Hawaii residents first to go digital - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii residents first to go digital

Judy Lam Judy Lam
Lyle Ishida Lyle Ishida

By Leland Kim - bio | email

KAHALA (KHNL) -   If you're watching TV on a set with antennae, you have less than two months before you'll lose television signal altogether, unless you get a special converter box.

And now the Federal Communications Commission, or the FCC, is making it more economical to make the "big switch" from analog to digital.

If you go on the FCC Web site, you can apply for a coupon, which saves you $40 off the cost of a converter box.  You've got to do it soon, because Hawaii goes digital January 15, about a month before the rest of the country.

Judy Lam loves watching TV.  She's at Radio Shack to find out more about the switch from analog to digital TV signals.

"I have six TV's and one cable, and they're in different parts of the room, different parts of the house," said the 71-year-old Liliha resident. "So it's going to be humbug back and forth."

She and about nine million analog TV households in the United States will have to buy converter boxes if they want to continue watching their favorite shows.

"Analog signals are very inefficient," said Lyle Ishida, a project manager with the Federal Communications Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.  "They take a lot of the broadcast airspace. Digital signals take a smaller footprint. By transitioning the full power stations to digital, we can save some of the broadcast airspace."

Most TV watchers have already made the switch and didn't even know it.

"If you get television by cable or by satellite, then you don't have to do anything," said Ishida. "It only affects people who only get over the air signals."

And it's those folks who may need help getting ready.

"Everybody has an aunty," said Ishida. "Everybody has a grandma who may still be getting television over the air and who might not be in the position to really understand what they need to do."

Digital signals have better picture and sound quality.  So, folks like Judy Lam recommend you do it sooner rather than later.

"Enjoy yourself," she said. "Your family can enjoy it. You got to count every penny you got."

Again, Hawaii is going digital on January 15, so you got to make the switch before then or you'll see snow if you get analog TV signal. Converter boxes go for $40 to $60 each, but you can get the $40 coupon from the FCC.

For more, click here or go to the "Big Switch" link on our homepage.

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