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Mary Robinson is all about real-world information on the switch to digital television signals. The success of the DTV switch will depend on regular folks understanding new technology and getting it running in their homes. Ms. Robinson is weighing in on those nitty-gritty details, sharing her enthusiasm for TV-signal technology with those who are less technically inclined. She’s developed an expertise through years of hands-on experimentation, pulling in signals from the rooftop of her Texas home. Now she’s a resource for consumers struggling with the digital switch. We discovered Mary right here on TVWeek.com, where she reliably dispensed information in the comments section of this story, First Digital TV Converter Box Wins Government Approval about the digital switch. Let’s keep the conversation rolling!

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Digital Transition Answers



FCC Unveils DTV Switch Guidelines for Stations

February 23, 2009 1:16 PM

For those television stations that did not end analog broadcasting on Feb. 17, 2009, the FCC has set up the criteria under which stations may elect to continue their analog signals until the end of the extension period on June 12, 2009, or elect a date sooner than that if they desire.

On March 17, 2009 stations have to notify the FCC of their intentions of when they will cease analog broadcasts. This will be a binding notice, and cannot be changed once the election has been made by the station, unless there is a catastrophic transmitter or equipment failure or a natural disaster of some sort.

The earliest that a station may end analog broadcasts at this time is April 16. This is 30 days from the March 17 notification date, which would give the FCC 30 days notice, and allow the station to begin a 30 day campaign of announcements notifying the public of the intent to cease analog broadcasting which is required by the FCC before analog transmissions can end.

So it is status quo for the next few weeks as stations decide how to handle the final switch to digital only broadcasting.

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Comments (6)

Bill:

At least until the FCC next decides that say, 2% of the public is too much and delays the date yet again.

mary... the cat lady:

SSSssshhhhhh! Don't give 'em any ideas, OK?

EmmGee-Ohio:

I'm starting to notice something... the main network stations are not changing, favoring current ratings. However, there could be a new winkle in the switching process.... The FCC is upping power to stations that are requesting it. Take the following, in the Detroit DTV market:

WKBD 14 (analog "CW50"): they are 58kw in power currently. They have been awarded a CPMOD for 180kw.

WXYZ 41 (analog "Seven"): They are broadcasting at 770kw, but have been CP approved for 1000Kw.

Now lets get away for 1's and 4's to show:

WPXD (analog "ion 31"): They are allotted to broadcast at 48kw, but have been approved to go to 184kw.

Yes you could have noticed 3+1=4, contrary to the above getting away from 1's and 4's.)


Remember, The FCC said there could be no changes, on the same frequencies, but there story is quickly changing. The DTV power allotments are definitely changing. DTV is going to get more power. Maybe it's partly due to the inefficient 8-vsb modulation, not being as good as they thought, since they only predicted outdoor antennas, during transmission... for thier calculations.

Just an observation. Maybe other markets will get the same power uppage. I hope so. It will assist more people to be able to get over the "cliff" and be able to receive indoor DTV signals, without artifacts.

mary... the cat lady:

I think what you are seeing is merely the maximization applications being filed and appoved.
The allotment rules always allowed for a future maximization of signals after the end of analog transmissions.
Because the analogs were still running, maximizstions could not occur due to interference. Now that they are gone in some markets, it is allowable.
I have found examples all over the country. The applications have been filed, and/or approved.
Locally, KFDM v6 (21) is running 74 KW at this time, and has an app pending, following the allotment rules, to go to 280 KW. They are limited to protect KLTL on an adjacent channel just a few mise to the east.
KBTV v4 (40) is running a meager 1.28 KW, but has a CP to go to 1,000 KW.
KITU v34 (33) has an effective radiated power of 500 KW, adn has a CP to go to 1,000 KW also.
The most interesting one that I have come across is KHOU in Houston. They will revert to channel 11 post transition. At this time they have a channel 11 CP for an authorized allotment ERP of 25 KW. They have filed an application to go to a whopping 85 KW on a stick that is 1,935 feet tall. this is outside the allottment allowed by the FCC, but their argument is that stations are allowed to file a maximization application that will meet the same coverage contours as the strongest station in the DMA. Thus, they argue, it would take that kind of power from that height to accomplish this. This is going to be a very interesting case to watch to see if it is approved.
The allotments are not changing, just the realization of the full potential is just now coming to light.
A lot of the approved maximization applications give a 3 year window to build out. It doesn't mean that it will take that long to see fruition, but stations have that long to plan for the financial aspects and to order the equipment that will be needed.
I don't recollect ever hearing the FCC state that there could be no changes on the same freqencies.

EmmGee-Ohio:

Yes, they did state that the power that the station were at, was it. There was not going to be any maximizing. It primarily was a question that I personally had, since 2 of our DTV stations are very low powered. They both said the same exact thing, and not related to one another.

This was just before my YouTube postings, I called around to see why I cannot get my locals. I asked if there was goi to be signal improvements, transmission and wattage. both WNWO and WLMB said no. they will have to stay at the same wattage, that there were to be no changes on anyone's wattages.

As for KHOU... that will finally give "Disney" a run for their money, if approved. I'm not really keen on Disney TV stations, since the DTV switch... and seeing what they have done to local TV news, by butchering it and dramatizing it. General Hospital, on the same "Disney" network, has less drama and more compelling look aheads and teases. Example, at 530 tonight, we were to learn how to "twitter," according to Sashem Brey, on WTOD-AM's newscast tease, for "13 action news." Now that's hard hitting news! It'll change my life, and save a life, knowing about Twitter.

NOTE: WTVG has been "de-tuned" from my boxes. see above reasons...then add "bill Spencer weather drama" to the mix. I just cannot stomach it. It's dumbed down drama and gossip, not a newscast.

Sorry, I don't like abc news or the local ABC news either. I'd love to see someone get the best of "Disney," once and for all! I hope KHOU gets the power upgrade!

mary... the cat lady:

In mid June of '08, the FCC opened the door and lifted the freeze on the filing of post transition maximization applications.

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