How to Tell If My TV Has a Digital Tuner

by Jenny Parker, studioD

Since June 12, 2009, all over-the-air TV broadcasts in the United States have been digital. To watch TV with an antenna, you must own either a TV with a built-in digital tuner or an external digital converter box. If you purchased your TV after March 2007, it's likely that it contains a built-in digital tuner; however, because some stores sold older TVs from existing inventory after that date, it's not a guarantee. If you aren't sure, there are multiple ways to find out if your TV has a digital tuner.

Look on the front and back of your TV set for a sticker or marking that mentions a digital tuner. It may say something like "DTV," "HDTV," "ATSC," "Digital Tuner," "Digital Receiver," "Integrated Digital Tuner," or "Digital Tuner Built In."

Check the owner's manual that came with your TV if there's no indication of a digital tuner on the TV set itself. If there is a digital tuner, it should be listed in the manual along with the TV's other features.

Flip through the channels on your TV. Digital television contains sub-channels in addition to regular ones. For instance, in addition to a regular channel 5, a TV with a digital tuner may also display channels 5-1 and 5-2. If you're able to see these sub-channels, you can be sure that your TV has a digital tuner.

About the Author

Jenny Parker is a New England-based entrepreneur who has been writing since 1995. Parker writes extensively on creative self-employment and genealogy; her work has appeared on and She also has self-published several short story collections and is currently working on her first non-fiction book chronicling the history of her ancestors in America.

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