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WAKA-DT Allowed to Transmit on Two DTV Channels Simultaneously - TvTechnology

WAKA-DT Allowed to Transmit on Two DTV Channels Simultaneously

WAKA said the dual channel operation will facilitate cable and satellite carriage by providing the Channel 42 signal in advance of the transition.
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Broadcasters with post-transition DTV channels different from their pre-transition channels may have wondered if the FCC would let them fire up their new channels early while leaving their existing channel on air. For at least one station, WAKA-DT, the CBS affiliate in Selma, Ala., that answer is yes.

Last week the FCC issued Memorandum Opinion and Order FCC 08-267 (MO&O) allowing WAKA-DT to begin broadcasting on its post-transition DTV Channel 42 with reduced coverage approximately one month before the analog shut-off while continuing to transmit on its core-transition DTV Channel 55 until the Feb. 17, 2009 transition.

WAKA-DT said the dual channel operation will facilitate cable and satellite carriage by providing the Channel 42 signal in advance of the transition, allowing the carrier to make the necessary adjustments to its receive facilities to be able to receive the station's post-transition channel. While the FCC Third Periodic Review Report and Order did not address simultaneous operation on pre- and post-transition channels, the M&O recognized its value for WAKA-DT.

While building out a post-transition DTV facility, I had the opportunity to see how DTV set-top boxes and decoders responded to two DTV channels transmitting the same PSIP data with the same major and minor channel number. We found receivers displayed duplicate channels with the same major and minor channels numbers and reception was available on both channels. While this may be confusing to some viewers, if done on a full-time basis and combined with announcements indicating viewers should be receiving a duplicate channel and notifying them that one will go away after Feb. 17, it could help reduce problems post-transition when the analog and the original digital pre-transition channel disappear. It certainly should reduce the risk of problems with reception at cable and satellite headends.

I commend the FCC for allowing this dual channel operation and expect this will not be the last request they receive for it, although I doubt the circumstances will be as complex as those facing WAKA-DT.

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