Learn About DTV
Frequently Asked Questions
NOTE: Now that the DTV Transition is completed and all stations have changed to their final DTV channels, be sure to scan for channel changes as convenient.
Please note that the June 12, 2009 DTV transition deadline did not apply to low-power television (LPTV) stations. The FCC will determine a deadline for these stations to transition to digital at a future date. Learn more about LPTV.
- Now That the DTV Transition Is Completed, Can I Still Use My Old Analog TV Set? How?
- Can I Use My UHF/VHF Antenna to Receive DTV?
- Did the DTV Transition Affect TV Sets That Are Connected to Cable Services?
- How Do I Improve DTV Signal Strength?
- Can DTV Reception be Affected by Moving Vehicles and Weather?
- How do I connect my portable, battery-powered analog TV to a battery-powered digital-to-analog converter box?
Even though the DTV Transition is now completed, your analog TV set is not obsolete. However, there are some steps you must take to be able to continue to use it. To ensure continued use of your analog set, you must do one of the following:
- Use a digital-to-analog converter box.
- Connect to a subscription service such as cable or satellite TV.
In addition, analog sets should continue to work with gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products that you use now.
Analog TV sets need additional equipment -– a digital-to-analog converter box -– to receive over-the-air television, now that the DTV Transition is completed. Analog sets equipped with a converter box will display the digital broadcasts, but not in full digital quality.
This converter box, much like your cable box, will allow you to receive a picture, but it won't be able to show high-definition pictures or give you access to other digital services.
For more information on antennas, see the Antenna Guide.
Yes. Television stations broadcasting in digital use both the VHF (channels 2-13) and UHF (channels 14-51) bands. Many indoor antennas use “rabbit ears” for the VHF band and a “loop” or “bow-tie” antenna for the UHF band.
- Make sure you are using an antenna that covers both the VHF and UHF bands and have connected it properly. Many antennas currently being sold as “HDTV Antennas,” perform best at receiving UHF signals; some of these models state that they provide reception of signals on channels 7-13 but actually perform less well receiving those channels. When acquiring a new antenna, be sure to talk to retail consultants and look at information on the packaging and/or the Internet to make sure that any new antenna you may choose provides good reception of both VHF and UHF channels. In addition, if you use an indoor antenna and receive signals on VHF channels, you may need to use an antenna with amplification. You can use the DTV Reception Maps on the dtv.gov website at http://www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/ to identify the stations you should be able to receive at your location. For more information on antennas, see the Antenna Guide or Consumer Tips for DTV Reception on VHF TV Channels 2-13.
No. If you subscribe to cable service, the DTV transition did not affect any TV sets that are connected to your cable services. The DTV transition applied only to full-power broadcast television stations -- stations that use the public airwaves to transmit their programming to viewers through a broadcast antenna.
Your DTV reception can be affected by terrain, trees, buildings, the weather, damaged equipment, as well as antenna type, location, and orientation. It can be improved just by changing the location of the antenna you’re using now. Moving your antenna away from other objects and structures, or placing it higher, can often improve reception. The performance of outdoor antennas can degrade over time due to exposure to the weather. Also, you may consider installing a signal booster, which should improve reception. If you are having trouble receiving a broadcast:
- Check your connections.
- Perform a channel scan.
- Adjust your antenna.
The FCC Consumer Facts sheet “Troubleshooting Guide For Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes and Digital Televisions” at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/troubleshootguide.html should help you diagnose and correct your problem.
If you are having trouble receiving TV stations broadcasting on channels 2 through 13, see the DTV Reception Tipsheet.
To find DTV signals that are available at your location, go to DTV Reception Maps.
For more information on antennas, see the Antenna Guide.
Your DTV reception can be affected by nearby moving vehicles, such as cars, trucks, trains and airplanes. In some instances, shadowing or reflections from these vehicles may cause your digital picture to temporarily break-up or even disappear completely. If this occurs, you should try moving or reorienting your antenna to find a position that provides the most reliable reception. If you are using an indoor antenna, switching to an outdoor antenna system which may include a directional antenna or rotor could improve reception. In severe cases it may not be possible to completely eliminate the effect of nearby traffic. If reception remains unsatisfactory due to these disruptions, viewers may wish to consider alternatives such as cable or satellite service.
Your DTV reception can also be affected by severe weather conditions such as storms and high winds. These reception issues can result from fluctuations in the broadcast signal that can be caused, for example, by moving leaves and branches on trees. You can minimize the effects of high winds or storms by re-orienting your antenna to obtain the strongest available signal. If this does not work, a better indoor antenna or an outdoor antenna may help. In addition, make sure that outdoor antenna mounts are secure to minimize any movement caused by the wind. If you lose reception of a particular channel during severe weather conditions try tuning to other channels that remain available for weather advisory information or alerts. In cases where no TV stations can be received, you should tune to a local AM or FM station or any other available media for weather alerts.
The http://www.digitaltvtrainer.com/national/showme-battery-tv-converter website provides the following instructions on how to connect a portable, battery-powered analog TV to a battery-powered digital-to-analog converter box. Note that the instructions are manufacturer and model-specific.
- How to build a 12 volt power supply for a 12 volt converter
- How to build a simple 12 volt converter box power supply that has a plug just for the converter box
- How to build a simple 12 volt converter power supply wired to a car power accessory outlet
- How to build a power supply for converter boxes powered by 5 volts DC
- How to watch the battery TV with the converter box
- How to purchase a converter box and a matching battery power supply