The DTV Debate

I know, I know - I live in a cave. I’m one of the last few people who DON’T have cable or satellite TV. And now, I’m faced with “June 12th” - the day my television won’t pick up broadcasts if I continue using my antenna.

How fair is this? The economy is really bad. We can’t pick and choose cable stations, so customers are forced to pay for alot of things we wouldn’t watch anyway. I haven’t the time lately - much as I’d like - to watch SOME of the better offerings. But is this fair? I’m broke - in a matter of speaking. My last penny isn’t gone - but in a few days, I can’t even write out a check ! But I’m expected to pay close to $100 monthly for TV? I know about “the converter box” - but was this all really necessary? And how good will reception with “the box” be? I understand current cable customers already must use a box in addition - and pay monthly for EACH box, if they have multiple TVs. (ANOTHER ripoff !)

Politicians are reducing or removing any financial breaks for the little people. And then, we get hit with this. I have to cry foul on this one - and am furious ! I know there isn’t that much on TV (cable or not) that’s quality TV - but I think the public should have really made a bigger fuss - rather than just allow it to slide. :mad:

My boyfriend’s family does not have cable and have already hooked up the boxes. Their reception is fine, even better. Several people I know get more channels now than they did with rabbit ears, there are even free HD channels now! Get the coupon and you can get you box for low cost or maybe even free. When I move I will not be getting cable for at least six months so will be using a box.

The analog signals take up a lot of “space.” This is space that can be used by emergency responders which is why the switch was made. Nobody is forcing yo uto pay for cable, and they are not trying “stick it to the little person”. If you research it, you will find that it is well thought out and makes a lot of sense.

Dish Satellite has the Family Tier for $20/month plus $5/month for local channels. Installation is free, but, you will have a contract with them. That monthly fee pays off the box. Or, just do what the first responder to your post said! My cousin does that, and, he works at Kroger, supports his mother, and owns his home. He even had cancer for awhile. He listens to EWTN on the radio, or online, I suppose. But, dish family tier has EWTN.:shrug:

Sadly, the conversion was mandated years ago when economic times were good. Consider yourself lucky that your market delayed until June 12th - many across the country switched on the initial change date in February.

I would say that if money is that tight, spend $25+coupon for the converter box verses $25/month for Dish. For the cost of only 1 month of Dish, you can keep all your broadcasts and not have to pay anything after that.

Who said anything had to be “fair”? Technology moves on, the world moves on. We keep up with the times or else we are still scratching on walls with sticks.

I use the box and I have more channels and better reception than I had before. Get the coupons while they are available, if you wait too long you will truly be out of luck. You can get the boxes for the amount of the coupon so this will not cost you anything.

Waiting until three weeks before the cutover when we have all known about this for nearly a year or more is irresponsible. Get the coupon, get the box, and hook it up. No one has a right to television, many people choose to go entirely without one.


I hate to break it to you, but you really dropped the ball on this one. The government is STILL offering two $40 coupons for converter boxes:
The coupons are good for the purchase of eligible converter boxes. Once you buy the converter box, hook it up to your TV, and scan for channels, you’ll be all set.

There’s really no debate to be had. Digital Television received over an antenna is actually BETTER than digital cable in terms of quality because the signal is uncompressed. So, as long as you receive a signal from a station, you will have crystal clear reception!

I hope this helps!

EDIT: The box is not from your cable company. You can order one online or pick one up at an electronics store, and there is NO monthly fee-- you own it. Just think of it as an add-on to your antenna (you still will need your antenna btw!).

My areas has already switched to the converter box. I got the box with the government coupon and $10.00. The TV reception is “perfect” and I gained a number of PBS channels which I don’t really watch but they are still there so please try the converter box.

I stopped reading at your “How fair is this.”

TV is not essential to your life. You do not need it to live.

Stop whining.

To All Who Replied - Many Thanks.
I would like to address those comments I can recall without referring back:

  1. I’m not whining - just hurting for $$$ - Being pushed into the 21st Century, I was looking forward to joining everyone in getting cable (aside from the cost) - but when calling/researching companies - they either didn’t provide in this area, or didn’t know what EWTN was (or anything similar)…something I would enjoy.

  2. I HAD the coupons for the converter box - but let them expire having decided to go with cable. I have since re-applied and was surprised to learn how quickly they would be en route.

  3. My greatest disappointment was - in consideration of whatever plusses there were having cable, I’d have to pay for each individual box that cable TV requires for multiple TVs (which I have). Monthly cost for each.

I wasn’t whining - I was in monetary shock…:eek:
But I thank you all for setting me straight - and advising me of the positives to the converter box I can anticipate. Honest, I’m not a whiner. I’m just a complainer! But only when I think it’s with just cause. :smiley:

I did a survey of my and my families’ TV viewing habits (mostly network TV), and I just got RID of cable to go to antenna, because, as you see now, how outrageously expensive it is for cable. The few shows I can’t get OTA, I can watch online. My computer is a DVR, too, and connected to the TV.

