On February 17, 2009 (delayed until June 12, 2009) all television stations will stop transmitting high power analog signals and switch to digital transmission.  This means that if you have a standard analog TV you will no longer be able to receive over the air television.  However, it does not mean that your old television will no longer work.  It will still work, you'll just have to make some changes in order to receive television signals.  Since this is a website for campers, I will deal with what this means to campers.  However, television is television and antennas are antennas and it doesn't matter where you are using them.

If you are using satelitte TV for your camper, you don't have a problem.  Satellite is a digital signal and your satellite receiver takes care of the conversion.  If you are in a park that has cable TV, then you don't have a problem either.  Both of these cases apply whether camping or at home.  If you don't have satellite reception or cable and you need to use the crank-up antenna on your camper, then you will have a problem unless you either have a converter box that is digital to analog, or you have a TV that has a builtin digital tuner.  Your standard analog TV will not work without the digital to analog converter box.  So what is a camper to do?  If you have a camper that is more than a few years old, you probably don't have a digital TV in your camper.

The components of digital TV are the transmission station, the antenna and the TV/digital to analog converter box.  I checked with Winegard on the antenna issue.  The standard crank-up antenna on most campers is a digital antenna, so that's not a problem.  However, they said that if you have an antenna with aluminum wings then they suggest that you upgrade by replacing the old head with the RV-2005 head that has painted wings.  It will get a little better reception, but the one with the aluminum wings will work okay.

Once the digital signal is received it must go through a digital tuner.  If you have an analog TV, then you put a digital converter between the antenna and the TV.  If you have a digital TV, it will have a digital tuner and you are in business.  The question for the camper becomes one of 'do I buy a TV with the digital tuner or do I just buy a converter box and keep the same TV'?  That of course is personal preferance and also an economic question.  A new digital TV will have a clearer picture than your old analog TV.  If you buy a digital TV, don't think that that means you have High Definition becasue it isn't so unless you specifically buy a High Definition TV.  If you have satellite or cable and have a High Definition TV you will still need to have a receiver capable of producing a High Definition output to the TV.

If this seems too complicated, it really isn't.  Your camper has the antenna, all you need to do is upgrade it if you desire.  Then, all you need to do is get the converter box and run the antenna to the in receptical and output to the TV from the output of the conveter box.  Otherwise buy a digital TV and just run the cable from the antenna to the TV.  Any other complicated connections are up to the individual for things such as High Definition and surround sound.

If you have further questions, you need to visit the Federal Communicatioins Commission website .  There you can find FAQs and info on how the government will help you buy the converter box if you need one.

Submitted by Brad Fuller
bradf@thisoldcampsite.com

Digital TV is Coming - Are You and Your Camper Ready?
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