Digital TV Q&A
So you've got your converter box and the TV still only shows Channel 6? Here are the questions that Mike Tuck, owner of Harold's Specialty Systems, asks:
What kind of antenna do you have?
What you want is one that brings in both VHF and UHF. If it's the indoor variety, the circle-shaped element is for UHF. The rabbit ears part is VHF. It's not as easy to tell with an outdoor antenna.
If it's an outdoor aerial, when was it installed?
If it was decades ago, you'll probably need a new antenna. Buy one for both UHF and VHF with the UHF element larger, a switch over past configurations, said Steve Knutson, owner of Antenna Logic.
Is the television on Channel 3?
Put it on Channel 3 if you are using single-pronged coaxial. Use the TV's input setting if using the three-pronged RCA cables.
Is the converter box on?
Red light means off. Blue or green means it is on.
Do you have the remote that came with set top box?
Locate it and press the menu button. Make sure you are using the converter remote, not the TV remote.
Look for the directional arrow buttons and use them to select "scan channels." It will tell you when it is done.
Do you see the up and down channel buttons?
Use them to see what channels you are getting. If you're not getting anything and you're using an indoor antenna, try moving it around to see if reception improves. If you have an outdoor antenna, you'll need to adjust or replace it.
A few other tips:
Tuck said that in general, outdoor antennas that are one piece should point north northwest. Two-piece models should have the VHF portion pointing north northwest and the UHF element pointing south southwest.
When adjusting an indoor antenna, move slowly, the FCC recommends. Digital pictures lag slightly and need time to detect signals in the new location.
In deep fringe areas, a rotor might be needed for an outdoor antenna so that the unit can reposition itself to point directly at each tower, Knutson said.
UHF signals don't pass through material as well as VHF, so antennas that used to work in a basement or an attic may not work now.
To get specific compass headings for TV towers based on your location, go to www.antennaweb.org.
- Dave Roepke