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Definition: digital TV transition


The switch from analog to digital broadcasting over the air by all TV stations in the U.S., which occurred at midnight June 12, 2009. Eleven years before the switch, DTV debuted in major U.S. cities, and the FCC mandated that broadcasters switch to digital by 2006. The deadline was extended twice until it finally went into effect in 2009.

Old TVs that pick up analog signals with an antenna no longer work without a digital converter box (see TV converter box). For more about the digital standards, see DTV and 700 MHz spectrum.

Cable and Satellite Were Good Until 2012
Subscribers to cable and satellite TV services were not affected in 2009. These closed systems sent analog signals to their customer's TV sets until 2012.

Government Rebates
The U.S. government provided two $40 rebate coupons per household for purchasing converter boxes. The rebate ended on July 31, 2009.