Thursday, June 11, 2009

Digital deadline draws near

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - At 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 12, WKRN-TV will stop analog broadcast service and transmit only in digital. Consumers who do not subscribe to pay television services, like cable, and have older, analog televisions will need to have converter boxes attached to their televisions in order to continue receiving over-the-air television programming. They may also need to adjust or upgrade their television set-top antennas. The transition to digital television will usher in advanced broadcasting technology that will transform consumers' television viewing experiences. Digital television allows for better picture and sound quality as well as more channel and program options. DTV will also free spectrum for popular advanced mobile communications services such as wireless broadband and more importantly, benefit society by freeing airwaves for use by first responders. In Nashville, Nielsen estimates 101,710 households, or 10% of the media market, rely entirely on over-the-air broadcasts. As of May 24, an estimated 1.96% of Nashville households weren't ready for the DTV transition. Customers with questions can contact News 2 directly at 615-369-7280 or send an email to Customers can also visit one of the following walk-in centers in the Nashville-area: YMCA, 424 Church St., Nashville, TN 37216 Magness Potter CC, 611 Stockell St., Nashville, TN 37211 E.S. Rose Community Center, 1000 Edgehill Ave., Nashville, TN 37210 South Inglewood Community Center, 1610 Rebecca Ave., Nashville, TN 37217 St. Edward Community Center, 188 Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37206 Woodmont Baptist, 2100 Woodmont Blvd, Nashville, TN 37215 The following local companies are offering free, in-home installation of coverter boxes: R & D Training & Technical Service, Inc. - 1-866-202-4596 Visionary Investments LLC - 1-866-531-9265 Hernandez Consulting LLC - 1-800-310-8515 Installs Inc., LLC - 1-800-582-4250 Green Planet Construction - 1-888-508-1115 IAFC - 1-888-225-5322 Here's what consumers should know: Analog television sets will NOT be obsolete after June 12. Consumers can continue to use their analog TV sets after the transition to DTV is completed on June 12. All they need to do is install a digital-to-analog converter box to each analog TV or connect them to a subscription service, such as cable or satellite TV. Consumers also must have a good antenna with rabbit ears, or the equivalent for channels 2-13 (VHF), and a loop, bow-tie or equivalent, to get channels 14-51 (UHF). Analog VCRs connected to a converter box can continue to record programs. Gaming consoles, DVD players and other devices that don't rely on a broadcast signal will work without a converter box. Some viewers may have trouble receiving some digital channels after June 12. Some stations will change their coverage area in the digital transition. Watch for station announcements: any station that loses 2% or more of the households it served in analog must notify viewers. In addition, if consumers are missing a few channels, they should conduct a channel scan, adjust their antenna and check the signal strength meter on their converter box. If channels are still missing, they may be able to add them individually by entering the number on the converter box remote. For more information regarding reception in your area, visit Converter box coupons WILL be available after June 12, while supplies last. Consumers will have until July 31, while supplies last, to order coupons by calling 1-888-DTV-2009; however, it is too late to order coupons and receive them in time for the June 12 transition. Coupons will expire 90 days after they are mailed, so consumers must act quickly to redeem them. Consumers should call ahead to confirm availability of coupon-eligible converter boxes on the day they plan to shop. Free technical assistance WILL still be available after June 12. The FCC will continue to provide assistance after June 12 to anyone that still needs it. In some areas the FCC is offering free in-home installation services and walk-in centers to consumers who need technical assistance until the end of June, and in some locations, through July. The FCC's call center, 1-888-CALL FCC, will continue to be available to all consumers. Installing a converter box will NOT provide high-definition television (HDTV) on your analog TV. Installing a digital-to-analog converter box will not convert an analog TV to high-definition. HDTV is a digital broadcast format that provides the highest resolution and picture quality of all digital broadcast formats. Consumers may receive free, over-the-air HDTV programming if they have an HDTV compatible digital television but even those who use an analog TV and converter box will usually find that their picture is better than it was with the old analog signal. The DTV transition will NOT affect TV sets that are connected to most pay TV services. Any television set that is connected to a paid cable or satellite service will NOT be affected by the transition. The DTV transition applies only to full-power broadcast television stations or stations that use the public airwaves to transmit their programming to viewers through a broadcast antenna. Satellite customers, who receive local stations through an antenna rather than by satellite, may be affected. Check with your provider. You do NOT need a special "digital ready" or "HD ready" antenna to receive DTV signals. DTV signals do not require a special antenna. Over-the-air DTV signals require the same type of antenna (i.e., rooftop, set-top) as analog signals. With digital, however, it's critical that antennas receive both VHF and UHF signals. And consumers should check their existing rooftop antennas for wear-and-tear caused by wind and weather and loose connections that could degrade performance. Weak reception that causes "snow" in analog could result in no digital picture at all: the digital "cliff effect." The Federal Communications Commission wants to ensure that consumers nationwide are ready for the switch. Chairman Michael Copps said the FCC is "devoting tremendous resources in these final days to ease the transition and ensure that those with analog sets have the assistance they need to reap the benefits of the digital age." The FCC is making free house calls to help consumers set up their DTV converter box, adjust their indoor antenna and/or hook up their analog VCR to a converter. Most services will be provided by contractors hired by the FCC, who are prepared to visit around 200,000 homes over the course of the transition if needed. Customers in need of assistance can call 1-888-DTV-2009 or visit one of the following Web sites: Converter Box Coupon Program What Every Consumer Should Know WKRN.COM: All About DTV The Federal Communications Commission

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