Digital Television Transition


By now you probably have heard and seen ads on TV and radio for the coming transition of analog cable television services to a digital format.  If you haven't heard about it, let's take a few minutes to tell you how it works and more importantly, how it will affect you.

Ever since the transition of over-the-air broadcast television to digital in June 2009,  Cable companies have also been preparing to transfer their basic analog services (those that use a analog box or rely on a television's built-in tuner) to a digital format as well. Unless you have a TV with access to a digital or what's called an ATSC (Advanced Systems Television Committee) tuner, you will gradually lose channels until all of them are converted to digital.

Does this mean that you will have to by a new TV set in order to watch your favorite programs? Well, not necessarily. If you subscribe to a cable TV service and have a digital cable box, your analog TV will continue to work like it always has. Same thing if you subscribe to satellite TV and have an analog set.

If you only get over-the-air TV broadcasts, you will either have to buy a TV that has a built-in digital ATSC tuner, or you will have to get a digital converter box to receive broadcasts. Comcast is currently allowing households three (3) free digital conversion boxes; call them at 1-800-COMCAST to get them. If you choose to buy a TV, DVD recorder or DVR (digital video recorder), you still must have a digital adaptor from Comcast to get all basic channels. Without the digital adapter, you will only receive over-the-air channels and the local access channels (EGTV, Harper College, Public access). 

By the way, your DVD player/recorder, VCR and DVR will still work and playback prerecorded discs, files and tapes, but if you use them for recording over-the air TV signals or basic cable signals, you must have a digital adapter or box. The newer digital TVs are back compatible, so your old units will still work with them.

Also, you may see ads that offer special HDTV-enhanced antennas for over-the-air TV signals. These items are only meant to extract more money from you; if you currently have a rooftop antenna or just rabbit ears, as long as you have a digital converter attached to it, you're all set.


Ross Rowe
Cable Production Coordinator

EGTV Channel 6
Village of Elk Grove Village
901 Wellington Avenue
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
(847) 357-4270