New York City prepares for DTV

Though we still don’t know exactly when the digital transition will happen, New York City is preparing. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and a group of city officials recently joined New York City area television news anchors to discuss how the city’s residents can prepare for the transition.

While the majority of New Yorkers use cable or satellite television providers and will not be affected, approximately 300,000 New York City households receive television signals exclusively over-the-air. Bloomberg said that by dialing 311 on a phone, New Yorkers can get city help on the conversion.

“Many of the households requesting coupons for converter boxes are low income, seniors, and primarily speak a language other than English,” said city council member Gale Brewer.

In addition to calling 311, New Yorkers can call 888-DTV-2009 to the federal government’s hotline. The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications has educated 311 call takers on how to answer questions about digital television and has set up a direct transfer to the federal helpline.

The agency continues to post updates and reminders about the digital conversion on the city’s homepage at and on NYC-TV television channels. The city’s community affairs unit has distributed information to community boards throughout the city and is helping coordinate public forums in different neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.

The Department for the Aging has been working with senior centers, case management agencies, and groups like Meals-on-Wheels to alert seniors about the digital transition.