Millions of Americans have 12 months to change the way they watch TV.
By February 2009, all full-power television stations will be required to broadcast a digital-only signal. Television stations will dump analog signals and start broadcasting exclusively in digital, one year from this weekend.
That means rabbit ears and antennas on the roof will not work anymore.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin says the government has a plan he says will help owners of thousands of small television stations survive the transition to digital broadcasting.
Converter boxes are now being sold, and the government is offering $40 coupons to help people pay for them. Televisions with cable or satellite service will still work.
The switch is supposed to free up analog frequencies for emergency responders. The 9/11 Commission found that police and fire channels were clogged with too much traffic.
Martin would also set a deadline of 2012 for low-power stations to convert to digital broadcasting.
To encourage the transition, he would allow them to apply for a second signal so they can continue to broadcast in analog format while they work on their digital station.
Sources: CBN News, The Associated Press