What to do If You Have an Old Tube TVJanuary 17th, 2017 By Brian Shim
If you have an old tube TV like the one shown on the right, or a flat screen that does not have a built-in digital tuner (made before 2006, when digital tuners were mandated), you will need a digital TV converter box (also called a tuner box) in order to get free TV using an antenna. These cost less than a month of cable TV for most people.
If you're one of those folks with a tube TV, you might want to consider upgrading to a flat screen TV if you can afford it. Here are some reasons why:
- You won't need to buy a digital TV converter box (saving you $50).
- If you get a "smart" TV, you can access subscription Internet content without having to buy a Roku/AppleTV/etc. (saving you $35-$100).
- You'll have incredible picture quality compared to your tube TV.
- The TV will use less space, and you can hang it on a wall.
- Flat screen TVs use less energy than tube TVs of the same screen size, saving money over the long run.
- Even if you buy a Sony 40" wide screen HDTV, the savings from cancelling cable will pay for it in less than a year.
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Recommended TV Converter Boxes
OK, if you still want to buy a digital TV converter box for your tube TV, there are two models that I recommend:
The HomeWorx unit includes a recording feature, where you can record shows to a USB drive. It has gotten surprisingly good reviews online, and is no more expensive than other converter boxes!
If you have a flat screen TV without a digital tuner (these are relatively rare), you'll need to get a digital tuner box. I searched around a bit and couldn't find one that has gotten good reviews. Let me know if you find anything.
Once you have the converter box, you'll need a broadcast TV antenna. Before buying anything, enter your zip code into the Station Finder and make sure there are signals in your area.
If there are, here are some antennas that I recommend.
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