guide is amazing. While watching a little television and reading the user manual I found a section on aiming the antenna. We did notice a few periods where we lost picture and then it came back, so I went back onto the roof and started moving the antenna using the converter box signal strength meter. That did the trick and the picture was stable and super clean. I have amazed our neighbors with the quality and number of channels in our area. I'm quite impressed with the new DTV quality and with the on screen guide there are no expensive or messy paper guides to lose or leave lying around. It's like a new toy. I hope the broadcasters expand their programming with the addition of DTV quality. We could sure use a new converter for one of our other televisions that need a converter. Thanks for the opportunity to enter your contest.

Sincerely
Robert
 
Last edited by a moderator:

IwantmyDTV

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#14
Cowboy,
TV Fool - TV Signal Locater
I have no idea how to interpret this map/graph. As far as I can tell, I should be receiving the channels with vhf indoor antenna. Any help is appreciated. Currently receiving CBS, ABC, WTJR, and 3 PBS. No NBC, (WGEM). Had them all before the transition, through all of the "DTV Ready?" tests.
 
Last edited:

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#15
As far as I can tell, I should be receiving the channels with vhf indoor antenna.
CBS and NBC maybe, and WTJR. You'll still need view of the south-by-southeastern sky from your antenna. If there is a rebar-braced brick wall between the antenna and that direction, you might not be able to get decent reception.
 

Bramble

DTVUSA Rookie
#16
How has the digital transition affected me? Don't know yet because I haven't been able to get a converter box. The stores are always out. My coupons expire tomorrow so I'm on a hunt at the moment on the internet and the phone.

Denied TV converter box coupon program-My dad was denied his coupons because he was told they had already applied. He has written a letter and still hasn't received a response. They have two TV's and need two converter boxes. I'm purchasing a converter box for them with one of my coupons so they will be able to watch one TV like me. I had to fill out my coupon form on line because I live in an apartment. Everytime I tried to enter my apartment number I received the same message that I needed to call back at another time-not during high volume hours. It didn't matter when I called or what day, I could never get a response. Luckily I received my coupons, late of course! Hopefully I will be able to locate a box for me and my parents. I'm not sure this process was well thought out by the powers that be. I wonder if it will be ready to go in July or will there be another delay? I know we have reception problems all the time in Houston now.

Upgrade antenna-won't know till I get my box and one for my dad.
 
#17
I need to find a way to get my antenna up as high as possible, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to put up an outdoor antenna. I really don't think an antenna is a difference. I live 28 miles from transmitters, that's like on the outer edge.

I need to get my antenna up high and in the clear, to get rid of the no line of sight problem.
 

Ricardo

DTVUSA Member
#18
I'm expecting things to go smoothly with our TV service because we're in a condo with cable service.

I think my father-in-law may have to rethink his reception. At the moment he has a satellite dish and he still tries to get a local channel with rabbit ears.
 
#19
I've got 19 channels (pretty much all of them in my area that have gone digital) total and i can receive all of them with a Phillips Indoor HDTV antenna with adjustable 50Db gain. but i have to adjust it all the time as the channels are everywhere on the compass. i would give anything to get an antenna that doesn't require it twisted this way for CBS, another way for ABC, or who knows what direction for RTN-25. i just like to hit channel up/down one time without having to move the blasted thing. the only problem is wind. during winter we get abnormally high winds in excess of 50mph for days at a time, rendering Digital reception completely useless so it can be days for the TV to be out before it is back. sucks major time.
 
Top