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How do I Convert Analog to Digital?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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In the US, there has long been a determination that television broadcasting with analog signals was phasing out. In 2009, broadcasting changed so that program information is now sent in digital form. This lead many to wonder how to convert analog to digital, since lots of people didn’t want to buy a new digital television, or couldn’t afford it right away. There are actually several methods by which people can accomplish this.

Most people who are concerned with converting analog to digital do not have digital cable or satellite. Subscribers to the majority of cable or satellite companies may have the easiest route because many people get a conversion box with their subscription, or they pay a few more dollars a month for this conversion service. A small box is attached to the TV that converts its ability to understand digital signals. There’s usually no need to go out and purchase anything that will make this transition, and people can talk to their cable TV provider about exactly what is needed. Those who were already getting fairly advanced cable services via a box that plugged into the television may require no conversion equipment at all.

Some people still get television services through open-air transmission, and these folks may need to do a little more to perform the analog to digital conversion. They’ll need to look online or at most electronics stores to purchase an analog to digital conversion box. These vary in price and start at about $40 US Dollar (USD) while others are five or six times that amount. It’s not clear that more expensive ones are necessarily better, and many people will be perfectly satisfied with cheaper model. In fact, up until the end of July 2009, people could get a government coupon for $40 USD, so they could purchase a box. This program did have an expiration date and was only meant to help people during the transition.

It should be noted that analog to digital conversion will not translate to greatly improved picture quality. In order for people to appreciate digital TV in all its glory, they are best off getting a TV that allows for elevated definition (ED), or high definition (HD). Standard definition is about the same as most high quality analog sets. The conversion simply means changing the way a TV perceives signals, but not the way that it places those signals on the screen. Fortunately, for many interested in enjoying the better picture quality that can be available with digital, this conversion appears to be having a positive effect on digital TV pricing, and prices seem to finally be getting competitive and more affordable for the average consumer.

InfoBloom is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a InfoBloom contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon129443 — On Nov 23, 2010

If I have a conversion box as described above, can I use that box to connect to a VHS and convert VHS tapes to digital, record on computer and burn to DVD?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a InfoBloom contributor, Tricia...
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