The digital age is upon us, and whether you're on board or not, the old-timey analog TV signal will be switched off on Feb. 17, 2009. This is where I'd tell you to rush out and treat yourself to a new TV (but I think you might get a better price if you wait another week), 'cause that old box with rabbit ears won't do the job come February.

Although the benefits of switching to a digital TV signal far outweigh the drawbacks (including better picture, clearer sound, and more channel options because of more available bandwidth), there is one downside worth mentioning: you may not receive all the analog channels you used to with the new digital signal.

Why? I'll tell you when you


Because digital signals don't reach as far as analog ones, the weaker channels you may have received before probably won't be coming in at all once the switch has been made. This is especially true with channels that use a higher frequency (higher numbered stations), as the signal has a harder time making its way around buildings and through walls than lower numbered stations. So if you were in a habit of watching a certain (fuzzy) station with a high channel number, just be prepared if the screen suddenly goes black on Feb. 17. You've been forewarned.