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A "freezing" picture sounds like something other than your television. Do you have a cable box or satellite box attached? They fail sometimes and need to be replaced. (You have an analog TV and "freezing" is a digital problem.)
The bang test is a good indication that there are poor solder connections inside the set. If you can solder and are comfortable working inside the set where potentially dangerous high voltages exist even when unplugged, you can fix this yourself. Look at the main board and resolder any joints that appear grainy or have rings. That should resolve the problem. If not, see if there are any changes in the symptoms and update this.
The changes that you mention will only effect you if you use either rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna. The over-air broadcast signals are being changed from analog to digital. If you have cable or satelite service, there will be no change.
NTSC is the (analog) standard passing into history in Feb. '09 and ATSC is the new digital standard being used afterward for over-the-air (reception by antenna) broadcasts.
This changeover affects only the broadcast channels and if you have cable or satellite reception the changeover will happen whenever they find they can't charge their captive audience such a high premium for HD.
I found no evidence that your set is ATSC ready so if you are receiving your signal by antenna, you need to scurry about and buy a converter for your set.
Make sure the one you buy is on the list of 'approved' models to which you can apply the $40 coupon(s).
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