A digital cable converter takes digital signals sent by your cable TV provider and makes them compatible with an older television that has an analog NTSC tuner. Digital cable converters are different from digital converter boxes, which are only used to convert TV signals that are sent over the air.
Why Get Your Own Converter?
When you sign up for cable TV, the provider will supply you with as many converter boxes as you need. You pay a monthly fee for each box that you have. Some people prefer to buy their own converter box or to get a second box for a TV in a bedroom or a child's room. Over time, you may be able to save money by getting your own converter box.
Most places that carry TV and other electronics carry digital cable converters. Always research converter boxes prior to purchasing. Make sure the digital cable converter box will work with your television and with your cable TV service. Check the description to see if it comes with a remote (most do) and extra coaxial cable (one extra coaxial cable is needed).
You'll find the best prices for converter boxes online. Check discount electronics retailers and Amazon. Avoid boxes that promise free premium channels. It's illegal to own these boxes, and you'll face stiff fines if you get caught with one.
You can also find converter boxes at electronics retailers and big department stores. One advantage to buying locally is that you can ask store staff if the box will work with your particular cable service. A Web site often can't provide that information.
You can also try local flea markets and thrift stores. Again, keep an eye out for boxes that have been modified and avoid them.
Remember, too, that you can't get free cable simply by hooking up a digital cable converter. Modern cable converters need to be activated with signals sent by the cable company. If you've got an active signal in your home, you can use a splitter and extra coaxial cable to send the signal from the main cable line to additional televisions.
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