- Special Sections
- Public Notices
To the editor: Big changes are coming to broadcast television. At noon Sept. 8, all full-power broadcast television stations in the Wilmington-area, including Brunswick County, will stop broadcasting in analog and continue broadcasting in digital only.
This is known as the digital television (DTV) transition. Other parts of the nation will make the switch on Feb. 17, 2009.
The DTV transition will be an historic moment in the evolution of TV. Broadcast television stations can offer viewers improved picture and sound quality and new programming choices. Since digital is more efficient than analog, it allows stations to broadcast several programs at the same time. This means broadcasters can offer consumers more programming choices.
All-digital broadcasting also will allow the us to significantly improve public safety communications and will usher in a new era of advanced wireless services such as the widespread deployment of wireless broadband.
What Does This Mean To You?
Not everyone will be affected by the DTV transition in the same way:
If you receive your local broadcast stations through a paid provider such as cable or satellite TV, you are already prepared for the DTV transition.
However, if you have an analog TV that does not receive local broadcast stations through your paid provider, you will need a “digital-to-analog converter box” to watch digital broadcasts.
If you have a digital TV (a TV with a built-in digital tuner), you are ready for the switch. If your TV is more than 10 years old, it probably is not digital. If it is less than 10 years old, check your owner’s manual or ask the manufacturer.
If you have an analog TV with a rooftop antenna or “rabbit ears” on your set, you will not be able to watch full-power broadcast stations after noon Sept. 8 unless you get a digital-to-analog converter box.
A digital-to-analog converter box is a device that will convert the digital signals from a broadcast station to an analog format that your analog television can display. Also, if your existing antenna receives a good quality signal on VHF and UHF analog channels, it should work for receiving digital channels as well. This is true both for an analog TV connected to a digital-to-analog converter box and for a digital television.
Digital-to-analog converter boxes are available in stores that sell electronics equipment and through various online mail order retailers. The cost for a basic converter box is between $40 and $70. This is a one-time cost.
The federal government is offering each U.S. household up to two $40 coupons that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes.
The “TV Converter Box Coupon Program” is being administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is part of the Department of Commerce. The number of coupons available is limited and applications for coupons must be received by March 31, 2009. Please note that these coupons will expire 90 days after mailing.
Coupons may be requested in one of four ways:
Call the Coupon Program’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 388-2009, TTY: (877) 530-2634 (English TTY) or (866) 495-1161 (Spanish TTY);
Apply online at www.dtv2009.gov;
Mail a coupon application to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000; or
Fax an application to (877) 388-4632.
For more information on the DTV transition, call the us at (888) 225-5322 or by TTY at (888) 835-5322, e-mail us at DTVinfo@fcc.gov, or visit our DTV Web site at www.dtv.gov, where consumer publications, fact sheets, and advisories on closed captioning and other DTV transition topics are available.
FCC publications and other informational materials are also available in several foreign languages, in large print, in Braille, and on audio disc.
The FCC is committed to ensuring Americans are aware of the DTV transition and what they need to do to be ready for the end of analog full-power television station broadcasting in February 2009.
With some preparation, all Americans can enjoy the benefits of the DTV transition.