Not many will need dual-signal TV boxes


Plugged In

May 29, 2008|By BILL HUSTED | BILL HUSTED,The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I have received two coupons for TV converter boxes. Included with the coupons was a list of about 34 manufacturers. My question: Are all converter boxes basically equal? If not, is there a source where one could get ratings? Also, several models were identified as being able to pass through an analog signal. Is this an advantage?

- Bob Tawes

I have not reviewed the various converter boxes. But I found a Web page from Consumer Reports that offered general advice. You might want to check that out: As for the other question, the "pass through" feature only matters to those who live - or might move to - extremely rural areas that are served by what are called low-powered television stations.

These tiny stations are generally located in areas not otherwise served by any or at least many regular TV stations. They will be allowed to continue broadcasting in analog after the mandated switch to digital.

That creates a problem. Most converter boxes will simply take the digital signals received and convert them into analog for older TVs. But if some stations in the area are still broadcasting in analog - the lower-powered stations I mentioned - those signals would not pass through the converter box.

So that's the value in the digital converter boxes you are seeing that also pass through analog signals.

Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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