Wednesday Feb 11 2009
Digital TV conversion pushed back to June
By: Joyia Emard
Loal seniors prepared for switch, originally set for Feb. 17
The complete changeover date of television transmission from analog to digital has been delayed, but local seniors seem to be prepared. Emma Houx, of Loomis, said she received coupons to purchase a discounted converter box and her nephew installed it for her. “When we hooked it up it ruined some of the stations, so we just unhooked it and we’ll reconnect,” Houx said. Feb. 17 originally was the changeover date mandated by the federal government when all television stations must be broadcasting digitally, but Congress recently extended it to June 12. According to the California Public Utilities Commission, the change in transmission signal will “free up a part of the airwaves for emergency rescue communications and new wireless services.” Local seniors also know that those with newer television sets, cable or satellite television do not need converter boxes. “With cable you don’t have to do anything. They did a test on TV and mine passed,” explained Sets Hayashida, of Loomis. But some foothill residents with antennas and converter boxes may not get the reception they expect once the changeover occurs. According to Jack Davis, chief engineer at local television station KTXL-40, some converter box owners may experience problems in reception due to their antenna, co-axle cable or even their converter boxes. “The antennas and cables might be old and weather damaged, or the antennas may need to be taller. People are finding that all converter boxes are not the same quality,” Davis said. Davis said that fluttering leaves can cause transmission problems. He also explained that the digital transmissions have a “cliff effect” where the signal completely disappears when there is a problem instead of getting fuzzy. While many stations are already transmitting digitally, others are not. Davis said that if a viewer’s reception was fine with an antenna before the change over, it should be the same, if not better. If reception was poor before the converter box, a new antenna is probably needed. Davis called the changeover to digital transmission a “birthing process.” More information is available at www.dtv.gov.