Mysteries explained: Where should I buy a DTV converter? Which one should I choose?

The most economical way for over-the-air TV viewers to deal with the DTV transition is to buy a DTV converter box for your existing TV set. The cheapest boxes cost $40; online retailers with $40 boxes include

While there are many different DTV converter models available from local and online retailers, most of them basically do the same thing. A couple of features to look out for: configurable closed captioningwill be useful for some viewers, and boxes with analog pass-through will allow you to continue receiving low-power TV stations (not required to switch to digital). Finally, choose a box that makes it easy to add new channels after the box has done its initial channel scan. This will save time when trying to tune in weak or distant signals.

Consumer Reports provides a helpful list of DTV converter box ratings; see below for more resources.

The following retailers in the Seattle/Tacoma area carry DTV boxes; mostly in the $60 range and up:

Best Buy
Circuit City
Fred Meyer
Magnolia Hi-Fi
Office Depot
Radio Shack


Consumer Reports converter box guide
more ratings
• information on antennas

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey