Get Ready for Digital TV

The transition from Analog to digital television broadcasting was completed in 2009, this page remains available as a historic archive. Some links may no longer work.


Analog TV Goes Away in February, 2009


NOTICE: WTVP to End Analog Broadcast on February 17th

WTVP will cease analog broadcast operations at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17. WTVP programming will then be found on digital WTVP 47.1, WTVP 47.2 and WTVP 47.3. This change will not affect cable and satellite customers.


In the coming months you will be hearing more and more about something called “analog shut-off.” I know that for many people any kind of techno-babble immediately causes their eyes to glaze over, but it is important that you give this your attention and some thought. Analog shut-off will definitely affect you.

The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that all analog broadcast television, the type of broadcasting that has been around since the beginning of TV will cease on February 17, 2009. That means that the television sets you have had for years and years will be able to receive a signal until February 16, 2009. The very next day, there will be no analog broadcasts to receive.

For more information on the Digital television transition check out the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) DTV website at or the National Broadcasters Association (NAB) DTV website


Watch Chet Tomczyk explain the analog shutoff and how to hook up a digital convertor on this edition of "Community Focus", a program produced by East Side Community Television.

What does this mean to you?
If you are among the 26% of viewers who take your television signals off air from an antenna, you will have to purchase a new digital set in order to continue receiving any television programs. If you are a cable or satellite subscriber, your service will likely continue uninterrupted. Your service provider will make the conversion for you.


What channels are affected?
This shut off affects all television broadcasters, commercial and public. In our area the analog services of WEEK (NBC), WMBD (CBS), WHOI (ABC), WYZZ (Fox), WAOE (My Network) and WTVP (PBS) will cease to exist. All these stations have made significant investments in new technology and will continue operations in digital.


Is there an alternative to buying a new TV?
Yes. The federal government has been working with manufacturers and the TV industry to develop a simple converter box of some sort that will receive digital signals and convert them to analog. This box will likely only convert basic off-air signals but not offer all the services that digital makes possible. TV converter boxes are not expected to be available in retail stores until late February or early March 2008.


How much will a converter box cost?
Anywhere between $40 and $80 and can be purchase from most electronics stores and discount stores. 


I have heard about a convertor box discount coupon?
US Government TV Converter Box Coupon ProgramCongress has created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep using their analog TV sets after February 17, 2009. The program allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes. A TV connected to cable, satellite or other pay TV service does not require a TV converter box from this program.

This program has reached its funding ceiling and new applicants will be placed on a waiting list to receive their coupon, please read more below.

Consumers can apply for converter box coupons and placed on the waiting list by visiting, or calling 1-888-DTV-2009.

 UPDATE:   Coupon Program Waiting List

The TV Converter Box Coupon Program has reached its funding ceiling. However, coupon requests from eligible households will be filled on a first-come-first-served basis as funds become available from expiring coupons. You will not receive coupons until funds becomes available.

If you would like to apply for a coupon today and are eligible, you will be placed on a waiting list. If you choose to apply for your coupons today and are eligible, you will receive a reference number. You can use this reference number to return to this website periodically and check the status of your request. The website will be updated if funding becomes available, and the mailing date for your coupons will be updated at that time.

Consumers who have an analog TV and rely on a rooftop antenna or rabbit ears to receive their programs are encouraged to take action to ensure at least one TV in their home is prepared for the digital television transition. You may:

  • Purchase a TV converter box without a coupon
  • Buy a TV with a digital tuner
  • Subscribe to cable, satellite or another pay service



Whose idea was this?
The decision to convert from analog to digital was made by the Federal Communications Commission and not by broadcasters. Very few broadcasters, commercial and non-commercial, were interested in spending the literally millions of dollars necessary to convert our broadcast plants to digital, but we had to do so in order to maintain our licenses.


Why is digital conversion happening?
Converting to digital broadcasting will consolidate broadcast television’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum and free up more frequencies for public safety communications, and other wireless services like hospital patient monitoring, cell phones, garage door openers, keyless entry items, and the like.


Where should I go to get a new digital TV?
There are several excellent retailers locally. Make sure that you get a receiver that has a digital tuner included. We recommend that you get a set that has a 16 x 9 aspect ratio (the shape of wide screen movies) and not one that is essentially square like your old TV. The good news is that prices on digital TVs are starting to come down.


Is the analog shut-off date firm?
As of this moment, yes, however Congress has the authority to make any changes they wish, so there is no surety until it actually happens.

WTVP will make more information available as we get closer to February 17, 2009.

For more information on the Digital television transition check out the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) DTV website at or the National Broadcasters Association (NAB) DTV website

US Government TV Converter Box Coupon Program


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