Since June 12, 2009, analog TV signals have been replaced by digital TV transmission in the USA.
The government has also imposed the ruling that all analog TV broadcast stations must adopt digital by July 13, 2021.
Those with digital TVs would not be much affected by this change. But what if you have an older, trusty analog TV on which you had spent a huge amount of cash?
Should you ditch your old analog TV for digital tv?
Well, the good news is you don’t have to. You can affordably convert your analog TV to receive digital TV signals at a minimal cost.
- 1 Do You Need to Change Your Antenna?
- 2 Digital to Analog TV Signal Converter
- 3 Is Your TV Analog or Digital?
- 4 How Does a Digital to Analog TV Converter Work?
- 5 Steps to Convert Analog TV to Receive Digital Signals
- 6 Digital TV Converters Buying Ideas
Do You Need to Change Your Antenna?
Chances are you’re using an analog TV antenna. There is more good news here.
You don’t have to change your analog TV antenna. You can retain it unless you want to change it to get better reception.
Some would find this a little hard to believe. According to experts, TV broadcast signals don’t depend on whether they’re are analog or digital.
Instead, it has to do with channel frequency. If your old antenna is in the VHF band and the digital signal is transmitted in the same band, then your old aerial will be able to support it.
On the other hand, if the digital signal is transmitted in the UHF band, then your old VHF antenna would not be able to support it and you would have to change the antenna.
Digital to Analog TV Signal Converter
The digital to analog TV signal converter is the most important part of converting your analog TV to support digital signals.
Be reminded though that if your TV is digital, you’ll not need a digital to analog signal converter.
You can connect your TV antenna cable directly to your television set. Now, how do you know whether your TV is analog or digital?
Is Your TV Analog or Digital?
If your TV is manufactured after March 1, 2007, it would be a digital TV. This is because the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) prohibited the production of analog TVs unless such TV sets came with digital tuners as well.
In any case, you can check whether your TV set comes with the HDTV logo. Also, check to see if your TV set comes with any of the following :
- Integrated Digital Tuner
- Digital Tuner Built-In
- Digital Receiver
- Digital Tuner
If none of these are present, you can check your TV model number and do an online search to check whether it’s a digital TV.
Anyway, the easiest clue is to check and see whether your TV set comes with an HDMI port. If yes, then it’s a digital TV. But then there are TV models with HDMI without digital tuners. You would have to check your TV manual to find out.
So, assuming you have an analog TV, let’s see how you can get it to work with a digital TV converter
How Does a Digital to Analog TV Converter Work?
A digital TV converter, as its name suggests, works to make an analog TV capable of receiving digital signals.
A digital TV converter box inputs a digital TV signal and converts it to an analog TV signal.
There’s an antenna in (ANT IN) port where you connect your coaxial cable. As for analog signal out you have composite video or component video options, alongside ANT OUT.
There’s also the HDMI option for TV with HDMI ports but without digital tuners. You may also use the HDMI port to connect to the HDMI in of your projector, HDTV, or computer monitor.
Steps to Convert Analog TV to Receive Digital Signals
When you purchase a digital TV to analog TV converter box, the steps will be listed in the manual. The following are the steps, generally.
Step 1 – Connect Antenna to Converter Box
If your Antenna, is already connected to your analog TV, you would have to disconnect it and connect it to the ANT in the converter box as shown in 1 in the diagram above.
Step 2 – Connect Converter Box to TV
Then you would need a separate cable coaxial cable to connect the converter box antenna out (ANT OUT) to your TV. If your TV comes with RCA (composite) inputs or component inputs then you can use the RCA out or component video out on the converter box.
Step 3 – Power on TV and Converter Box
After you’re done with the connections you can power on the TV and the converter box.
Step 4 – Set Up Converter Box and Scanning of HD Channels
Check your converter box manual for the exact steps.
Generally, the converter box goes into set up mode and scans the available HD channels. If you’ve used the RCA or component connection to link the converter box to your TV, then you would have to use your TV remote to switch to the appropriate AV In.
Step 5 – Ready to Watch HD Channels on Analog TV
After the scanning is complete, you’ll be ready to watch HD channels on your analog TV.
Check out the video below to get a general idea of how to set up a Digita TV converter box.
Digital TV Converters Buying Ideas
Now that you have a general idea of how to connect the digital TV converter box to your TV, let’s take a look at the best digital TV converters out there that will help you to convert analog TV to digital TV.
Please note that you can only use these digital TV converter boxes with OTA (Over-the-Air) TV signals. They are not for cable TV services.
iView 3300STB ATSC Converter Box
This iView converter box claims to pull in more HD channels than other converter boxes.
It comes with HDMI connectivity to allow you to connect to a computer monitor or projector.
There’s also the component video output for you to get the highest analog video picture quality.
The digital TV to analog TV converter also offers a USB port. You can use it to turn your converter box into a media player. External hard drives of up to 4TB are supported.
Check out the Amazon’s Choice iView 3300STB ATSC Converter Box.
Mediasonic ATSC Digital Converter Box
You can connect this digital TV converter box to your analog and digital TVs, not to mention a computer monitor or projector.
There’s also the antenna out analog video passthrough feature. Parental lock is available, too.
You can connect the box to an external hard disk to record OTA TV shows.
A USB port is available to play back your favorite videos through a flash drive or an external hard disk.
What’s lacking if you want to convert analog TV to digital TV with this unit is a component video connection. You’ll have to make do with a composite video connection. An HDMI connection is available though.
Check out the Mediasonic ATSC Digital Converter Box.
ZJBOX Digital TV Converter Box
This digital TV converter works like any other standard analog TV to Digital TV converter box.
It comes with component, HDMI, and RCA ports. HDMI and AV cables are provided to get you started connecting the box to your TV.
You can record TV shows, too, through an external hard disk, using the available USB port.
Other features include :
- EPG (Electronic Program Guide) with program information.
- Favorite channel list
- Parental control
- Closed captions
- Real time and scheduled recording
Check out the ZJBOX Digital TV Converter Box.
Also, check out the other bestselling Digital TV to Analog TV converters.