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Are you ready for DTV?

Posted September 17, 2008

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— WRAL-TV took part in a statewide test Wednesday night designed to help viewers figure out if they are ready for the digital TV transition.

By law, on Feb. 17, 2009, full-power television stations nationwide will stop using the old method of transmitting TV signals, known as analog, and begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format.

Last week, Wilmington became the first television market in the country to begin digital-only broadcasting.

Some people there had trouble with their converter boxes because they weren't programmed to the station's correct digital channel. For example, they were set on Channel 5 instead of 5.1.

Wednesday night, the rest of North Carolina took part in a short test designed to help viewers determine if they are ready.

People watching WRAL’s News at 6 found out if they need to make adjustments.

Those watching a TV that receives a digital signal were able to see the newscast. However, those who only receive an analog signal saw a message letting them know their TV set is not digital ready.

The transition is being compared to the change from black-and-white television to color TV in the 1950s. TV stations have relied on analog signals for 65 years; digital TV provides a much sharper picture and better sound.

To find out more about the DTV transition, click here or call 1-888-CALL-FCC.

45 Comments

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  • Bendal1 Sep 18, 2008

    Even though I've got DirectTV, when they ran the DTV test I got the "you are not configured" screen. The ads DirectTV run say that their customers don't have to do anything when the signals switch, but if that's so, why did I get the "not configured" screen? None of the DTV-only channels I get are blocked, so what's the deal?

  • Commentor5 Sep 17, 2008

    I don't have a TV - how can I tell if it worked?

  • APPMAN Sep 17, 2008

    I've got TWC too and my picture has been darker since the test.

  • craziecrafter Sep 17, 2008

    Has anyone noticed after the DTV TEST was done that the background to your tv is darker? My husband and I noticed it. We are watching it on a Plasma TV with Time Warner Cable. I think I might have to adjust my brightness.

  • NormalGuy Sep 17, 2008

    Sorry, but I have a small complaint ... shouldn't someone have mentioned it would be on Wednesday night BEFORE Wednesday noon?!

    Not everyone checks the WRAL web page every day ...

    Could the Moderators please pass this on to Management (Unless there is a better way for us to make suggesstions)? I thank you!!

  • scooperhsd Sep 17, 2008

    To add some more - if you can receive channels 11,17,28,and 50 in analog reasonably clearly right now without snow - you can probably receive most of the Raleigh/Durham TV stations in digital both now and after Feb17,2009. If you can't receive all of these - you probably will need to upgrade your antenna and install an outside VHF/UHF antenna pointing east of Garner.

  • scooperhsd Sep 17, 2008

    You all obviously have Internet access - if you are having issues getting DTV to work - please come to http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=147473 where we will help you.

  • sggoodri Sep 17, 2008

    "The DISH Network DTVPal TV Converter Box was originally called EchoStar. It originally was supposed to be $39.95, basically free (when used with $40 coupon). However, it's been marked up several times... around $70-75 dollars now.:

    http://www.tr40cra.com/ shows it for sale at the $40.

    Personally, I prefer my Zenith converter, similar to yours. I programmed my analog DVR to change the channels on it using an IR cable (like controlling an external satellite box) and now the system records HD programs as widescreen standard definition.

  • sggoodri Sep 17, 2008

    "Isn't this just another way cable companies are going to profit forcing people to either hook up with them or do without???"

    I don't know; I stopped watching analog cable in favor of free HDTV off my antenna after I bought a digital TV. I prefer to have a few nice free HD stations rather than paying through the nose for cable.

  • sggoodri Sep 17, 2008

    To make my own UHF bowtie antennas I cut up some coathangers to make two "V" shapes that are 7 inches long on each leg. I file the paint off the wire at the point of the V. I then drill two holes in a block of wood or plastic 1" apart. I affix the points of the "V" wires to the block using screws or bolts, and attach a cheap 300 to 75 ohm impedence matching transformer (aka "balun") to the screws, allowing me to run coax from the window to the TV.

    For greater sensitivity, you can cheaply build two or even four bowties this way and wire them in parallel together before the balun. Stack them vertically and make sure the wire spacing stays constant at 1". See the DIY antenna thread I posted earlier for details.

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