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TV conversion shouldn't cost Perry County residents much

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Scammers may take advantage of chance to make a buck

PERRY COUNTY - A Leopold woman called The News Friday, hoping to alert county residents to people she said were going around the county claiming regular television antennas and some satellite dishes won't work when the nation converts to digital TV in a year.

A conversion from analog television signals has been in the works for some time, but has been featured in national media reports as the one-year-to-go mark passed this week.

Information about what kinds of equipment will and will not work after the conversion is available at a Federal Communications Commission Web site at www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/digitaltv.html. The agency also invites viewers to call (888) 225-5322 with their questions.

"A special antenna generally is not needed to receive digital signals," the agency explains at the site. "You may have antenna issues, however, if your current antenna does not receive UHF signals (channels 14 and above) well, because most DTV stations are on UHF channels. In such a case, you may need a new antenna or to add a UHF section to your existing antenna system."

People will have different needs depending on the types of televisions and video recorders they have and the services they receive. Owners' manuals or packaging materials may indicate whether they contain DTV tuners.

Many television stations already broadcast digital signals, including WFIE, WEHT, WEVV, WNIN and WTVW in Evansville; Louisville, Ky. stations WAVE, WBNA, WDRB, WHAS, WKMJ, WKPC and WLKY, and Owensboro, Ky. station WKOH, according to an Oct. 10 list provided by the FCC.

People whose televisions can't receive digital signals can request up to two $40 coupons per household to help them purchase converter boxes. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is administering the coupon program, and provides more information at www.dtv2009.gov.

County Sheriff Bob Glenn said Wednesday people who subscribe to cable or satellite television won't be affected. He asked his deputies, and none reported receiving complaints, but he noted people often try to sell unneeded products or services, and frequently try to capitalize on events such as the analog-to-digital conversion.

"People see a way to make a buck," he said. Anyone concerned about possible scam attempts can call his office at 547-2441.