Analog blackout: what to do to avoid being excluded from the open digital TV signal

The traditional analog signal of television channels is coming to an end: from now on, only digital exists. The process has benefits, but also presents challenges. This is what you need to know so that your TV doesn’t turn off.

Until the screen goes gray and all that’s left is white noise in the background. After more than 50 years of broadcasting, TVN said goodbye to its analog signal, which historically reached the antennas of millions of televisions, to definitively establish itself in a digital system.

The public channel is the first of Chilean television channels to apply what is known worldwide as an “analogue blackout”.

The measure, gradually implemented in the country since last March, is part of Law 20.750, published in 2014 and which establishes digital terrestrial television (TVD). After ten years of transition, in 2024, the traditional analog signal, which has allowed the regular transmission of content since the end of the 1950s, will be definitively abandoned.

Thus, Chile joins what was done by the United States (in 2009), the United Kingdom (2012), Mexico (2015) and Costa Rica (2023), among other countries.

The rule provided for a gradual transition that would take place in 2020. However, at the request of the chain’s executives, excused by the pandemic, the period was extended by four years. That is, until now.

Calendar of analog outage in the country.

“This measure facilitates the operation and compatibility of equipment and technologies between different countries, aligning with global trends and improving the user experience,” explains Gabriel Venegas, study secretary for the career in computer engineering civil at the headquarters of the Autonomous University of Chile.

Cristian Olivares, professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the Alberto Hurtado University, adds that TVD means “greater integration of regions and community organizations”, because it “promises” to become a mechanism “that should advance the democratization of media and content. generation”.

However, the analog failure poses certain technical and cultural challenges, not only for the channels but also for the viewers: to access digital television, it is necessary to have a television compatible with this type of signal, or a antenna or a device allowing it to be broadcast. received.

One group that may be particularly affected is the elderly. “Especially in low-income households or remote areas, where technology may be less accessible,” Venegas says. Lack of information and the high cost of new devices can lead to loss of access to television programs and information services important to your well-being and entertainment.

The most remote territories may also fall into what is considered a “ghost coverage” zone, where the DTV signal does not reach due to geographic obstacles or long distances. “They are the most affected, since they would be subject to the conditions provided by the gas stations and the installation of repeater antennas would be necessary,” explains Olivares.

The problem is not minor. Yes OK a study by the National Television Council (CNTV) It concludes that between 2009 and 2021, open television lost more than 570,000 viewers, but it remains the main source of information: around 72% of the population says they use it for these purposes. A figure even higher than that of social networks (70%).

The government’s promise is that this process will result in a national coverage of 98%, which “will be supported by more than 20,000 TVD kits”, says Olivares. You will have to be patient.

What are the advantages of TVD?

The transfer from analog to digital signal began ten years ago. Although it has been slower than expected, substantial positive changes are already being seen.

The fundamental difference between analog and digital television, explains technology journalist Martín Calderón, lies in the way the signal is transmitted. “Analogue television uses a continuous signal, susceptible to interference, which results in typical visual and auditory noise, and offers limited quality; “Digital television, on the other hand, uses a discrete signal which is more robust and allows for better picture and sound quality.”

This increase in quality goes hand in hand with the adaptation to the latest transmission technologies, such as high definition (HD), ultra high definition (UHD) and 4K, as well as digital audio of a more great clarity and depth, which allows access to “immersive” experiences.

“In addition, digital television allows more channels to be transmitted in the same radio space, which translates into a greater variety of options for the user,” adds Calderón. In fact, the regulations provide that each channel will have at least two signals, or even ten in some cases, as recently declared by the Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Juan Carlos Muñoz.

TV – Control – streaming – digital

“It already happens that the main station is on one number, but they also have a ‘9.1’ or ‘9.2’ type signal dedicated to news, children’s television, sports, culture or more”, lands Calderon. You can view the list of TVD channels available in each region in this link .

Cristian Olivares adds that other innovations that enable digital technology are the ability to integrate interactive content — like accessing advertising or realizing votes in real time — in our channels, as well as subtitles, “improving the experience of users with television”. Even if this can surely be exploited in the medium or long term.

How do you know if your TV is compatible with digital signal?

Since the publication of Law 20.750 in May 2014, televisions launched on the market since then have mostly had an integrated digital tuner or decoder, compatible with the DVB-T2 standard, which is the one that governs Chile.

The new rule also establishes that starting October 2024, every TV sold will have to include a free digital signal antenna. “This will make the transition to digital TV even easier,” says Isidora Muñoz, Home Entertainment brand manager at LG Electronics.

However, models manufactured and marketed before 2014 may not have tuners or decoders and therefore do not have access to digital television. At least on my own.

This is the case for CRT (cathode ray tube) type televisions or certain plasma and LCD screens. “They may not be able to receive digital signals natively, because these models were designed primarily to receive analog signals,” explains Muñoz.

A simple way to know whether the television you have at home is compatible or not with the new technology is to check if it carries the Digital Terrestrial Television label: a colorful logo in the shape of a television with a light blue frame, on which screen It reads TVD and at the top you can see a big orange check.

Muñoz explains that another method of testing is to connect an antenna to the TV and scan for open channels, a function that is performed from the equipment’s settings or configuration. “If it recognizes the channels, you are ready to enjoy digital TV,” explains the LG representative.

You can also consult the list of televisions with integrated decoder, available in the official website of Digital Terrestrial Television .

How to watch open television with digital signal?

There are three main ways to access Open TV:


If the television is a cathode ray tube, you will need to purchase a digital signal decoder as well as an antenna (UHF or VHF). Something that will also be necessary for those who have an LCD or LED screen without a built-in digital tuner.

What is a digital signal decoder? This is a device that functions as a tuner capable of decoding the digital signal and transforming it into analog so that it can be viewed on a conventional television.

What to look for when buying a set-top box? The main thing is that these support ISDB-Tb, the standard by which TVD works. “It is important to recognize the types of output connectors you have, to assess their compatibility with the TV you have at home, for example RCA or HDMI,” explains Cristian Olivares. There are even “smart” models, that is to say “capable of connecting to the Internet and having, for example, Netflix, YouTube or other applications, but this is not essential”, explains Martin Calderon.

Micron 2600 Full HD digital TV decoder


Now, if the LCD, LED or Smart TV you have at home has an integrated digital tuner, you will just need to purchase a UHF or VHF type antenna capable of capturing the digital signal.


If you have pay or cable television, as is the case in 54% of households nationwide, according to Subtel The transition to DTV is done automatically through your cable operator’s systems.

Gabriel Venegas warns that due to the high demand caused by the analog outage, “it is advisable to quote the prices of decoders and antennas on the market to get the best possible deal.”

Other alternatives

If you don’t have a television at home, but want to access digital television, it is possible to do so through your computer. To do this, it is necessary to install an ISDB-Tb tuner card, which must be connected directly to the UHF antenna cable.

It may be easier to purchase a USB digital TV receiver, which allows you to turn a laptop into a portable TV. This allows access to HD, SD and One-Seg signals, in addition to incorporating an antenna with magnetic support to be installed on a vehicle.

Source: Latercera

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share article

Latest articles


Subscribe to stay updated.