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the_chinuk Donating Member (240 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-04-09 10:44 PM
Original message
DTV Switchover Pushed Back to June 12
Source: Engadget

After much wrangling, the DTV Delay Act has worked its way through the House of Representatives and will certainly be signed by President Obama, changing the cutoff date for analog broadcasts from February 17 to June 12. Don't expect this to bring a sudden end to digital TV confusion, since stations can switch prior to that date, and according to the FCC up to 61% will be able to.

Read more: http://www.engadget.com/2009/02/04/its-official-dtv-har... /



It's true that most TV stations can switch as of 17 Feb if they want, but I'm betting they don't. They'll make a lot of people who dawdled on the DTV Coupon program mad at them. And there's nothing like a mad TV viewer!

I wonder why they couldn't have just subsidized the DTV boxes myself.
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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-04-09 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. I think they should just switch over and leave people without TV. Imagine the things they'd do
with their families.
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hendo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-04-09 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. but, but, the ratings... NT
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benld74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-04-09 11:00 PM
Response to Original message
2. Another 6 months of local news rolling the date at bottom of screen
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earthside Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-04-09 11:01 PM
Response to Original message
3. America in Decline
Too many Americans just cannot get anything done on time ... so they expect the government to "delay" the deadline.

The Congress (and in this case Obama, too) have done the wrong thing.

We can't even do what we been told about for years and months now so that we can watch TV???!!!

Not a good sign for the future.
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CatholicEdHead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-04-09 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I am surprised the underestimated the coupon program
there was not enough in there and it ran dry. Most people buy their boxes at the last minute.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. actually, there is plenty of money in the program. It was just set up badly
The program is budgeted for 33 million coupons -- around 1.3 billion dollars. Around 22 million coupons have now been redeemed, so there is theoretically money to redeem another 11 million coupons. But the way the program is set up, they can't issue more coupons since there are over 10 million unredeemed, unexpired coupons ('active' coupons) sitting in the hands of the public. Redemption rates have been at around 55 percent, so it can be expected that after all of the active coupons either expire or are redeemed, there will be money available to issue several million coupons. ONe of the things that the extension legislation does is provide for additional money (a) so the government can resume issuing coupons to those who have been on a waiting list for the past several weeks and (b) have more money in case it turns out that they did underestimate the number of people who would need/want the coupons.

Statistics on the number of coupons issued, redeemed, active, wait listed etc here:
https://www.dtv2009.gov/Stats.aspx
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #8
35. I agree
The coupon program is an example of how not to do things, chalk up another one for the bu$h fiasco :(

One of my biggest gripes withe the program is that it only covered convertor boxes. They should have included antennas and necessary accessories in the program. Hell, as far as I'm concerned, they should have included some digital TVs in the program, so you could use the coupons as a discount against upgrading your old television.

But, no, as usual, ill conceived and executed won the day like everything else Chief Disaster* presided over. :(
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. I was just discussing this with a broadcast attorney in my office
We specifically were discussing the fact that the coupon program didn't cover any device with a digital tuner. Frankly, I had thought that retailers might try to market the sale of new tvs by offering to give away a digital converter (which someone could use with their old tv) if you bought a new tv that didn't need the converter. The $40 coupon would've effectively have been transformed into $40 off the price of the tv.

I guess the concern was that they wanted the control the cost of the coupon program and they didn't want people who could afford an $1800 flat screen tv getting a government subsidy. BUt they could've limited it to smaller sets, imo.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. yes
If they had expanded the program to include discounts more equipment such as smaller, less expensive standard definition TVs, they might have mitigated some of the problems incurred when retailers ran out of the program-approved boxes. I know people who ran all over town at one point trying to find a box after they got their coupons. Just piss poor planning at its worst.
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JayMusgrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #8
47. Thanks for this link and detail. eom
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 03:53 AM
Response to Reply #3
14. They're afraid the poor people can't afford the boxes.

So they decided to wait.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #14
30. there are two main reasons for the delay, both attributable to repub mismanagement
The first is that the coupon program was badly designed and administered and, as a result, even though only 22 million of the coupons that were budgeted for have been redeemed, new applications for coupons have been placed on a waiting list since the beginning of January -- that list currently has over 3.5 million requests pending. In other words, people who did what they were told to do -- apply for coupons -- and who did it in plenty of time to get a coupon, buy a box and set it up before Feb 17 -- ended up on a waiting list and won't, through no fault of their own, have the coupon or box in time.

The second is that the government has known for some time that the call centers it has announced for giving assistance to people right after the transition occurs is going to get between 1 and 2 million calls in the first 48 hours. (They know this based on the call volume from the early transition test in NC last Sept). The FCC solicited bids for outsourcing the staffing of these call centers in Sept, but the repub chairman of the FCC did nothing about awarding those contracts until early January, thereby ensuring that they won't be adequately staffed/trained/co-ordinated by Feb 17.

