Delivering Digital Transition Answers - Welcome!
July 14, 2008 11:48 AM
Hi everyone and welcome to the newest blog here at TV Week. My name is Mary Robinson and my focus will be all things having to do with the transition from analog to digital broadcasting here in the U.S. The good and the bad. The pretty and the ugly.
What I would like from you, our readers, is feedback on how the transition to digital is going for you. You are the ones that are impacted by the switch-over. Are you satisfied with the reception and the number of channels you are getting now on digital as opposed to what you were getting before on with analog?
Are you getting more programming choices with the sub-channels, or are you pulling your hair out because you used to get 7 analog channels and now you only get 2 with digital, and on one of them, you get the dreaded frozen pixels and "no signal" icon as much as it locks in?
Or maybe no reception at all with digital? I want to know how it is going out there in the real world.
What we will do here, if we can, is try to solve any reception problems that you may be having. We will try to work together to try to get as many people as possible on board before the mandated powering off of the analog transmitters on Feb. 17, 2009. As I write this, there are only about 200 days until that happens.
So where do we stand now in relation to the shut down of analog broadcasting? According to the FCC, at the end of May, there were 1,034 full-power TV stations that had fully constructed their final DTV facilities, and there were still 778 that were still in some stage of construction, some of them on temporary channels.
Many of the those 778 stations that are still building will not be able to start construction on their final DTV channels until after ending their analog broadcasts, especially if they are going to revert to their original analog channel.
The good news is that the freeze on maximization of signal has been lifted by the FCC. So that means if you are in a fringe area of a fully constructed digital broadcast station, your chances of receiving the signal may get a bit better after the increase to the maximum authorized power by the FCC.
The bad news is that it could take up to 3 years for that to happen after the applications are approved. This is going to be a tumultuous period for television broadcasting, the likes of which we have never encountered before.
I will try to cover individual television markets, large and small, as we plod our way through the muck and mud of the transition to digital only broadcasting. But remember, even after the transition to digital by the full power stations next year, we will still have the transition to digital of the 7,122 low power, translator, and Class A stations to deal with in the future...