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RISMEDIA, April 17, 2009-As a consumer, you may already understand the upcoming conversion from analog to digital television. However, as a Realtor, you may not think that it has much relevance-that’s where you would be wrong.

“Understanding the digital conversion and how it may affect your real estate business is key,” says Roger Heuring, group manager, National Marketing with Verizon. “Listing a home that is digital-ready, such as a home already equipped with Verizon FiOS, is a tremendous selling point and one that should not be overlooked-especially in a buyer’s market like the one we’re currently in.”

The switch from analog to digital broadcast television-referred to as the digital TV (DTV) transition-will free up parts of the valuable broadcast spectrum for public safety communications, such as police, fire departments, and rescue squads, creating a safer living environment. Also, some of the spectrum will be auctioned to companies that will be able to provide consumers with more advanced wireless services (such as wireless broadband).

Consumers also benefit because digital broadcasting allows stations to offer improved picture and sound quality, and digital is much more efficient than analog. “Upgrading a home to be digital-ready is a smart investment-even if you are a new homeowner,” says Heuring. “The switch to fiber optics and digital television is a smart move for any homeowner. The numbers don’t lie-a home equipped with FiOS is considered a higher value than a comparable property without it.”

For example, rather than being limited to providing one analog program, a broadcaster is able to offer a super sharp, “high-definition” (HD) digital program or multiple “standard definition” (SD) digital programs simultaneously through a process called “multicasting.” Multicasting allows broadcast stations to offer several channels of digital programming at the same time, using the same amount of spectrum required for one analog program. This means more programming choices for viewers.

If your home sellers have one or more televisions that receive free, over-the-air television programming (with a rooftop antenna or “rabbit ears” on the TV), the type of TV they own is very important. A digital television (a TV with an internal digital tuner) will allow them to continue to watch free, over-the-air programming.

However, if they have an analog television, they will need a digital-to-analog converter box to continue to watch broadcast television on that set.

Congress has set June 12 as the final deadline for terminating analog broadcasts. Under the law, on Feb. 17, some full-power broadcast television stations in the U.S. were permitted to stop broadcasting on analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital. The remaining stations may stop broadcasting analog sometime between March 14 and June 12.

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