Tuesday, February 17, 2009

News: Transition to all-digital television begins today

Today, hundreds of television stations across the country will switch from analog to digital transmission even though Congress voted to delay the deadline for the conversion until June.

As of today, more than 600 stations across the country will transmit only digital signals to begin a new era in television.

Today had been the deadline for all full power stations to turn off analog, and turn on digital but Congress voted to give stations a choice to delay that deadline until June 12.

Older TV's that use an antenna will need a converter to continue getting a picture with digital transmission. Millions of people are still on a waiting list for coupons in a government program to help offset the cost of those converters.

Markets that decided to move ahead with the conversion had to agree that at least one station in the market would transmit an analog signal for news, public affairs, and emergency alerts for 60 days after the switch.

Mark Wigfield of the FCC says "we basically said unless one of you agree to stay on in analog you can't go."

That way, consumers will have more time to get ready for the switch.

In markets that have converted, consumers will still be able to rely on TV for warnings.

Tim Morrissey, General Manager of WCNC, says "I think we're hoping for a seamless transition."

Hoping, watching and waiting as analog becomes history.

People who use cable or satellite TV don't have to do anything to prepare for the conversion from analog to digital. Television stations can make the switch anytime between now and the June 12th deadline but first need approval from the FCC.

Source: NBC

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course, you can forget the little things, like emergency alerts, that are important public safety features of TV. It is a good thing that one is required to remain active for this purpose, but would the extra 60 days for that one station be enough?

From looking at the list of stations I concluded that in most cases the stations shutting down were PBS and IND stations or 'the entire market' was closing down. Rarely did I find a lone ABC, CBS, etc. in a market shut down. There wasn't any direct correlation with market size. It seemed like markets of all sizes collectively decided to shut down today.

I'm personally of the opinion that the delay is pointless and will only bring down the number of people who aren't ready by half. The fact that they are drawing funds from expiring coupons says a lot. You're never going to get everyone. Sometimes you just have to pull the plug for people to wake up and take action.

Plus it completely ruins this day (well, yesterday) in history for me. I was planning on saying 'the day after my birthday in 2009 ...' to my grand-kids. So much for that.