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Master Antenna System Problems Could Cloud DTV Transition

Readers may remember my concern about the impact of the analog shutdown on apartment houses and other multi-tenant dwellings such as hospitals and hotels that rely on off-air TV reception. The New York Times recognized the problem in the May 9th article Digital TV Poses A Challenge for Some Apartment Buildings. Jake Mooney wrote about apartment house DTV reception problems in this article and another in the Times Sunday’s City section.

Mooney notes that many buildings only have VHF antennas on their roof, while “most of the new digital channels will be broadcast in the UHF range.” In reality, in NYC several stations currently broadcasting on UHF DTV channels will move their DTV to their old analog VHF channel on Feb. 18, 2009 after analog TV is shutdown. This will further complicate reception, as people receiving the UHF DTV signals now on UHF antennas may not be able to receive the much lower power VHF signals when these stations change channels unless they have a VHF antenna.

For a look at how TV viewers in NYC are approaching the DTV transition, read Digital TV Poses A Challenge for Some Apartment Buildings. Don’t ignore the comments on the blog!

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Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.