If you unplugged your cable or satellite TV service and went with the good ol' rabbit ears for free TV reception, you may be in for a rude awakening in about a year. Full power TV stations currently broadcasting in analog will make the switch to digital television broadcasting on February 17, 2009.

What this means is this: if your TV gets reception using an antenna, that will come to an end next February...unless you buy a converter box. The converter box will cost about $50 to $70, and it will work with your antenna. You'll still need that. If you do use cable or satellite, you don't need the converter box.

The government-run web site dtv2009.gov is offering a coupon worth a $40 discount off the cost of the converter box. There is a two-coupon limit per household, so you'll want to request those as soon as possible if you're using antenna reception for your television at home.

If you live near the Canadian or Mexican border and get most of your TV reception from those countries, this conversion to digital won't be such a big deal because they are not switching to digital TV broadcasting yet. But, if you get most of your reception from stations in the U.S. of A, you'll need the box...unless you watch all of your TV shows online.

Plan ahead, and your conversion to digital TV can be both painless and cheaper!


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