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Columnist Compares DTV Converter Box Reception With Analog Service

Columnist Michael Himowitz has written several interesting articles on the DTV conversion. This week in his article Converter test has mixed results Himowitz compared reception using a Best Buy Insigna converter box with several analog TV receivers.

He notes that analog reception varies from TV set to TV set, but concludes, “The more channels you receive today by antenna, the more likely you are to be disappointed—or hopping mad—when the broadcasters turn off those analog transmitters. This is particularly true if you watch sports or news on distant channels.”

For his tests, Himowitz used a $19 RCA antenna with rabbit ears for VHF and a loop for UHF.

Read Himowitz’s article for information on digital and analog reception of specific stations in the Baltimore/Washington area. While he wasn’t able to receive digital transmissions from all of the analog stations he could receive, he says that in almost every case the DTV converter box provided a sharper picture, and notes that some stations were broadcasting multiple channels. He complained, however, that with the exception of Maryland Public TV, most broadcasters were using the extra channels for all-weather channels or reruns.

Himowitz cautions that the situation is likely to change in February when some stations will be changing channels antenna or power levels.

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Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.