The Digital television switch…it’s not far away

For most of the nation (the U.S.), the digital switchover is just a bit over three months away.  For most people, the day will be just another day since they have: cable TV, satellite or recent vintage digital television set or converter box.  There are those, however, who have none of the above and,  unless they live near a low power station that is not covered in the switch, the televisions they use will no longer receive broadcasts.  They will see static instead of a nice, clear transmission.

Wilmington, North Carolina, has already made the switch and other cities and one state, Hawaii, will make the switch sooner.  Wilmington had some issues, but mostly due to some of the area stations’ signal not reaching as many as the analog signal had.  Enter a cell like solution approved by the F.C.C.

This cell system, called Distributed Transmission System, is designed to provide service in the traditional broadcast range where the digital signal would trail off.  It works by putting an array of low powered digital transmitters in the broadcast region.

The F.C.C. issued orders this past Friday to govern the use of the DTS by digital broadcasters.  Low power digital stations can also use the system.  Not all low power stations are required to make the transition.  The order does not force any station to use the system, but does lay out the rules for using the system.  The most important part of the rule prohibits stations from targeting a specific area, they would have to provide service to all who would have otherwise received the analog signal.

February 17 is coming up fast.  Better get that converter or new set before then or you’ll go dark…unless you have cable, satellite or already have a digital set.

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