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The latest on the DTV Transition

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says stations nationwide can begin broadcasting only digital television (DTV) on February 17, 2009. On June 12, 2009, analog signals will cease to exist as all stations must broadcast only DTV at that time. The DTV Delay Act, a law passed by Congress, pushed the date of the DTV transition back from February 17 to June 12.

Broadcasters that wish to turn off analog signals before June 12 must notify the FCC, the public and their viewers by February 9.

TV stations in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Hawaii are serving as test markets and have already switched solely to digital broadcasting.

How This Will Affect You
You WILL be affected if you currently watch TV on an analog TV that does not have a built-in digital tuner and your TV is not connected to cable, satellite or some other pay TV service. You can search to see if your TV has a built in digital tuner. To avoid losing service, you will need to buy a digital-to-analog converter box, buy a TV with a built-in digital tuner or subscribe to a pay TV service like cable or satellite.

You WILL NOT be affected if you own a television with a digital tuner or subscribe to a pay TV service.

Converter Box Coupons
You can buy a digital-to-analog converter box from various retailers. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) launched the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program to help consumers with the cost of buying converter boxes. The program has reached its funding limit, and there are no coupons available at this time. You can still apply for a coupon. You will be placed on a waiting list and will receive a coupon if money becomes available.

If you would like to be on the waiting list, you may apply for coupons online or call 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009). English-speaking TTY users may call 1-877-530-2364, and Spanish-speaking TTY users may call 1-866-495-1161.

Installing Your Converter Box
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) provides a Quick Start Guide to installing a converter box, with instructions in English (.PDF document) and instructions in Spanish (.PDF document). Or, you can watch an instructional video.

After hooking up a converter box to your TV set, or installing a new digital television, you will need to scan (also known as "auto-tune") for new channels to ensure you receive all of the digital stations broadcasting in your area.

If you have a VCR, the input to the VCR must be connected to the output of the DTV converter box. You must set the tuner in the DTV converter box to the channel you want to record prior to the start of each recording period programmed in the VCR.

Antennas and DTV
For information on how to test your antenna to make sure it will receive the digital signals being broadcast in your area and for help with reception problems, please visit the FCC's Antennas and DTV web page or the Choosing an Antenna page from the National Association of Broadcasters. If you are still having problems with reception, the NTIA also recommends that you call your local broadcast station. You may look in the phone book or use an Internet search engine to locate contact information for broadcast stations.

For More Information
You may wish to view answers to frequently asked questions about DTV, or visit the following web pages for more information:

You may also contact the FCC by e-mail at or by phone at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322). TTY users may call 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322).

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