Get your DTV questions answered
NEED HELP? Having trouble hooking up your converter box? Reception issues? Need a technical expert to visit your home? Well an FCC services DTV contractor may be able to come to your home to offer additional assistance for FREE! Here’s how to get help: Basic Contractors — Expert Contractors — FCC Vendors
Direct your DTV questions to Oregon Public Broadcasting by calling 1-800-241-8123 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
ELDERS IN ACTION: Digital TV: Keeping Seniors Connected Campaign Grant Announced
The FCC has an on-line tool to determine what DTV stations will likely be received at a particular address post-transition. The tool provides an educated guestimate by signal strength (first ranked from Green: Strong Signal down to Red: No Signal). If you click on the call signs for each station, you’ll find a lot of interesting technical data about estimated signal strength in +/- dBm, direction to the tower; and pre and post channel numbers. Also, if you look at the map after selecting a station, a new “tower” icon will pop up showing the APPROXIMATE transmitter location.
The tool uses Google Maps technology, so you can click and drag the location icon (the inverted teardrop) to a different location to do a A-B comparison. The results will update automatically. http://www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/
What is the Digital Television (DTV) Transition?
By law American television stations will end all analog broadcasts on February 17, 2009 and will begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format. Television sets connected to cable, satellite, or a telephone company video service provider should not be affected and will continue to receive broadcast programming after that date. But TV sets not connected to cable or satellite, or without a built-in digital tuner, will need a converter box to receive broadcast television after the transition.
Why the switch to DTV?
Digital is more efficient and will free up the airwaves for other services, including public safety communications (such as police, fire, and rescue squads).
What’s a digital TV?
It’s not a high-definition or flat-panel set; high-def is only one flavor of digital TV. What counts is not the set’s screen, but what’s behind it — a digital, or ATSC (“Advanced Television Systems Committee”), tuner that can receive the new signals.
Do I have one?
If you have to ask, you probably don’t. The easiest way to tell is to see whether the set’s remote control lets you tune in channels with decimal points: 4.1 instead of just 4, for example. The TV’s setup mode should also let you search for digital and analog channels. Even big-screen sets built before 2006 usually lack a digital tuner. Sets smaller than 26 inches, VCRs, DVD recorders and digital video recorders are probably analog, too, unless they were made after last March, when a Federal Communications Commission mandate kicked in. For more infor click here.
What are my options?
Preparing for the DTV transition requires one of three steps by February 17, 2009:
- Purchase a DTV converter box that will allow continued reception on an analog TV set. The federal government is offering $40 coupons towards the purchase of these boxes at https://www.dtv2009.gov/ or call 888-388-2009. [Buyers Be Aware! “Mixed Signals: How TV Retailers Mislead Consumers on the Digital Television (DTV) Transition,” a new report released by U.S. PIRG.]
- Purchase a Digital TV set with a built in digital tuner. [Buyers Be Aware! “Mixed Signals: How TV Retailers Mislead Consumers on the Digital Television (DTV) Transition,” a new report released by U.S. PIRG.]
- Subscribe to a video service provider such as cable, satellite or a telephone company video service provider to continue using analog TV sets. If you live in Multnomah County you currently have two alternatives: 1) Comcast http://www.comcast.com/ or Satellite TV service providers as listed in your local yellow pages.
Who can help me?
Oregon Public Broadcasting – Digital TV Help List – http://www.opb.org/digital/
* Resources & Video Clips
Buyer Beware! A company called Universal TechTronics is running ads in newspapers across the country that offer a digital converter box (up to two per family) for free. But its really a $100 scam. Read this article
Links for More Information
DTV Transition Update: Consumer Perspective by Gloria Tristani
http://www.dtvtransition.org/ The DTV Transition Coalition is a group of public and a private organizations working to ensure that no consumer loses free over-the-air television reception due to a lack of information.
http://www.dtvanswers.com/ An initiative by the National Association of Broadcasters.
http://dtvanswers.com/dtv_converterbox.html Converter box details
http://www.dtv.gov/ The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) official information on the digital television transition.
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ The National Telecommunications and Information Association, US Department of Commerce (NTIA) has adopted regulations to implement and administer a coupon program for digital-to-analog converter boxes.
http://www.fcc.gov/dtv A comprehensive list of all DTV-related actions taken by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), including those that may be relevant solely to broadcasters and others directly involved in the transition to digital broadcasting.
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-280185A1.pdf FCC releases agenda for February 28, 2008 digital television consumer education workshop focusing on consumers with disabilities.
In the News
DIGITAL TV SHIFT AFFECTS MINORITIES MOST, [SOURCE: Associated Press, AUTHOR: John Dunbar]
Digital transition may delete millions of viewers – Reuters news article
Latinos lag on digital TV: NIELSEN: THEY’RE ETHNIC GROUP LEAST READY FOR SWITCH TO DIGITAL. By John Dunbar, Associated Press, Article Launched: 02/15/2008 01:38:26 AM PST