Digital TV Switch May Cut Off 6 Million Sets


Centris suggests that consumers depending on over-the-air signals also purchase an outdoor antenna.

A new study says that DTV signals and set-top boxes are not as strong as some think.

Feb. 11, 2008 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Maybe you shouldn’t run out and get a DTV converter just yet. A new study by Centris says that it may not help ease the digital conversion.

Ready or not, however, when the switch does happen, the research firm says that 5.9 million people could actually receive less channels than they do now—and some may not receive anything. 

Aside from the converter box, Centris says that viewers that depend on over-the-air signals should also purchase an outdoor antenna. Otherwise, as many as 50 percent currently receiving those signals may soon receive nothing.

The FCC has stated that digital signals can travel as far as 75 miles. However, the Centris study claims that the number is less than half of that estimate.

Centris did take its own signal measurements, which seem to show that digital signals are not as powerful as people think. Reception can also be susceptible to interference from buildings, trees and hills. The study (via The Boston Globe) also says that each of those things could degrade the signal. In other words, if you live on a flat, clear patch of land right near the TV station, you have no worries.

The number of TV viewers effected will vary based on location. The digital TV transition is scheduled for February 17, 2009.

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