How to Know If a TV Gets a Digital Signal?

by Maxwell Payne Images

On June 12, 2009 the US FCC officially switched over-the-air television signals from analog to digital. When this change took effect, older TVs that received signals through antennas needed to be connected either to a cable TV service or to a special converter box. Television manufacturers are now required to build digital tuners into the TV set. There are multiple ways to determine if your TV is digital ready before spending money on a converter box or cable service.

Step 1

Inspect the front and back of the TV set for markings indicating that the TV is "digital ready." The labeling may vary and say "DTV," Digital Receiver," "Digital Tuner Built-In," "Integrated Digital Tuner," "HDTV" or "ATSC."

Step 2

Check the TV owner's manual for indication of digital signal reception if there is no marking on the TV itself. This information may be on the front of the manual or located by checking the manual index for "digital signals."

Connect a standard TV antenna to the "Cable/Antenna" jack on the back of the TV set, turn on the TV and flip through the channels. If the TV is digital ready you will be able to see your basic local channels.


  • TVs produced after March 2007 are required by law to have built in digital signal receivers. However if your TV is older than a 2007 model, you can get a digital signal converter box for it at your local electronics store.
  • If you subscribe to cable services and use a cable box you do not need a digital signal capable TV.


Photo Credits

  • Images

About the Author

Maxwell Payne has been a freelance writer since 2007. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in integrated science, business and technology.

More Articles