One week left to switch to digital TV

The day of reckoning is close; come June 12th the analog airwaves will no longer be graced with the witty banter of sitcoms, daytime soaps evening news shows.

Instead stations nationwide will finally make the long talked about, and oft delayed, switch to digital television. If you haven't already taken the steps to make sure you don't see static next Friday, you better get moving.

A quick reminder: If you get your television from a cable or satellite operator or your existing TV has a digital tuner, you won't need a converter box and can return to your regularly scheduled programming.

To find out what consumers who aren't ready should do in the next week, WalletPop spoke to Nick DeVita, a manager at a Best Buy store in New York.

One of the most common questions he has heard from customers, aside from "Why?" is, "What's the difference in the converter boxes?"


Thankfully this is an easy question to answer as the converter boxes all have the same basic features, with most differences amounting to their size and whether or not they have buttons on the actual converter box. Most boxes, including one sold at Best Buy, are available for $10 after the $40 converter box coupon is applied. If you still need a coupon you can request one up until July 31 but you won't get it before the switch happens.

While I talked to Nick it became clear that many customers aren't aware that they might need a new antenna to go with their converter box. According to Nick, in order to work with the new digital TV signals, antennas will have to be able to receive both UHF and VHF signals, something many older antennas cannot do.

When in doubt, he suggests you try out the box with your existing antenna, though he cautions the majority of customers have come back to get a newer antenna at his store.

The price of a new antenna can vary greatly depending on the consumers needs. For some, a $9 antenna will do the trick but for others an amplified $80 antenna may be needed to get a signal. You can ask for help at the store or enter your address into the antenna finder at AntennaWeb.org to find out what you need.

If you've been holding out because you're not sure how to install the converter box and antenna then we have good news for you! Right now with the purchase of a converter box at Best Buy you get a free Geek Squad in home installation (in select states).

Nick shared that Best Buy didn't want to leave consumers out simply because they couldn't hook up the device themselves and didn't want to make them pay for it either, which is why they offer the free installation. At $9.99 after coupon and with free installation this is a pretty slick deal for anyone who still needs to convert to digital.

If you're still confused or need some answers about the switch to Digital, head over to DTVAnswers or leave a comment below. We'll do our best to help you out.

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