OTA HDTV Reception Q&A

Updates on the DTV transition and how to receive over-the-air digital television for free.

Location: Richmond, IL, United States

Hello there! I created this blog to share the information about over-the-air HDTV reception you have been wearily searching the Web or calling technical lines for, whether you have decided for less expensive means to get your favorite TV shows, or still adjusting from the over the air broadcast DTV transition that occurred on June 12, 2009. After working for a leading antenna manufacturer for almost 5 years, during which time I've shared my expertise with those who asked on the phone and by email at work, I decided to do the same in the Blogosphere! Confused about getting your local HD channels? Just click through the archives, some of the most useful information is in the early posts from 2005-06. If you want to get in touch with me with antenna related questions, just leave a comment anywhere on this site.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Even though the federal deadline for terminating full power analog broadcasts has been pushed back to June 12th, the congressional bill does allow stations to proceed with their permanent switch to DTV at an earlier date, and some stations have just informed the FCC prior to a midnight filing deadline on Monday February 9th that they will proceed with the switch on February 17th as planned. Other stations may elect in the next few weeks to complete their DTV switch in April, and the rest in June.

So which stations will make the 2-17-09 switch as intended? On the evening I posted this entry, February 10th, the FCC posted on its Web site a public notice of those stations, with appendix documents listing the 190 stations that had already made the DTV switch while the delay debate in Washington was ongoing, plus 491 stations that will proceed with their analog shutdown on February 17th as planned. The documents are available for public viewing at http://www.fcc.gov/ - see the "Headlines" section of the page and the 2/10/09 entry. During the Washington debate on the DTV delay, the FCC reported that 61% of full power stations at the time could proceed with their analog shutdown; the actual percentage to do so will be about 35-40%. Appendix A lists the stations that plan to be all digital by February 18th, while Appendix B lists all full power stations currently broadcasting, with entries in red planning to go all digital early, and those in black delaying their analog shutdown.

Several of these stations had their reasons for making the switch. One is that they had already budgeted operations and installations for the February 17th switch, and to delay the switch would only add to their operating costs that are already being complicated by the current economic situation. Another reason is that their research for their specific market shows that less than 1% of households in their viewing area were not ready for the switch, compared to about a 6% national average. What interests me about the list that most of the markets who have several major network affiliates that will make the originally intended 2/17 switch to DTV are in fairly small markets. Does this mean that these markets have either a relatively smaller audience with not as many households to check if they are DTV ready, or these over the air households actually still watch their local news more often, making them more likely aware of the DTV transition? Whatever the case, it will turn out that February 17th will be more like the first wave of the transition which the major cities making the switch in June. This actually could turn out better in the end; European countries have scheduled their DTV transitions by region at different times, so this plan in the US may arguably be no different.


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