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KEYE TV42 Explains How to Hook Up a DTV Converter Box Without Losing Analog TV Reception

You may have heard all analog TV broadcasting will end at 11:59 PM, February 17, 2009. Don’t believe it! While full power stations will have to cease broadcasting in analog, low power TV stations and translators will be able to continue broadcasting analog signals. These stations are usually not on available on cable TV, so over-the-air reception is critical.

Recently the Community Broadcasters Association sued to stop sale of DTV converter boxes that do not allow reception of analog TV station. While most RF Report readers will be able to figure out a way to continue to receive analog DTV after installing a DTV set-top box, the average viewer may have more difficulty.

I was impressed to see the Austin CBS affiliate, KEYE TV Channel 42, carried a story by reporter Fred Canto Tuning Analog TV in Digital World describing how to use a splitter to hook up one of the NTIA-certified set-top boxes to a TV set without losing analog reception.

One method uses splitter to feed the antenna to the DTV converter box and a switch on the input to the TV set. Another method, also requiring a splitter, uses the composite video and audio outputs from the DTV converter box (if available) to feed the video input (if available) on the TV while providing an RF input to the analog TV’s tuner so it can continue to receive analog LPTV and translator stations.

Fred Canto ends his article by saying, “It sounds complicated but it really isn’t. Just make sure you read the instructions that you get with your converter box.”

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.