If those two things hadn't happened, we wouldn't be talking about a delay.
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #3
19. Nothing like watching the fall of Rome first hand.
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Wabbajack_ Donating Member (669 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
54. Come on think of the poor and old people
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Wetzelbill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-04-09 11:42 PM
Response to Original message
6. I just bought one of those boxes too
I was pissed because it would take a few months to get a coupon so I gave in and bought it so I wouldn't miss the few things I actually watch on tv. Like LOST. Now they pushed it back! I spend 50 bucks for nothing.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 01:23 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. You didn't spend $50 bucks for nothing
because most stations have been broadcasting digital for months now. Not only will you get a better picture now, you probably get more channels (my PBS station broadcasts 4 channels).
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mahatmakanejeeves Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #10
41. "my PBS station broadcasts 4 channels"
Same here; WETA, channel 26, in Arlington VA. We have multiple channels for the big three affiliates. Channel 5, WTTG, the Fox affiliate has only one channel. I love the extra channels. I do have problems with reception, but when the reception is good, I never regret going digital.

They should get this whole transition over with. Obama is wrong on this one.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #41
46. Mine previously had 4, but not were all on at the same time. The 3 channels are all on now. n/t
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Wetzelbill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #10
42. I tried it the other day and didn't get anything up
I might try it again.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #42
45. Remember, until the switch not all stations may be full power
or be located at where they will ultimately be at this time. Wait until after the 17th to make a final determination and call any station that you have problems receiving because they want you to be able to get their signal if possible.
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 12:33 AM
Response to Original message
7. Booooo. nt
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gvstn Donating Member (485 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
9. Obama is making a mistake on this one
Yes, he is going to take a hit for things going poorly with the transition but the program was flawed, the dates were set and there is nothing he could have done about it.

The 90 day expiration period was WRONG!
It should have been two coupons per household expiration December 2009. (My brother (CHEAP!) went through the expiration of his coupons, my coupons and my mother's coupons waiting for the best deal--NO coupons redeemed--no cost to the government).

It would be better to just take the hit along side the nomination hits and be done with it. If someone had applied for a coupon on Jan. 20 he wouldn't even receive it until after Feb 17 even if there was money available. It is not Obama's fault. I'm sure there are plenty of converters available for sale. He should just use the opportunity to show how government can work. Get the money. Get the coupons out there. Get the 1-800-HELP-DTV phone line up and running. Get things straightened out and allow people to see the difference between a government that waits 18 mos. to act and one that gets things working in short order.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 01:30 AM
Response to Original message
11. I read a great line on an A/V forum last week:
Some of the players are not ready for the Super Bowl so they are going to delay it for a week.

I wish I had a dime for every announce and date of the switch I have heard as well as the innumerable local announcements and local numbers to call for information or help. It's the old "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink". Even if it was 10 years some people won't be ready. Even if I had to spend a whole $40 or $50 it would be worth it for the better pictures as well as double the channels. The good news is that almost all of my channels will switch on February 17 because in this economy they cannot afford to keep paying thousands of dollars a month to broadcast both an analog and digital signals. In 2 weeks, time's up--they will switch.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #11
20. exactly
We've been running in the red over this, some of us for years. At $30-70k a month or more to operate the analog transmitters, not to mention the massive amount of cash laid out to build the digital facilities in the first place, it has eaten our budgets completely up. Just about every station that can switch on 2-17 is going to do it. It doesn't mean they are evil and uncaring, it's just that we can't go on losing money at an alarming rate anymore.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. I wonder if people here realize that extra money being spent by tv stations
to transmit both analog and digital signals just might result in them laying off some employees to cover that cost in this economy. Then people would expect them to continue to swallow that loss for another 4 months?
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. It very well could
I know that if our station group doesn't start climbing up out of this financial pit we are in very soon, many of us will be hitting the unemployment lines. Many of us already have. Since I came on board in December of '00, I've seen a lot of staff reductions. Granted, some of the reductions are due to the implementation of automation in our operations, but others are a direct result of loss of profitability in the industry resulting from plummeting ad rates combined with soaring operating costs. We're running with half the people at each station than we had in '00. I don't want to see any more go. :(
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ipfilter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #23
51. Are you able to say which station you work for?
I live in OK and was just curious. I have some technical difficulties with one station broadcasting on VHF 7.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #51
52. I'd rather not
I'm not 100% sure of company policy on the matter so it's better I don't say. I can tell you we're not VHF 7 though. That's KOCO, the ABC affiliate (channel 5 analog). I think (don't quote me, but I'm pretty sure) they are running a shared line to a single antenna for both transmitters, so they have to keep their digital at reduced power until they shut down the analog transmitter. It should get better after the cutoff date.
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ipfilter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. Thanks. I understand. I'm 60 miles out and pick up everything.
KOCO's low power is my only problem. When the weather is clear I pick them up. If the weather pattern is unsettled I can't get them. The FCC website shows them only transmitting at something like 37KW so I was hoping they will increase that after the analog shutoff.

