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Satellite TV (DBS) Subscribers and the DTV Transition


The digital television (DTV) transition refers to the switch from analog to digital broadcast television. Since June 12, 2009, all full-power television stations in the United States have stopped broadcasting in analog, and are broadcasting in digital format only. The DTV transition frees many frequencies for police, fire and emergency rescue communications, provides frequencies for advanced wireless services, and allows TV broadcast stations to offer more programming with better picture and sound quality.

If you subscribe to satellite TV (also known as “Direct Broadcast Satellite” or “DBS”) and your TVs receive local television stations through your satellite dish, you should be receiving digital television signals. If you are not, check with your provider. You may be able to rent or purchase from your provider or an electronics retailer a set-top box that includes a digital broadcast tuner.

If you have an analog television that receives free over-the-air programming with a broadcast antenna (such as “rabbit ears” on your set or an antenna on your roof) and are not receiving digital signals, you need to purchase a digital-to-analog converter box.

For more information about the DTV transition, go to or use the contact information provided below. For information about other communications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer website or contact the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

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Satellite TV (DBS) Subscribers and the DTV Transition Guide (pdf)

Reviewed: February 24, 2014

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