Ah, Digital TV, how I love you

About a week ago or so, I finally got my hands on one of the digital converter boxes I’d talked about not being available at Wal-Mart at all. It turns out that Best Buy has literally scads of them for sale. So, they’re $10 more than the Wal-Mart ones, but you’re getting a much better box.

Interestingly, the box that is sold at Best Buy (under their Insignia name) is manufactured by LG Electronics for Zenith. As we all probably know, LG make some darn good products, and they haven’t gotten this one wrong either.

Now that we’re finally getting towards the cutoff of analog TV and we finally have the digital converter boxes (set top box, STB for short) available in stores, and to be honest, I’d be prepared to buy another one at full price even for my room, or for the computer.

As it stands, with analog TV, using rabbit ears, we’d get 11 channels over the air, and the signals on those channels went all the way from fairly clear to barely watchable. Of course, since it is digital, now all the channels come in crystal clear, and there’s 28 of them. That’s just from Milwaukee!

The only problem is that this number goes down to around 8 when something happens. This happens when the noisy neighbor comes through. Its presence interferes with the UHF signals (I think the term for that is “multipath” – where the signals bounce off of something causing confusion), so I’m only left with the 8 channels of public TV, including one which shows Mr. Rogers Neighborhood at midnight…

However, the greatest thing is that I can get all the programs in HD now. Well, not purely HD, but it’s widescreen and just as clear as HD pictures, just downscaled to the proper resolution for an analog TV. Seriously, if you haven’t gotten a coupon for the digital boxes, you can do it at dtv2009.gov – the program should still be available for a little bit of time from now.

I’ll have some shots of the digital channels soon, because there is something annoying about some of them. 😉