Saturday, June 20, 2009

Analog to Digital Conversion, Part 2: What to do if your digital converter box doesn't work, if it says “weak signal” or “no program,” or if the setup

What to do if your digital converter box doesn't work, if it says “weak signal” or “no program,” or if the setup wizard does not appear on the screen after you plug it in.

That's what happened to me when I finally got my Digitalstream converter box. I hooked it up to my VCR, attached my rabbit-ear antenna that came with my TV to the box, set the VCR (which I use as my TV receiver) to channel 3, made sure the switch on the converter box was set to channel 3, and turned it on. I got the Digitalstream logo, and then a moving, screen-saver type image of a box with the words “No Program,” followed by another one saying “Weak Signal.”

I assumed that either A) this would be fixed when the changeover to digital TV happened, or B) that my antenna just wasn't strong enough to pick up the new digital signals. B was confirmed for me when I saw the program being broadcast by Channels 2 and 4 saying that you may need a new antenna, and when I visited a Radio Shack in Manhattan. I was told that I would need a new antenna. I didn't have the cash on me, so I waited until today to visit the Radio Shack in my neighborhood.

Once there I found that there were several different models of antenna, a $20 model, a $30 model, a $50 mode3l and a $60 model, the difference supposedly being their strength. I took the cheapest one and hoped for the best. I came home and plugged it in and lo and behold, the same result as with the rabbit ears!

I called 1-888-CALL-FCC to see if they could help me. While the phone was ringing I picked up the remote control for the converter box and noticed a “Menu” button. Upon pressing it, I found a menu that included “Auto Scan.” When the service rep came on the line I told him my problem and he asked me if I has scanned for channels. I told him that I had just found the menu, and would call back if I needed him.

It seems that for whatever reason, the “Setup wizard” did not activate, and that I simply had to bring up the menu myself. So, if you find yourself in this situation, here's what you do:

1. Hook up the digital converter box to your TV (or your VCR if that's what you use to receive your signal)
2.Turn on the TV and set it to Channel 3.
3.Make sure the channel 3-4 switch is set to channel 3.
4.Turn on the converter box.
5.Push the “Menu” button on the remote for the converter box.
6.Find the “Channel” function or “Channel scanning” function.
7.Find the “Auto Scan” function
8.Select that function and “Update” or Rescan” for channels.
9.When it is done, exit the menu function and you are all set to watch HDTV!

Next: What I found there!


Christine Wiedinmyer said...

thanks so much! we had the same problem, and this solved it... you saved me a bunch of time and frustration!!

Captain Zorikh said...

Glad to help!