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Stations statewide hold DTV 'soft test' for viewers

Posted January 14, 2009
Updated January 16, 2009

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— Are you ready for the digital TV transition? North Carolinians had a chance to find out Thursday evening during a statewide DTV "soft test."

Stations ran two tests, one at 6:25 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m. Those who are DTV-ready saw programming as usual. Those who are not ready saw a message reminding them of the conversion, which happens Feb. 17.

By law, on that date, all 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.

Viewers who get their television signals over-the-air, via an antenna, will lose their picture if their TV is not digital-ready. Those who see a warning message during the soft test may either purchase a digital-ready TV, install a converter box or subscribe to cable or satellite service by Feb. 17.

Part of the goal of the test is to help viewers to know whether they need to take action.

The transition to DTV 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.


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  • dcatz Jan 16, 2009

    DirectTV and Dish Network are both still using analog feeds of WRAL. Hence why you got the message.

    Why they haven't updated to a digital feed by now is beyond me but they say it'll be done by the transition.

  • debf Jan 15, 2009

    At best, this test is confusing. I have digital TV, HD, Dish Network... and still, I got the message. Tried to call the number to see if there was additional info there... busy signal, or network busy message. Don't think the testers were ready for the response. :-)

  • phyllisw Jan 15, 2009

    I have DirecTV and still got the warning message that my TV wasn't ready for Digital conversion. I am sure this is going to confuse many viewers. I believe that this would mean that the test was a failure.

  • ignc73 Jan 15, 2009

    My solution: quit watching TV!

  • Red Jan 15, 2009

    Hundreds of dollars for a new antenna? Here's a clue. There's NO SUCH THING as a digital antenna. You don't have to buy a new one. You can spend hundreds if you really really want to. But I've seen digital reception on $10 Walmart rabbit ears. If you can make it here to complain you can make it over to antennaweb.org to find out what's best for you. If a $40 converter box and/or $30 antenna is too much of a financial burden on you, maybe you time isn't best spent in front of the tv anyway.

  • dvdcts Jan 15, 2009

    Why is there a LAW that makes every one change the way TV is broadcast? Why does it have to be HD only?

    Several of my friends have gotten the $2,000 range tv's. In my opinion they suck! Who wants to watch a show with little square blocks in everything? I can even see the pixels on the ones in the stores.

  • baracus Jan 15, 2009

    jesmyopinion, your reception may improve after the switch is complete because I think the digital transmissions are currently underpowered because they have to share space with the analog ones.

  • Just the facts mam Jan 15, 2009

    My reception with digital is terrible - hope they drop this idea for those of us who do not want to pay hundreds of dollars to get an outdoor antenna installed... Analog works fine (and better) for me!

  • inspector Jan 15, 2009

    Bubba says,"cerebral"? I want Frosted Flakes!!.

  • Leonardo Jan 14, 2009

    DeathRow: "I never, and I mean NEVER, watch ANY PBS Station."

    Can I assume that's because PBS doesn't broadcast any professional wrestling?

    PBS programs tend to be cerebral, so it's no surprise that some people don't watch them.