Very interesting point - re cancelling cable for antenna-only reception. Yes, that was the problem. I almost didn’t mind the monthly cost, since there are three-fold packages out there that include high speed internet, free phone and cable. It’s all we’re hearing in commercials. But once the box is added to the cable setup - I was shocked at hearing that the box (multiples if you have more than one TV) each cost by the month - in addition. In light of the poor economy, one would think the politicians would make it easier / freer for us to listen to their jargon on the nightly news. (one would think, anyway) I am saddened that I can’t afford cable - since my reception for viewing some shows on computer isn’t all that great. (whoops, sorry! I’m whining again ! LOL) :wink:

Satellite TV, with a dish on your roof or ground, will have only one box, for 2 TVs. There is an antenna on the one box. Of course, families have more thatn 2 TVs. Secondly I want to say that EWTN is on Dish, for all programming Tiers. Thirdly, there is never an outage due to snow, and we live in Northern Ohio. Fourth … with Dish, you can save your favorite channels in one group to flip through, there is always an information blurb for each show and one can look ahead for a few days. Also, sirius radio may be with the mid and above tiers. Further, free channels are every month, and PPV, means you can purchase a movie without going out, and there are $2 ones. When there is something like the Olympics or Tennis, etc., then Dish allows 6 channels viewable at once, and with a click of the middle button you can go back to the regular view … this works for local weather too. To me, it is heaven sent, Dish Satellite. Time-Warner … and many other cable in the various cities, have a satellite Dish, too, with their signal cabeled to the homes. A package deal can be got, with one’s telephone company … but, $60 for DSL, local and long dist. phone and some additional phone services is about what we pay. Then, for a mid tier … about $55 for TV … a little over $110/month. Interestingly, the Metro paper pays for itself with coupons. My sister, who complains alot, doesn’t need half of what she gets in, with respect to the media. Cut back, until you can afford and then only buy what you need. Check out “Wise Bread” online for ideas on how to save money. Forgive us for any condescension, here. Hey, there is a great video about St. Meinrad Archabbey online. What will the future be like … just a little bumpy with the changes in technology, now!

Thanks, Ohioszo -
I had opted away from satellite when I’d heard it can be affected by weather. Didn’t think that was a plus for technology. But you’re telling us otherwise, for a snow area. Good to know. I’ve noticed SO many dishes on houses here - that I can’t help but wonder - it’s sort of like what it must have been like to see TV antennae on every house once it became so popular. Now, the dishes nearly touch one another - there’s so many.

I have the rabbit ears and a converter box. The bad thing was I did end up buying a new “better” antenna. I get the usual local stations and a couple of extras that are linked with local stations. Both tend to show retro tv shows or movies.

You don’t have to pay per month for the converter box

The one thing I don’t get as well as is the Toledo stations but for themost part they show the same as the Detroit ones so it isn’t a big deal

Hey marytk, sounds like you are in the Detroit area. This is what we get with just a tv top antenna and a converter box:

2-1 FOX
2-2 FOX (identical programming)
4-1 WDIV
4-2 WDIV Weather
7-1 ABC
7-2 (RTN - Retro channel)
7-3 ABC Weather
20-WB network
38-WADL - local channel
50-CW - local channel
56-1 (PBS regular channel)
56-2 (PBS kids)
56-3 (PBS Create channel)

I’m hoping to pick up more after the conversion happens - make sure you rescan after the cut over date, there may be other stations going on line that we don’t see now. :thumbsup:


Most systems offer two tiers of service; basic or standard which doesn’t require a box and premium which does. We only have a box for one TV with a splitter for the other two.

… I know that Time-Warner went directly into the TV, at one time, i.e. no box; probably not now unless you have an new TV? Dish has one box for 2 TVs or the option instead of a recordable box. I don’t quite understand the TV thing. I also know that Time-Warner only has EWTN in the HDTV Channel lineup, not the lower tiers. Very bad for the group who doesn’t want to pay alot for TV, per month. That’s why I think that, for us, Dish was a blessing. We had STO, Cleveland Indians, too. They do like to raise the rates. If a person had the Family channels, for 20, one wouldn't have the Indians, (other sports, either ... which is slightly nonsensical ... bat the ball with the kids and take them to the games?) ... but, with the extra saved, one could purchase a movie package, or PPV.


  1. ‘better’ reception generally. There were 2 channels we had a hard time getting to be clear. Overall though the picture is a lot crisper. {see negatives}
  2. more channels. Don’t know if this is a total positive, but we now have a cartoon channel.


  1. reception. If there’s bad weather outside, forget it.
  2. reception. If there isn’t a strong signal, we get nothing. or at best pixellated freeze frames. I’d take the old ‘poor’ reception because at least I could get a general idea of what was going on.

Is it allowed to post a link to If you have a coupon, the posting states, you can go to for a free converter box, antennaes, and shipping. I don’t recommend the deal, but, I recommend FatWallet feeds.

I finally received converter box coupons (I’d let original ones expire anticipating getting cable). My area only has one cable company available unless you have satellite; and it was from this cable provider that I was told they would not only have to hook cable up but then add a “box” (my neighbor had theirs attached last year by same cable company) to each T.V. The price for each box is MONTHLY charge of $6.75 - for each individual box - in addition to monthly cable bill. I was stunned. And personally, I just don’t get it - if you have CABLE, why do they insist on attaching individual box - as well? Something not right but I’ve really done my homework. Just can’t afford it, so I will go with trying just one converter box (paid $9.95 after coupon)…if it works, I’ll have add to other TVs. That $9.95 isn’t refundable if box is returned - strictly store credit. Another catch you don’t know until purchasing.

What’s most frustrating was I thought I had this planned system all in place as to what was needed or not. I really feel like I’m in ancient history. I’ve even heard priests discuss cable programs during sermons. I just can’t imagine not having some news or favorite TV show available come June 12. How spoiled we are but it’s amazing how TV has become our companion. Maybe, we should have let the companies go bust waiting for us to sign up (and then be forced to lower their prices / plans) - Meantime, we could have been praying instead of watching T.V. sigh :slight_smile:

Tune in next week - for whatever may happen! You know I’ll be back! :eek:

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