You Must Buy an HDTV

It’s time for the Super Bowl, which means it’s time for newspapers to run articles about which HDTV you should buy. I won’t bother with a hyperlink to the article in this morning’s Star. I can summarize – Digital TV = HDTV.

I know that these articles are supposed to inform readers about creating the best experience for enjoying sports. And I know that HDTV is the way to do that. However, I object when articles leave readers with the impression that everyone has to buy an HDTV before 2009. Bullshit.

What happens in 2009? In February, 2009, that’s just two years from now, all over-the-air television signals switch from analog to digital signals. That means that the lovely old RCA console that you grew up watching in your parent’s basement won’t work any more. Or does it?

Enter the $40 set-top box. These little doodads receive over-the-air (that means free) digital television signals and converts them to the analog signals that work on older televisions. Congress is even trying to figure out a way to provide coupons for free set-top boxes to people who can’t afford to buy them.

If you listen to manufacturers and retailers, they’ll tell you need to buy a HDTV. If you listen to cable and satellite operators, they’ll tell you have to pay for TV. Don’t listen to these folks. You can keep your existing TVs and still watch free TV after 2009. Check out the government’s consumer education Web site at www.dtv.gov for more details.

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