No, your existing television set will still continue to receive the current analog standard definition television transmission. However, you will not be able to receive the new digital high definition transmission. If you tune to a digital high definition station with your existing set, you will see a series of black and white dots or snow.
In order to receive High Definition Television, you must purchase a new DTV receiver, which are now available at most consumer electronics dealers. The new televisions will be able to receive existing analog television transmissions as well as the new High Definition transmission. CBS will be simulcasting the same program on two different channels. For example, in New York City, CBS will continue to broadcast on Channel 2, our current analog television station, and will broadcast digital High Definition Television on Channel 56. Alternately, the new digital television channel can be selected by entering 2.1. This new channel numbering system was designed to simplify tuning to the new digital channel. The WCBS-TV analog channel can still be selected by entering channel number 2.0. If CBS were broadcasting multiple standard definition programs rather than HDTV, then they would be numbered 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4.
The federal government has loaned each existing broadcaster an additional television channel to permit them to transition to the new system. As part of the balanced budget amendment, the FCC will auction the existing analog television channels in September 2002. However, the existing analog broadcast channels will continue past this auction date. The FCC will review the penetration of new digital television receiver sales every two years. If penetration of HDTV is progressing as anticipated and the vast majority of the public has converted to digital television, then the analog standard definition stations are targeted to go off the air in 2006. However, CBS believes that this date will continue to be pushed back for many years.