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Digital Television Information

Television has changed. Have you found our new Digital TV Channels yet?

MontanaPBS is here to help and we want to make sure no one’s television set is left behind. If the information on this web site still leaves you with questions, please call us at 1-800-426-8243, and we’ll do our best to sort it all out.

As Red Green says, “We’re all in this together.”


"What do I need to do to receive DTV?"

- Do you have cable or satellite?

If you subscribe to cable, or satellite, and don’t use an antenna for any local television channels, you don’t need to do a thing. Cable and satellite will continue to work just as they always have, you’re covered.

- Do you use an antenna?

If you watch TV using an antenna, on your roof or even rabbit ears, or perhaps you use an antenna to watch local channels that aren’t available on your satellite service, then you need to take steps to receive the new digital TV signals.

Option 1. The set-top box

If you are watching on an analog set, you can buy a set-top box that adds a digital tuner to your old-reliable television. These boxes are available now at most electronics stores for $40-$70. 

Option 2. Buy a new TV

If you’ve purchased a new television in the last year or so, there’s a good chance your new set already has a digital tuner in it. Check your owner’s manual, or call the store where you purchased your set, and find out if it is equipped with a digital tuner; if it is, you’re ready to go.

Option 3. Subscribe to Cable or Satellite

If you have cable available in your area, or direct satellite, you can also choose to subscribe to those services. You’ll want to ask if they have your local broadcast networks available, as some of them do not in some areas of Montana. These are pay services, so there will be a monthly charge for subscribing to them, but they will continue to work with your old televisions.

"I’ve heard that translators may not change? What does this mean?"

This is true. Some of us in Montana watch some TV channels from translators, and those translators may or may not change to digital broadcasting right away. In general terms, you should assume at least some of your broadcast channels will transition to digital, and you should be prepared for the possibility that some of the channels you regularly watch may remain analog for a while. If you’re considering the set-top box option above, you will want to look for a feature of the set top box called “analog pass through.” Be sure to ask the retailer you’re buying your set top box from if this feature is included. 

Time to help your neighbor!

We at MontanaPBS are very concerned that all Montanans that rely on our service have made the transition to DTV smoothly. As you are now among the informed, we would ask that you consider your friends, neighbors, and family members. Ask yourself who you know that may require a bit of help. Please give us a all at 1-800-426-8243 if you or your neighbor needs some help tuning in one of our over-the-air DTV channels.  Click here for a full listing of our digital channels and the communities in which they are available.


Looking for even more information. DTVAnswers is the information site from the National Association of Broadcasters.

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