Switch to digital television happens tomorrow

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Extra time for viewers to prepare runs out

By The Staff

PERRY COUNTY - Tomorrow is the deadline for television stations to switch from transmitting analog signals to digital signals.

Originally set for Feb. 17, the digital switch was moved to June 12 to give consumers more time to purchase analog-to-digital converters for analog televisions or to subscribe to satellite or cable television.

The switch has been in the works to free up parts of the broadcast spectrum to be used for police and fire departments, emergency rescue, advanced wireless services and other services.

After receiving the converter box, the Federal Communications Commission urges the public to hook the converter up and check connections.

According to a trouble-shooting guide at www.fcc.gov/cgbconsumerfacts/troubleshootguide.html, the FCC says if there are problems seeing a picture after checking connections, performing a channel scan and adjusting the antenna, people might want to check with TV stations to see if they are operating at reduced power levels.

Also "when an analog TV signal is weak or receives interference, static, snow and distortion will often appear on the screen. Digital broadcasting will provide a clear picture; however, if the signal falls below a certain minimum strength, the picture can disappear. This 'cliff effect' means that if you watch analog TV stations that have static and distortion, you may have to adjust or upgrade your antenna system."

The FCC also recommends using an outdoor antenna instead of an indoor one.

For more information about the switch, contact the FCC at (888) 225-5322 or visit www.dtv.gov.