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Watch the Changes

Big-screen television sets were once almost exclusively the property of the very affluent or the bad guys in apocalyptic sci-fi thrillers; now everyone has to have one of these bigger-is-better screens. But not all flat panels are created equal, at least not in this brave new world. Since the world of broadcast television is about to make a radical change, now just might be the time to consider purchasing a new television, not because you don’t want to be the last on your block to have one, but because these sets can really can make everything from serious movie-watching to casual boob-tubing more engaging.

Now, about this radical change just mentioned: In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few months and have missed the barrage of advertisements touting the impending changeover, be advised that, as of Feb. 17, 2009, all over-the-air analog broadcasting shall cease, rendering your old, non-digital sets useless. Well, not totally useless. You can drop 40 or 50 bucks on a converter box that will allow the digital signal over the air to perform on your old set. Uncle Sam is even playing Santa right now, offering a limited supply of $40 coupons good toward the purchase of said box. Check their website, www.dtv2009.gov, to apply for a coupon and to learn more about the switchover. Now, if you don’t rely on an antenna for your television signal to enter your set, i.e., you subscribe to cable or satellite, don’t worry, the set-top box your service provider provides will do the conversion.

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