Canadian TV antenna users (like myself) beware! Come August 31st, many Canadian TV signals will be converted from analog to digital signals. You may need a converter box in order to continue to watch TV for free.
I have an old TV (eleven years) and I use rabbit ears antenna to get free programming (more about this great money-saving idea here). I don’t watch a lot of TV, maybe a few hours per week, but I do sometimes enjoy watching stuff. The problem is the cost. For the amount of TV that I do watch (which is far less than when I did have cable), the minimum of $40.00 per month for basic cable just doesn’t seem worth it to me. I find I spend a lot more time watching movies and/or reading now and I think this is actually a good thing.
Well, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) has announced that many previously analog signals will now be broadcast in digital (here are the full details). Most older TVs read analog signals only. Most of the newer models (say a few years old or newer) have a digital converter built in. What happens to the users of older TV sets like myself? Well, you may no longer get a signal that your TV can understand come August 31, 2011 if you use rabbit ears antenna and do not have a digital converter built into your TV set. The new ROgers television commercial explains this pretty clearly (see, I do watch some TV).
The good news is that you do not have to throw away your TV and that you can continue to use your rabbit ears antenna. What you do need is a digital to analog converter box. I bought my digital to analog converter box over a year ago with the first announcements by the CRTC. In the US, apparently the government even offered rebates to analog TV users in order to buy a new digital to analog converter box. Not so in Canada (at least to my knowledge).
Don’t despair, I found a terrific digital to analog converter box for $59.99 – the Tivax STB-T8. Unfortunately, this highly-rated converter box seems to be no longer available (although you probably could find it second-hand somewhere). Fortunately for you, the converter box technology has gotten even better over the past year. Most of the new converter boxes offer analog pass-through which enables you to still watch analog channels. Most reviews seem to say that the reception is as good as watching a DVD even on an old TV. What more could you ask for? FREE TV with DVD-quality reception.
I have to make it clear that I have NOT personally tried this product. What I have tried is the year-ago-top-rated Tivax STB-T8. I love the Tivax. I just think that to recommend this product seems so ‘last year’.
In any case, if you live in Canada, and have an old TV that does not have a converter built into it, and you use rabbit ears antenna, you will need to replace your TV or buy a converter by August 31st if you still want to enjoy free TV (a most excellent choice, if I don’t say so myself).
I should also add that you can still enjoy your favourite movies on an astoundingly brilliant 90 inch screen for under $500 dollars.
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Here is a link to Amazon.ca with the best price I could find for the Zinwell converter box.