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How Much is DTV?

What you spend to get digital television depends on a lot of factors.

  1. Convert Your TV
    Your cheapest option is to get a converter box for your current analog television set. Coupons will be available starting early 2008 to cover the cost of the box, which generally costs less than $50.

    The converter box will not make your TV digital, but you will be able to receive a digital signal and the box will convert it back to analog. The converter box will also allow you to watch any multicast programming offered by your local stations.

    Electronics retailers will begin selling the digital television converter boxes in early 2008.

    Also, beginning in January 2008, coupons will be available to help cover the cost of the converter box. Households will be able to apply for up to two coupons, which must be redeemed within three months of receipt. The coupons cannot be combined to purchase a single converter box, nor can they be used toward the purchase of other products. For more information on the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program, visit the
    NTIA’s website, or call 1-888-388-2009 (voice) or 1-877-530-2634 (TTY). You can also email the NTIA. January 2008 update: Get more information on the coupons here.
    Convert Your TV
  2. Buy a DTV
    If you buy a new television set with a built-in digital tuner, you’re looking at roughly $600 and up.

    Under $600

    Most of this category will consist of 26" and under LCDs. There are a few value lines where you may be able to get a 32" on sale for $599. Most televisions in this price point are secondary TVs. 37" and under TVs will always be LCD now, when talking bout flat panels. Smaller TVs will not have the latest and greatest on them. They are 720p sets, usually fewer HDMI inputs, and they are only 60hz TVs.

    $600 to $1,200 

    In this price range you're talking 37" or smaller LCD, 42" or smaller plasma and 46" or less Digital Projection (DLP). Again, there will be some value lines in both (40" in LCD or even a 50" plasma). These will usually be 720p sets, and are primarily for the value-minded consumer who is looking for the BIGGEST TV for their money. These will not have all the bells and whistles people are really looking for.

    $1,200 to $2,000

    Up to 65" in Digital Projection (DLP), a large assortment of Plasma and LCD 52" and smaller. This will get you a very nice TV and an assortment of 1080p sets to choose from. This is where a great deal of consumers end up. There are some nice models in various sizes that will give the customer a great experience. LCDs in this range are still a little limited in processing speeds (60hz), but you can pick up a very large projection DTV if you do not need to hang it on the wall or a great plasma.

    $2,000 to $3,000

    This price range will primarily be 1080p sets, 58" plasmas or smaller, 52" LCDs with 120hz processing, and Digital Projection over 65". This will cover most consumers' needs for a primary television. Although many consumers land between $1200 to $2000, this higher range really gives them what they need to be ready for the future - more HDMI inputs to keep up with new products you will purchase, better processing speeds (LCD from 60hz to 120hz) that corrects any type shadow effect, blurring or a digitizing image. They will a lot of times have a smaller bezel (stand) so that you can get larger TVs into smaller areas.

    Over $3,000

    This the elite category. From here you will get the very best in large LCD and Plasma televisions. This category goes up drastically from about a $3,400 price point for the top of the line 52" LCD to the very next model - $6,999 for a 65" LCD. This is truly for the enthusiast who wants all the latest and greatest and the biggest they can get. While $3,000 or lower will cover 95% of all consumers out there, this is the other 5%.

    Buy a DTV
    Buy an HDTV
  3. Subscribe to Cable / Satellite / Telco Service
    Subscribe to cable, satellite or a telephone company television service provider. All of these services will allow you to receive digital television signals on your analog television set. No additional equipment is required if you decide to go this route. However, be sure to check that the pay service you choose carries all of the program services provided by the local broadcast stations.

    If you’re not already receiving cable or satellite, these options can cost from roughly $60 a month.
Note: All of the prices listed here are approximate.


What to look for in a digital television

What to look for in a high definition television

What to look for in digital television converter box


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