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How to Convert Analog TV to Digital TV Quickly and Affordably

Convert Analog TV to Digital TV

Last updated on February 28th, 2024 at 06:16 am

Since June 12, 2009, analog TV signals have been replaced by digital TV transmission in the USA.

The government had also imposed the ruling that all analog TV broadcast stations must adopt digital by July 13, 2021.

Owners of Digital TV with ATSC tuners would not be much affected by this change. But what if you have an older, trusty analog TV with an NTSC tuner on which you had spent a huge amount of cash?

Should you ditch your old analog TV for a digital TV set?

Well, the good news is you don’t have to. You can affordably convert your analog TV to receive digital TV signals without burning a hole in your pocket.

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 for better reception.

Some would find this a little hard to believe. According to experts, TV broadcast signals don’t depend on whether they 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, your old aerial can support it.

On the other hand, if the digital signal is transmitted in the UHF band, then your old VHF antenna needs to give way to a UHF 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.

Remember 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 also came with digital tuners.

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
  • DTV
  • ATSC

If none are present, you can check your TV model number and do an online search to see 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?

As its name suggests, a digital TV converter works to make an analog TV capable of receiving digital signals.

A digital TV converter box inputs a digital TV signal and converts it into an analog one.

There’s an antenna in (ANT IN) port to 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.

How digital TV to analog TV converter works

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.

How to set up Digital TV to Analog TV converter box

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 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, you must 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 video below to get an idea of how the Mediasonic ATSC Digital Converter Box works.

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 video, 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I still need a converter box if I have cable or satellite TV?

No, cable and satellite providers already transmit in digital format, so you won’t need a converter box.

What’s the difference between a converter box and a streaming device?

Converter boxes only translate digital signals for your old analog TV, while streaming devices offer access to online content like Netflix and Hulu.

Do I need a new antenna with a converter box?

You might need a new antenna if your existing one is damaged or not designed for digital reception. In most cases, you can use your current antenna.

How do I connect the converter box to my TV?

Connecting a converter box usually involves using composite cables (red, white, and yellow) to connect the box to your TV’s audio and video inputs. Some newer models might use HDMI cables.

What channels can I receive with a converter box?

You’ll receive local broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc.). This depends on your location and antenna quality.

Will picture quality be better with a converter box?

While converter boxes allow you to watch digital channels on your analog TV, the picture quality won’t be as good as a modern digital TV.

Is it worth upgrading to a new TV instead of using a converter box?

Upgrading to a new TV offers better picture quality, access to streaming services, and potentially larger screen sizes. However, it’s a costlier option compared to a converter box.

Are there any government assistance programs for converter boxes?

The Federal government’s Coupon Program for Digital Television ended in 2009. No current government programs directly assist with converter box purchases.

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