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The switch from NTSC to ATSC (Analog TV to DTV)

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:04 am
by Eric Adler
Well, September is upon as and on Monday (September 8, 2008), Wilmington, North Carolina (DMA #135 for 2008, #134 for 2009) will be the first market in the country to "switch" off their analog transmitters. I will be monitoring information about the results of this switch and posting updates here. I would appreciate it if anyone in the market (or elsewhere) who hears of any issues or successes would post information in this thread as well; I will copy any information to this post so that it is easily read without having to dig through discussion.

Wilmington will still go through with the switch even with Tropical Storm Hanna in proximity (AP): FCC plans to go through with DTV test in NC

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All times Eastern (UTC-0400 EDT, UTC-0500 EST)
All the news so far is about "plans to switch". Noon is the time to watch for (8-Sep-2008 07:50).

More details on the press conference are available here (pdf). (8-Sep-2008 07:58).

At the FCC's website, you can watch a streaming press conference (prerecorded 10:30am - 12:15pm, not yet available at the time of this posting). (8-Sep-2008 12:30pm)

According to this LA Times article, "Andrea Good, fire and life safety educator for the city of Wilmington, said she had received about 15 calls [before 2pm] [from/about people unable to watch TV]." (8-Sep-2008 5:12pm)
Also note (same article) that "the FCC contracted with fire departments and other organizations in the Wilmington area to assist people who have difficulty obtaining or installing digital-to-analog converter boxes." I doubt this will be done for the rest of the country, and with the extra special treatment that Wilmington got, there were still issues. (8-Sep-2008 6:31pm)

According to this ars technica article, the biggest problem thus far is consumers not realizing that they need to set their sets to a certain channel and use the converter box to tune, with the second-biggest problem being not putting batteries in the remote control. Other sources are citing not having the right antenna or having poor antenna positioning as being the largest problem. WECT, where Dan Ullmer, a key engineer in the switch, is Chief Engineer, is running a story post-transition in an attempt to help more viewers.

Digi transition

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:27 pm
by DeepFuture
Hello Eric. Just jumped on board to keep track of anything you come across about the Wilmington venture (or any other for that matter). Looking forward to how folx are doing. I work down in Florida in the Orlando market. We had a fairly successful test awhile back, only real issues were with a few particular cable companies in the market not being quite ready i believe.

One issue that should be brought up are the amount of viewers who rely on battery operated analog sets when we have power outages, hurricane or tornado or other type of storm related activity. I don't know, but I am not sure if much thought about that was given in the transition planning (considering all the converters are power driven as far as I know.)

Anyway, nice to see the forum and the next few months should hopefully be interesting but hopefully not difficult.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:56 am
by Eric Adler
I have some more information that I planned on posting, but I don't have it in a form ready to post and after some disaster recovery today, I don't have time, maybe tomorrow afternoon it will go up. Suffice it to say, I personally don't think we will ever be "ready", but we're going to end up diving head-first into this thing. I am thinking, however, that stations who have both analog and digital broadcasts pre-transition may be helped if they cut a week out of analog programming and throw up a slide that explains the switch for anyone not paying attention (and tell the Cable/DBS co.s that they're doing this), as that seems to have been what generated the calls in Wilmington.

another orlando market test

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:31 pm
by DeepFuture
There is scheduled to be another Orlando market test for Digi readiness on Monday the 15th at 7:59PM. Wkmg the cbs has been promoting it. There was a test quite a while back that was somewhat predictable, the main losers were some of the smaller community cables and Comcast customers, hopefully some things have been done since to help those previously affected. we shall see......

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:14 pm
by Eric Adler
Good luck with your test. Hopefully all of those cable issues are worked out. I have added some more information to the top post.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 1:43 am
by tons
Well, my main PC and my server both died last Saturday. I just got my main PC back up yesterday. Anyway, Video Production Support has launched the DTV blog, for writing about personal experiences with the DTV transition, mostly from the consumer side.

If you want to write on this blog or want your blog tied in via RSS (or this tied into yours via RSS), please send a private message or an e-mail to Eric Adler via these forums.