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What happens to my analog TV and analog cable after the digital transition?

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Question: What happens to my analog TV and analog cable after the digital transition?
A Reader Writes: I have a so called "stranded" analog TV which is actually connected to my Cable but not through the cable box. So, right now my cable company is providing what has to be an analog signal since my old analog TV is working fine.

The question is, come the digital transition on June 12, 2009, will the signal coming out of the cable and satellite companies be a digital signal? If so, will I need a DTV converter box since I have no intention of getting rid of that TV right now?

Answer: You have an interesting question. Basically, the DTV converter box is useless with cable. The DTV converter box only applies to antenna reception as does the digital transition.

Technically, cable and satellite companies don't have to do anything to their analog signal. My best advice is to call your cable company directly and ask them.

Right now, most cable companies are continuing their analog signal. Some, however, have required a digital box even for the standard cable.

Here are a couple of typical potential scenarios:

  1. Nothing. TV as you see it now will be as it will be in 2009. They’ll send you an analog signal. In time they will probably need to move you onto a digital stream because they will phase out analog over time.
  2. Send out a mailer that tells you that you will need to use one of their digital boxes. They will then either down-convert the signal to analog or require you to subscribe to a lower-tier digital package. I’m thinking they’ll just use a box and down-convert the signal because that’s what Time Warner does here in my city.

Cable companies will probably charge new digital subscribers a monthly rental fee for the cable box.

Another thing to consider is the cost associated with switching to digital for these cable businesses. There are a lot of cable companies that probably won't be able to phase out analog service for a while due to high costs.

The Quick Answer

Long story short, you won't need to do anything in particular. Your cable company will most likely contact you if there are changes to their current programming services. If and when there are changes will dictate whether or not you need a digital television.

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