President Laura Chinchilla signed a decree Tuesday that commits the country to adopt digital television in 2017.
That is if something else does not replace television sets.
The decree has minimal impact on those using a television cable service. These services already have a digital signal. Analog television sets can be set up with a translator box to handle digital.
The president said that the country would take its cues from Brazil and Japan which already are undergoing the transformation.
She also empaneled a committee to establish policies during the transformation.
Many digital sets already have been sold in the country, and newer computer monitors can handle a digital signal.
Most affected will be those viewers who receive a signal over the air.