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Raleigh's WRAL to Build Digital TV Tower

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RALEIGH — WRAL-TV has announced that it will build whatis expected to be thenation's first commercial TV tower dedicated solely to transmittingdigital signals.

Last July, the station became the first commercial station in the U.S.to broadcast an experimental digital signal over Channel 32. The public can not receive the experimental signal because today's television setsare not able to pick it up.

The 2,000-foot tower will be built next to the station's existing towernear Clayton.

Eventually, the country's 1600 commercial TV stations will be able toconvert to digital, and television set manufacturers will have digitalsets on the market in about two years. They are expected to cost $1000more than today's sets. An option would be to use converters on presentsets.

Digital TV fans cite its improved picture and sound quality.

Tom Beauchamp, WRAL-TV's chief engineer, said the push intonew territory has come from Capitol Broadcasting Company owner JimGoodmon. "He has forced us to do the thinking years ahead of where wewould be," Beauchamp toldThe News & Observer. WRAL is oneof Capitol's properties.

Capitol expects to lease space on the tower to other area televisionstations for their digital signals, although the negotiations have notbeen completed.

The construction schedule will depend in part on obtaining the specialsteel used for broadcast towers.

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