And we finally have the government mandated switch to digital TV.
Digital TV switch starts of smoothly
by Richard Ruelas - Jun. 12, 2009 08:40 AM
The Arizona Republic
Viewers seemed to be taking the switch to digital television signals in stride Friday morning.
KTVK-TV, Channel 3, one of the first to turn off programming on the traditional signal, had steady calls to a phone bank, receiving about 60 calls by 7:30 a.m., said Jim Cole, the station's director of technology.
Most of those calls were from viewers with questions about their new equipment, he said. Only a few were from viewers who were completely unprepared. Art Brooks, the director of the Arizona Broadcasters Association, said that KNXV-TV, Channel 15, which switched at 12:01 a.m., received nine calls to its station overnight.
Still, broadcasters braced for more calls from viewers who might lose all television reception by the end of Friday. Some stations were setting up round-the-clock weekend phone banks to take calls from those who lose reception, whom they fear might be the viewers just waking up, and least equipped to fix the situation.
Stations were scheduled to shut off analog signals at various times throughout Friday. KSAZ-TV, Channel 10, made the switch at around 8:30 a.m. KPNX-TV, Channel 12, was set to switch around 10:30 p.m.
After the switch, stations would broadcast programming only on digital signals.
Older television sets are unable to receive the new digital signals. Those sets need to be hooked up to cable or satellite or be attached to a digital-converter box.
Broadcasters have spent months warning viewers about the switch but worry that many who aren't technology-savvy won't be prepared.
John Misner, the general manager of KPNX-TV, Channel 12, said he hoped people would check in on neighbors and relatives who might not be technically savvy. Misner said he found himself on the roof of a 90-year-old neighbor's house recently, adjusting an antenna.
Television stations will shut off analog signals today. Televisions without a digital tuner, called an ATSC tuner, will not receive programming.
Most sets sold after March 2007 come equipped with a digital tuner, so they're ready for today's change. Those older than that probably don't have one.
Will it affect me?
If you are hooked up to cable or a satellite service, you don't need to do anything. Those companies will take the necessary steps and transmit the correct signals to you.
This only affects those who watch television using antennas, either rabbit ears indoors or a rooftop antenna outdoors.
The need to take action will become obvious Friday. The only stations analog televisions will receive on Saturday will be Channels 3 and 5, and those will only be broadcasting information about the digital switch.
For a quick test, turn on your set and tune to Channels 3 or 5, stations that are running continuous warning messages. If you can only see a channel with the warning, your television is not ready.
What can I do?
You have three choices:
Subscribe to cable or satellite. It's the costliest option, but the easiest since equipment will be installed for you. It also might take a few days to schedule.
Buy a new television. All televisions sold now have a built-in digital tuner. Most will also offer a high-definition picture, taking advantage of the sharper images being broadcast for free.
Get a converter box. They are sold at most electronics stores. Most come complete with the necessary cable and are relatively easy to install.
Volunteers can show you how to hook up a converter box at an assistance center set up at Mesa Market Place Swap Meet, 10550 E. Baseline Road., today from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.