Rabbit Ears, Soon To Be Clipped


It will be end of an era: On February 17, 2009 the Rabbit Ear Antennas that have been around since the 1950s will be retired. Why? because broadcast networks will stop broadcasting television signals to digital signals. The switch means that one in five Americans who have been using Rabbit Ear Antennas will not be able to watch their favorite shows on their plain-ole television sets.

What they will need is a new device that is going to help convert the digital signal into analog. Two such devices — one from LG and another from RCA — are going to hit the stores soon, and will cost between $50 and $70 a piece. The good news is that U.S. government will subsidize these converters.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a government body, is going to issue $40 vouchers that will help defray the costs of these converters. In January you can apply “for up to two coupons each, for a total of $80,” reports the New York Times, and urges consumers to keep a close eye on the F.C.C. Web site, www.dtv.gov and websites of television companies.



The headline is kind of misleading, rabbit ears are not the problem. It’s the analog TV. rabbit ears can pick up digital signals but the signal will have to be converted via settop box if the TV is not digital.

Steven Sande

Thanks for asking (I was kidding about being hurt, by the way). It’s Digital TV Facts:


Not as pretty as the NAB DTV site, nor as noisy as the FCC’s. But I probably have more about converter boxes than those sites.

Steven Sande

I suspect it’s going to be more than one in five antenna households…they’ve been pretty slow to buy DTVs, as a recent APTS study shows.

I’m just hurt that the NYT didn’t send people to my website instead of those of the FCC and its lobbyists. Or they could have sent them here, for that matter — your site looks beautiful.

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