No, not the presidential transition, sillies. The one that really affects Americans – the DTV switch. Apparently this is more important than any other issue facing our nation because I don’t watch tons of TV and even I want to scratch my eyes out when I see those Are You Ready? ads. Heaven forbid someone be TV-less! I’m sure the 6 people who have somehow missed that they need a converter will never, ever figure out what is wrong when their television doesn’t work on February 18th. They’ll probably just put it out in the trash, and read a book instead. The horror.
I’m just going to take one step up on my soapbox and say… what if the government spent that much time/energy/money on an important issue? Oh, the places we’d go! What if they handed out $40 coupons to cover the cost incurred of volunteering, or donating food or providing a service to someone who needed it? Yes – calling Americans to serve on MLK day was very, very impressive and it warmed my heart to see the amazing response. Think if the efforts dedicated to DTV over the past year were spent instead to calling us to action? Allright, stepping down now.
You can probably see where this post is going – as usual I want to Stick it to the (Comcastic) Man. Here is a little tidbit that isn’t being screamed across the airwaves – chances are very good that you can use your digital TV converter with $70 antenna to get the same amount of channels as you would with basic cable. By basic I mean really basic – the $17 a month package.
After to watching my sister get a converter box (before the coupons ran out) and hook it up to her $15 rabbit ears, we decided to give it a try. Much to my delight, we now have three different PBS channels, including PBS Create , plus all the other non-cable channels.
If you’re interested, here is what you can do:
- Call and get your converter box coupon. Yes, the government has run out but don’t worry. They’ll put you on a waiting list. I’m sure this list will move faster than, say, the one folks in New Orleans are on for money to rebuild their post-Katrina communities. This is television we’re talking about.
- Head over to Best Buy (sorry Circuit City, gonna have to pass on your bankrupt self this time) and ask them what antenna works best in your area. For us, it was a Terk.
- Best Buy has a decent return policy as long as you follow their timeframe so come home, hook it up, and try it for a week or so. If it doesn’t work you can just take it back.
- If it does, you can call your cable provider and tell them you are free at last.
It’s a big jump from fancy cable packages, yes, but remember you can always get movies to satisfy your viewing needs. After a post about Family Video, Shannon enlightened us to free kids videos there every day. You can also take a look at a post I did about a year ago about how go get inexpensive or free movies.
Here are some resources to help you along:
- AntennaWeb – click on ‘choose an antenna’, then enter your zip code to see what stations you can expect with what type of antenna.
- HDTV Antenna Labs – good general information
- Converter box website – for requesting coupons