I was part of the TV panic. I heard the warnings that my TV would not work in 2009. Patrons called and asked the same question. Do we have to throw our televisions in the trash and buy a new one? Don’t panic! The truth is that you will be able to use your analog TV in 2009 with a digital-to-analog converter box available from electronics stores and major retailers. What is more, the U.S. Government is currently subsidizing the cost of converter boxes by issuing coupons to applicants. (All households are eligible at this time.)
To make TV transmissions more efficient and free up frequencies for services such as emergency services and new digital data services, Congress ordered the elimination of analog TV channels. In 2009, television stations will broadcast in digital from a different part of the spectrum. The spectrum occupied by analog TV signals will be auctioned off.
At this time, the converter boxes are necessary for the 16 million Americans who watch free TV with an antenna and are not needed for satellite and cable subscribers because those services convert the signals.
For a more thorough explanation and information on the voucher program, check out this article.