DTV Transition – 531 days and counting

September 5, 2007

As long as I keep getting meaningful email messages and comments, I am going to continue to talk about the DTV transition. First things first. If you want to know what DTV channels are out there now AT YOUR HOUSE and available for FREE, go back to and build a lineup. It’s simple and, like digitial television, it won’t cost you anything.

Below, along with my answers, is a blog post packed with good questions from Amie. I have no idea who Amie is or where she is but no matter, the answers are all the same for 111 million households, yours included.

Here is Amie’s post:

Amie asks: Ok… I understand about the cut-off and needing a digital converter box… I have no problem with buying a converter box for a one time fee. However… right now we use indoor rabbit ears to pull in our 4 local tv stations. I do have an external tv antenna but I’ve never used it because to be honest… I don’t know how… The wires from the outside antenna run only to the living room. From the connection on top(well not quite top) of the antenna down through the brick wall it is one single wire about the size of a mouse cord…from there it connects into a 4in by 5in box that has a dial on the top… this dial does not have numbers but rather slashes all around in in the fashion of an old clock with 1 slash at noon… one and 1… one at 2.. one at 3… and so on around the dial. Then out of the other side of the box there are two individual wires with straight ends… these two wires look like speaker wires but are somehow suppose to hook into your tv… this is where I get lost… how on earth do you hook what appears to be speaker wire up to your tv and know that it is actually working?!?

My Answer: Amie, the good news is you already get free over-the-air television from 4 channels with the aid of your indoor antenna. This is great. This same antenna can be connected to either a new digital television OR a converter box. It makes no difference. You can easily add an indoor antenna to every TV in your house. And, since digital signals have proven to be an effective way to get reception, those channels WILL NOT be snowy; they will be perfect. Now, for the old fashioned outdoor antenna tied to a rotor in your living room. Not being able to see it, I have no idea if it will work. However, antennas are cheap. Really cheap. Installers are in your area ready to install a new antenna. DirecTV and Echostar do it all the time. As for how it works inside your house, that is a simple raw-wire to either an analog or digital plug adaptor which costs about $.75 at Radio Shack. Inside your house an installer (or yourself) can also split that wire and run it to other sets in the house. The VERY good news about a rooftop antenna is you will most likely get even more FREE television signals.   

Amie Asks: To complicate the matter… I live in the country… the closest tv tower that will broadcast digitally is over 20 miles away (of course that is the analog tower not sure about if and where they’ve put up digital towers) and the top portion of my tv antenna will need replacing as half of it was torn down by a tornado 3 years ago… I have the half that was tore down in my cellar and the other half is still on the antenna pole but I’m scared of heights and won’t climb the 35+ feet in the air that this thing reaches.

My Answer: Over 98% of the United States can get crystal clear FREE over-the-air television from the major network affiliates. You already get 4 stations with an indoor antenna. All stations are mandated to go digital and most likely already have. As I already stated, if you want more channels then have someone come and install an inexpensive outdoor antenna on your roof. Unlike the olden days where you needed a rotor (like you have), companies like Winegard create “area special” antennas specifically designed so you get everything that is available from all known directions. These “area specials” are often less than $100.

Amie Asks: Lastly… this house is over 100 yrs old… I have no clue how old the antenna or how it is set up I’ve not done anything with it since moving in 7 years ago.Any suggestions or help would really be appreciated

My Answer: Whether your house is 100 years old or you have an RV which you drive all over the U.S., the answer is the same. Digital television is available for free with an off-air antenna. Use a small indoor antenna and you get channels. Use a rooftop antenna and you will most likely get even more channels because there is less in between you and the station(s), i.e. roofing material, dry wall, and etc. Thanks for the great comments and questions. At Titan we are commited to bringing broadcasters and viewers closer together. I am happy to answer any question that does just that.