Thinking Inside the Box

See You at the Fair -- at the DTV Trekker!

by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV

Hi again, Ellis Bromberg with a new video "Thinking Inside the Box."

I've spoken before in this column -- actually a number of times -- about the transition to digital television, which is now about seven months away. In the television industry we call it "the analog shutoff."

Next February 17, all TV stations, including ours, will switch exclusively to digital broadcasts.

If you have an older set that won't receive digital, you'll need to consider three options:

You can buy a new digital TV -- and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. I bought a 14-inch set not too long ago at a discount department store for $94.

Or you can subscribe to a cable or satellite service that carries local stations. Right now, just so you know, Time Warner Cable is the only such service carrying all the MPTV digital channels.

Or you can add a converter box, like this one, and a simple antenna to get the new digital channels on your old set. This, right here, is one of MPTV's new digital channels being picked up using a converter box and simple rabbit ears. The box is simple to plug in, and the government is offering each household two $40 coupons so you can buy two converter boxes for your sets -- they generally run about $50-$70 dollars without the coupons.

We know a lot of people have questions about this, and we're glad to answer them. We have information on our website about digital TV, about the converter boxes, and much more: click the "Digital TV Transition" box at the top of the homepage -- it's on the left-hand side.

And something else: we are joining with the other Wisconsin broadcasters at the State Fair throughout the run. The DTV Trekker -- it's a big truck with everything you need to know about the transition -- will be parked on N. Grandstand Avenue, so please stop by!

And we'll talk with you again next month.