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Stations statewide hold DTV 'soft test' for viewers

Television viewers were able to tell Thursday evening if their systems are ready for the switch to digital TV. Stations broadcast a test.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — 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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