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Linking Satellite Dishes to Local Programming

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CLAYTON — The mixed signals between satellite dishes and local programming can be confusing. On Wednesday, WRAL focused on theproblems between the two. Now, we take a look at possible solutions.

Viewers are eager to see this situation resolved.

Under federal law, satellite companies can't carry network programming or local stations. People who had network programming illegally on their satellite service have lost it, or will lose it soon.

John York can't get cable at his new subdivision in Clayton, so he got satellite service. But like many other viewers, he's disappointed that he can't get local stations.

"I do like local news and things like that, you want to try and get that," says York.

But because of federal copyright laws passed in 1988, you can't get local stations through your satellite service.

"We always tell our customers to try a pair of powered rabbit ears, real cheap, just to see if you can get it off air," says Brian Regoli, of Digital Satellite Experts.

But there's a local company working to solve the problem.

"The law has to come first," says John Hutchinson who heads upLocal TV on Satellite, LTVS, a company founded byCapitol Broadcasting.

Hutchinson is lobbying Congress to pass a law which would allow satellite companies to transmit local stations along with their other programs.

If and when the laws change, LTVS will push ahead with the technology.

"Our goal is to order these two satellites in June of this year because it takes that 30 months to build them," explains Hutchinson. "We want to have those satellites up and running by Christmas 2001."

The people at LTVS say this plan will settle disputes between local television stations and satellite services, and make television viewing a lot easier for the consumer.

"One dish, one set top box, one remote control," says Hutchinson.

LTVS estimates that it will cost $900 million to build and launch the two satellites.

Not only will you be able to get local stations on this system, but the satellites will also transmit aHigh Definitionsignal for people who own HDTV's.