Phil Kurz /
06.18.2009 10:40 AM
421 stations complete DTV transition; viewers respond

Long anticipated, a bit maligned, and somewhat feared, Feb. 17, 2009, made its entrance into the television history book this week, although with significantly less trauma than originally envisioned.

At midnight on Feb. 17, 421 full-power TV stations in the United States joined the ranks of the 220 stations that had already completed their transition to the new era of digital television broadcasting. From coast to coast, analog transmitters were powered down, digital coverage maximized and DTV converter boxes were flipped on to saying goodbye to analog service from about a third of all full-power TV stations and welcome the dawn of DTV.

On Feb. 17, the FCC said its consumer helpline set up to handle DTV transition issues received 28,315 calls. However, since the DTV transition didn’t occur until midnight, the numbers do not reflect total calls since the 421 stations went dark with their analog service. In the two days preceding the transition, the commission’s consumer helpline received nearly 49,000 calls.

A common theme among many callers was finding DTV channels with their new converter boxes and DTVs. Many were unaware of the need to use the scan function to identify the presence of digital TV signals, the FCC said.

Many in Congress, at the commission and in the industry have repeatedly expressed concern over those in the public who remained unaware of the impending DTV transition deadline. In the weeks leading up to Feb. 17, that concern helped to move Congress to postpone the DTV transition deadline until June 12.

The latest numbers from The Nielsen Company, released Feb. 18, indicate 4.4 percent of U.S. household — more than 5 million — remained unprepared for the DTV transition.

Of particular concern to policy and lawmakers leading was the loss of television by vulnerable segments of society, including non-English speakers, the disabled and senior citizens. In response, the FCC in January awarded several million dollars to various community and special interest groups focused on the needs of these and similar groups to assist with the transition.

On Feb. 18, the AARP said it had launched a national DTV call center to offer personal assistance with the transition. The call center will operate Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST through March 31. Spanish-language operators are available, the group said.

Post New Comment
If you are already a member, or would like to receive email alerts as new comments are
made, please login or register.

Enter the code shown above:

(Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above
image, reload the page to generate a new one.)

No Comments Found

Tuesday 03:07 PM
WMUR-TV Says FAA Drone Rules Preclude ENG
The FAA’s current rules and proposed ban on flight over people, requirement of visual line of sight and restriction on nighttime flying, effectively prohibit broadcasters from using UAS for newsgathering. ~ WMUR-TV General Manager Jeff Bartlett

Manor Marketing /   Tuesday 10:32 AM
Cobham takes on American Ninja Warrior
Sue Sillitoe, White Noise PR /   Monday 05:38 AM
DPA Microphones Takes On A Downpour at the 2015 BRIT Awards

Featured Articles
Product News
Discover TV Technology