Without a coordinated transition from analog to digital transmission, many broadcasters may find their over-the-air signals subjected to harmful interference from stations that transition first.
That was a key message delivered last month during a special webcast hosted by Association for Maximum Service Television president David Donovan. While Feb. 17, 2009, is the deadline for the completion of the DTV transition, it is not a mandated date on which all broadcasters must make the switch. They are only required to make the transition by then.
"Some stations tired of paying two power bills may choose to discontinue their analog service early and transmit on their final, assigned DTV channel at full power before the deadline," he said during an interview after the March 12 webcast.
During the webcast, Donovan pointed out the broad scope of the interference that will be caused to television transmission if stations don't make the transition in a coordinated fashion.
Thirty-five percent of stations, about 600 in all, will be changing channels. Twenty-eight percent will move from temporary DTV channels back to their old analog channel assignment with digital transmission. Six percent will move to a new DTV channel.
If the 600 don't move to their final DTV channel assignments simultaneously, 181 of those stations will cause interference to about 300 other television broadcasters. The same is true of the approximately 500 stations that will move back to their old analog channel assignments. If they don't do so simultaneously, 72 will cause interference to 95 existing neighboring digital and analog stations.
The 109 stations getting new channels will cause interference to 205 existing neighboring channels if all broadcasters don't move at the same time.
According to Donovan, MSTV is launching a "DTV: The Rubber Meets the Road" tour to help broadcasters make a successful, coordinated transition to DTV.
A replay of the MSTV webcast can be viewed by visiting: www.mstv.org.