If you are a cable customer, you may have to do little or nothing to enjoy your favorite programming after the switch to Digital TV (DTV). Mediacom will take care of the transition for you!
That's because Mediacom already has technology in place to handle DTV. It does this by capturing these digital signals and sending them to your home through the same cable connection that delivers popular national channels like ESPN, CNN, HBO and hundreds of others. As long as your TV sets are connected to cable, they'll display local DTV stations, along with the many other stations cable has to offer. And, if you've signed up for Digital Cable, you're already enjoying all the benefits of Digital TV, including more channel choices and better quality picture and sound.
And even better, if you have a high-definition TV (HDTV), you can ask to be connected to Digital Cable with HDTV. You'll get lots of national and local channels in crystal-clear, high-definition resolution.
Of course any secondary analog television sets you have that are not connected to cable or a digital converter will not receive the new DTV signal. You can call Mediacom to connect those televisions to cable, or see "What to do if... I have an analog TV connected to an antenna," below.
First, take an inventory of the television sets in your home. Even if you're a cable customer, you may have one or more sets that aren't hooked up to cable, and instead use an antenna to gather in over-the-air TV signals. These secondary sets are likely to be "analog" - that is, they probably don't have the digital tuners that are featured in all of the "digital" TV sets your local electronics dealer sells today. These older sets won't be able to tune in the signals that TV stations will start broadcasting in February 2009.back to top ↑
Yes, unless they're connected to cable, satellite, or to a converter box, they'll no longer be able to "see" broadcast TV signals. Your older sets will continue to work for as long as they operate, if they're connected to cable, satellite, or to a special add-on digital tuner/converter.back to top ↑
There are two solutions.
What you need to know is whether your TV set has something called a "digital tuner" already built in. If it does, your TV set is already configured to receive and display the new digital over-the-air TV signals that will be transmitted beginning in February 2009.
The best way to determine whether your TV set has a digital tuner built in is to consult your owner's manual. If that's not possible, you may be able to look up information about your TV set on the manufacturer's website. Or, you can take an up-close look at your TV set. In any case, you're trying to find out if your set has an input connection labeled "digital input" or "ATSC" (it's the acronym for the new digital TV format).
Here are some general guidelines that may help:
If you bought your TV set before 1998, it probably doesn't have a digital tuner at all. Almost every TV set made before 1998 was a traditional "analog" set that can't display digital TV signals without either a special converter or a cable TV connection.
If you bought a big-screen, projection TV between 1998 and 2004, it's possible there's a built-in digital tuner inside. But chances aren't great. Only a limited percentage of projection TV sets (and generally only those 42 inches in diameter or larger) included digital tuners before 2004.
If you've purchased a new TV set since 2004, your chances of having a built-in digital tuner improve dramatically. Starting in 2004, many of the TV sets sold at popular electronics stores have featured digital tuners that will let you receive the new digital over-the-air broadcasts starting in February 2009. But be wary: It's not a sure thing. Even some of the newer TV sets are purely display monitors that lack the internal circuitry needed to pick up digital broadcasts. Usually these sets have been advertised as "HD-ready" or "HDTV monitor" sets. That means they can display digital and high-definition signals, but they need help getting those signals in the first place. That means you still need a special converter or a cable TV connection.
If you're interested in replacing your old analog TV set with a new digital TV, your local electronics retailer has a vast array of digital TV sets and products. To learn more about digital TVs, and how to find one that's right for you, visit www.digitaltips.org/video/default.aspback to top ↑
Many of them do. Many popular TV stations already are transmitting HDTV signals using their new digital broadcasting capability. But keep in mind that you can see the crystal-clear HDTV versions of TV stations only if you have a TV set or monitor that's built specially to render HDTV pictures. (You may be familiar with the terms "plasma" and "LCD." Both are types of HDTV sets.) If you have a digital TV that's not HDTV-capable, you'll be able to see any digital TV stations already on the air with improved clarity, and there will be more after Feb. 17, 2009. But you won't see the ultra-sharp pictures contained in their HDTV broadcastsback to top ↑
You can ask Mediacom to connect you to Digital Cable with HDTV. You'll get lots of national and local channels in crystal-clear, high-definition resolution. If you're interested in receiving just broadcast HDTV programming, your set may contain a cable tuner allowing you to receive HDTV broadcast signals carried by Mediacom. Or, you can mount a special HD antenna to your home to receive broadcast TV HD channels that are available in your area.back to top ↑
If you're not a cable or satellite customer and don't wish to become one, you can buy a special add-on "converter" that will let your old TV sets pick up and display over-the-air digital signals. These converters will be available from retailers in 2008, and you can apply for up to two vouchers from the federal government that can help pay for them. For more information on the converter coupon program, go to www.DTV.gov, or call, toll-free, 1-888-DTV-2009back to top ↑
If you have older analog TV sets, and want to continue using them, you'll need to connect them to cable or satellite service, or to a special digital-to-analog converter, to continue receiving TV signals. Mediacom helps keep costs low by allowing you to connect up to three additional TV sets to cable service. More than three TVs may require a small additional one-time installation fee. You don't have to "buy" any new equipment.
If you prefer to buy a special digital-to-analog converter from a local electronics store, you can get up to two vouchers, worth $40 each, that will help pay for the devices. Information on the voucher program is available from the U.S. Commerce Department. Each home can request up to two coupons for the converter boxes, which are expected to cost between $50 and $75 each. The coupons will be mailed, and you'll have approximately three months to redeem them. More information on the government's converter coupon program is available at www.DTV.gov, or by calling a toll-free number, 1-888-DTV-2009