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MSTV, NAB Help Broadcasters Ensure DBS, Cable Coordination Post Transition

Most TV viewers receive local TV stations by cable or satellite. On Feb. 18, 2008, will these viewers see your station? Will the picture format be correct? Will the right program streams appear?

If you haven’t responded to information requests from cable TV operators and DBS providers, it is possible your signal may not be on their system after analog is shut down. Stations changing DTV channels after the analog shutdown are especially vulnerable to losing cable and satellite service.

The satellite operators DirecTV and Dish Network are already switching their headends from analog and fiber feeds to off-air DTV reception. The large number of headends and a limited number of technicians required them to start switching headends earlier this year. If the DBS operators do not know a station is changing DTV channels or a station requests the headend stay on the analog channel, the station may be off the satellite for days or weeks after the Feb.17 full-power analog shut-off.

Fortunately, the Association for Maximum Service Television and the NAB are working with cable associations and satellite providers to ease the transition. Last week they held a Web conference to discuss the satellite transition. MSTV has also created forms stations can send to cable and satellite operators to alert them to DTV transition plans.

For a recording of last week’s Web conference, copies of the DTV survey forms and additional information on the DTV transition and its impact on cable and satellite providers, visit MSTV.

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.