Sunday, April 12, 2009

Reeling from Digital Converter Box

Technology changes for me continue in addition to my new laptop computer adventures (beginning with previously described “Tech – Unintended Consequences,” followed by some frustrations described in “Technological Mysteries.”) Now I have been confronted with converting to digital television and combating propagating remote control units.

My analog television has been up dated with the addition of a digital converter box. This installation enables me to expand my reception to over seventy high definition television channels from less than twenty analog stations. I receive most all local TV digital channel broadcasts now. When the switch from analog to digital TV finally happens, presently scheduled for June 12, 2009, I’m ready to receive even more should there be additional digital broadcast channels and stations.

If anyone reading this who doesn’t have cable service or a high definition television (HDTV) hasn’t yet prepared for this change, you need to visit this digital TV government website, order a discount coupon ($40 value.) Allow several weeks for coupon receipt, then purchase and install a digital converter box available where you buy electronics i.e Best Buy, Costco, Sears, Radio Shack to name a few stores. Maybe there is someone in your community who is unable to obtain a discount coupon to whom you could donate yours if you don’t use it. I’ll write about coupon donation another time.

My previously existing roof antenna installed for analog reception when we moved here over a quarter century ago has required no adjustments. My younger TV accepts all the television stations digital broadcast signals I received in analog and a combination of many additional channels plus a few new stations now. Digital television programming with just my converter box is clearly a dynamic process as more channels and stations may be offered in the future.

An independent commercial station, “This,” has recently added a movie channel featuring classic movies and more current stars’ early movies. A listing of U.S. stations is on this Wikipedia link. I’m enjoying spontaneously being able to enjoy this entertainment fare when I’m in the mood for such film viewing.

Here are a couple examples of recent film offerings: “The Woman in the Window,” a 1945 film noir starring Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett with Raymond Massey, directed by Fritz Lang. Later film fare starred a youthful actor John Travolta in the 1981 thriller “Blow Out” with Dennis Franz, and John Lithgow, written and directed by Brian De Palma.

A couple of the traditional local affiliate major commercial networks offer additional channels including constantly updated local/national weather and news. In some ways I prefer their offerings to what I’ve seen on cable’s Weather Channel when I’ve visited Midwest and east coast cable households.

A few of these digital TV channels cater to our diverse Los Angeles, California area cultures by offering programming in a multi-variety of foreign languages. I’ve identified Spanish, Armenian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese languages so far. Those channels sometimes feature English, too, or English captions. I understand some non-English speakers in other countries have acquired English by watching American movies captioned in their language. It occurs to me these stations might offer an opportunity to familiarize myself with some other languages. Maybe I could even learn a few words and phrases in languages other than English.

Perhaps someday I’ll succumb to a cable television subscription, but so many of their programming basic stations don’t interest me. Often additional channels I might want must be purchased extra in addition to accepting so many of those unwanted basic stations. I realize I currently receive a few stations in which I have little interest, but so far they all come to me free over the airwaves we citizens own. I really have all the programs I have time to see now, anyway.


  1. I have an analog TV, too, but I'm told that I don't need the box because I have cable service. I don't really watch much TV so I don't much care.

    Happy Easter, Jo!!!!!!!

  2. Yeah, Happy Easter to you, too! Your information is correct, that people with cable don't need a converter box for their analog TVs. It's just those of us with a roof antenna, as I have, or rabbit ears on another even older push button set (no remote) I have.

  3. We have digital cable also, but on a few sets we don't - so I got the coupons a long time ago and bought two converter boxes in February 2008 for those tvs. By the time I need to hook them up - they'll be obsolete.

  4. I've got cable tv on the three televisions that I use in the house. I swear that I don't even use half the channels JoAnn; but yet...I've got it. I feel like it's kind of wasteful to be honest with you. It's like it's always been when my husband was here. I don't pay much attention to this stuff, I just going along with the tide so to speak...until God forbid something goes wrong...THEN I NOTICE.

  5. I do have cable, and the additional channels are the same vast wasteland as the other channels you have. Sometimes I think playing with Twitter is more interesting that most TV these days.

  6. Our complex got sold on the Dish network and the Board of Directors sent out letters that we could join at a reduced rate. Yeah? Right! I had to sign up for a year and discovered I am paying $20 more a month than I need to for expanded TV. The silly part is, CNN is the only station I watch that I didn't have before. I could live without it. When my contract expires I'm going back to basic cable.