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Digital TV Myths

With the switch to digital television less than two days away, the Federal

Communications Commission is going all out to dispel some of the myths

surrounding the new technology. Jim Bell explains.



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For example, some people think their old analog TV sets will become obsolete Friday. Not so, says Rick Kaplan at the FCC.

“Well that’s certainly not true.  It will only if you don’t get a converter box and hook it up to receive the digital signals.”

Those digital converter boxes are widely available at electronics stores everywhere. Kaplan says coupons that provide a 40 dollar discount will be available through the end of July, but you don’t need a coupon to buy a converter.

“Some people have the impression that you actually need a coupon to get the box, but it’s simply a subsidy if you want it. But you certainly do not need to wait for the coupon to purchase a converter box.” 

Kaplan says the boxes are easy to install, but Houston area people who need help can get it by calling the FCC.

“And what people should do, if they call 1-800-CALL FCC, they can actually arrange for someone to come and provide free in-home assistance to set up their converter boxes and look at their antenna.”

And Kaplan says you don’t need to buy a new antenna. Your old rooftop and rabbit ear antennas can pick up digital TV signals too.

On another front, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has six mobile assistance centers moving around the Houston area this week showing people how to hook up digital converter boxes.  The centers will be in town through Friday at the following locations:

  • Katy Mills Mall in Katy, on Wednesday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • H-E-B at 4955 N. Highway 6, Houston, Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Humblewood Shopping Center at U.S. 59 at FM 1960, Humble, Thursday, 4 p.m. -7 p.m.
  • New Forest Crossing, 5807 East Sam Houston Parkway, Houston, Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • H-E-B at 5130 Cedar, Bellaire, Friday, 4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.


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