Cables or Other Equipment Needed?
Some additional cables or transformers may be required, depending on the antenna and the type of television. Portable televisions and large screen projection sets can present special issues.
Connectors: Check the existing cable connecting the antenna to the television to determine whether any additional cables or adapters are needed. A standard RF coaxial cable is a ¼” round cable with a single “male” prong on each end. If the existing antenna is connected using a round RF coaxial cable, additional cables are not necessary.
Extenders: The standard RF coaxial cable supplied with a converter box is about 3 feet long. A longer RF coaxial cable with two “male” ends, or an RF coaxial cable extension with one “male” and one “female” end, may be needed if the antenna is more than 3 feet from the converter box or the converter box is more than 3 feet from the television.
Transformers: If the existing antenna wire is flat or ribbon-shaped rather than round, and has 2-4 flat ends that are screwed down to a small plate on the back of the television, a small “300/75 ohm transformer” (available for less than $10) will be needed. The transformer converts the television signals received from the antenna’s flat wire (300 ohms) to a round RF output (75 ohms) that plugs into the “Antenna In” port on the converter box. Converter boxes do not have flat wire “Antenna In” ports.
Electrical Outlets: The converter box requires electricity. Check for an available electrical outlet near the television. If none is available, a grounded outlet extender, power strip, or electrical extension cord will be needed.
Second Converter Box and Antenna: To be able to record one program using a VCR while watching a separate program on the television, two converter boxes will be needed because each of the analog tuners in the television and the VCR will need converter boxes. See the section below titled Setting Up a VCR or DVD.
More information about the digital television transition is available on the following topics:
- Are All of the Televisions in the Household DTV-Prepared?
- Applying for $40 DTV Coupons
- Expired or Lost DTV $40 Coupons Can Now Be Replaced
- Purchasing a Converter Box
- Reviewing Converter Box Features
- Antennas and Reception Issues
- Portable and Large Projection TVs; S-Video and Composite A/V Cables
- Setting Up a Converter Box
- Channel-Selection Trouble-Shooting Guide
- Setting Up a VCR or DVD
- Recycling Older Televisions
- Additional Information and Resources
- Alternative Formats
- Digital Transition Assistance for Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities