Yesterday was the first official change over day in the United States for terrestrial TV from analog to digital. Complete change over is scheduled for mid June. I am still not 100% comfortable as to what should be changed when dealing with an older setup and what can be kept? I am located in Canada and the switchover is not until 2011 but I am located close enough to the United States that any good programming will come from US based stations. This means I need to change too.
I have read and heard from others that I can keep my current antenna if it was receiving good analog signals in the VHF and UHF signals. Some say, I have to switch to an actual digital antenna and the analog will not be good enough. So which is it? I have checked numerous sites for more accurate information and my brain is not as techno as it should be or too techno in this regard.
HERE is a good starting point. This is the US governments website and has simple to understand information about what sort of existing analog antenna you need to have to fully take advantage of the new digital signal. Most of you should be fine with what you they have already. The sticking point is that the location may have to change. Analog signals were easy to fine tune. By moving the antenna around the signal got better or worse just by looking at the TV screens image quality. The changes were instantaneous. Now with the digital signal, it takes time for the receiver to establish if the signal is received correctly or not and then translate this to an actual image, You will see a great digital picture or no picture at all. There is no longer a grey area which is a poor picture quality that existed with a week analog signal. This means the digital signal which consists of 1′s and 0′s are received in perfect order (great digital picture) or not (no picture). Keep in mind,the signal can degrade depending on weather conditions and this means your picture and sound may cut out completely during poor reception times showing you a blue or green screen The screen color depends on what your TV or digital receiver uses.
Anyone considering working with an existing outdoor antenna or plans on installing an outdoor antenna should request the help of at least two other people. Two people to help connect and position the antenna for mounting and one person to watch the TV and relay the results back to the people outside. Cellphones or two way radios are recommended. Shouting is not recommended.
The final conclusion is that your existing antenna that recieves both VHF and UHF signals is good for now. Check the government website mentioned above for details on how to tell if you have a VHF and UHF antenna. Basically a VHF antenna handles channels 2 – 13 and UHF handles anything above 13 to 99 therefore most people should be fine.