Good to see another okie dem. There aren't too many of us. :)
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #53
55. yeah, it should pick up
Once they clear the analog tx from that line, they will be able to crank the digital up. They are probably being cautious, you don't want to see what happens when you try to push way too much signal through a single line, it will melt it right off the side of the tower :scared:

If you don't mind me asking, where in OK do you live?
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ipfilter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #55
56. I live in Enid.
I have a Channel Master 3020 mounted on a mast about 15 feet off the ground. KFOR is so strong I can pick them up even if the wind turns my antenna 180 degrees away. I have a problem with OETA-DT because they are transmitting on UHF 32 and we have a local low power station on the same freq. One of OETA's engineers told me they are moving their DTV back to 13 so that is only a temporary problem. KWTV, Fox, KSBI, CW, and KAUT are all very strong even at 60 miles out. I could get even better reception if I were to raise my antenna another 10 feet. I would have to use guy wires and I don't want to do that. KOCO is the only channel I can't get 100% of the time.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #56
57. I love Enid
I played the Jazz on The Main festival several years in a row. Hang in there, when the analogs shut down, channels re-assign and power comes up, I bet you get everything from OKC with no problem. :thumbsup:
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mwooldri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 02:34 AM
Response to Original message
12. From what I hear, most stations have decided to ditch analog on Feb 17th.
They're burning money running transmitters that are obsolete and expensive to run. The transition has been YEARS in the making, so some stations planned to make their analog set up obsolete. Others had analog transmitters that were dying and needed replacement beforehand so got new ones that can be retro-fitted to digital operation.

Add into this mix that most people get TV by cable or satellite, and if your audience is minuscule (Come on, how many people watch Ion? TBN? The local shopping channel?) along with your budget you can save some easy money by just dumping that analog signal. Didn't get enough pledge dollars in the latest public television fund drive and need money? Oh, we can switch off that analog signal and save on the electric bill, oh and instead of having our own tower we can share with such-and-such a station and rent instead and sell off the land for development.

From the broadcast industry boards I frequent, there's plenty of confirmation of lots of stations going across on Feb 17th anyway. There's some that will hang on, but Congress forgot about frequency co-ordination apparently ... some stations won't be able to go to their final frequencies if the nearby station currently occupying that slot hangs around broadcasting on it.

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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #12
29. the fcc has said that stations can go all digital on their interim channel
before June 12 and then go to their final frequencies on June 12.
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Confusious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 03:49 AM
Response to Original message
13. I got my converter coupon today! n/t
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 03:55 AM
Response to Original message
15. Good news
this will help poorer people, the elderly and those in rural areas. :thumbsup:
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Ford_Prefect Donating Member (20 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. DTV signal is not perfect
DTV is not all its claimed to be. In areas on the fringe of broadcast signals DTV is worse no matter the price of the converter. Digital receivers are far more sensitive to weak signal than analog, regardless of antenna type or placement. Those of us in rural or distant locations are losing local content selection by this change. Paying the absurd cost of satellite or cable becomes the only choice if we want to get local news and programming for an extra fee(along with 30 channels pushing "christian" infomercials and 10 FOX propaganda stations)

DTV may be the technological marvel of broadcasting but no consideration was given who is paying for it. Someone forgot that we the people own the airwaves. They've been handed out to Walmart and Clearchannel instead.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #16
44. Welcome to DU
:hi:

DTV isn't finished. The transition date represents a beginning as much is it does an end. There is a lot of work left to do. How much is left to be done can vary greatly from market to market, but the work left to be done includes:

Transmitter buildouts to be finished
Transmitters brought up to full power
Frequency reassignment and transmitter tuning to new frequency
Some antennas to be moved to new, higher permanent towers
Repeater/translator stations to be switched over

Any or all of the above may or may not apply to your market, but judging the effectiveness of DTV right now is like critiquing a painting that isn't finished. It took almost 70 years to build the NTSC analog infrastructure to its current state, so it will probably take some time to get ATSC digital built, tuned and tweaked out to its full potential.

One thing is for certain, that potential will never be known or reached until we get analog out of the way. At current, it's hogging too much spectrum and money for digital to proceed any further until it is gone.

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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
17. on the contrary
We're going to see a whole lot of stations switch off on 2-17. We've been going in the hole for years running two transmitters alongside each other and with the current economic crunch and declining ad rates, we just can't afford to run them any more. At $30-70k per month or more, believe me there is no profitability in continuing analog operations another day. Many of these old transmitters have only received the bare minimum in maintenence to keep them limping toward the finish line of 2-17, a number of them may just shut themselves down if pushed long enough.

In short, the majority of stations and station groups have budgeted for the 2-17 shutdown and I doubt they are going to go borrow the money to keep operating in this economic climate if they don't have to.
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RantinRavin Donating Member (423 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
18. And in June it will be pushed back to October
Because these same people are not ready for the switch....
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #18
27. Are you interested in placeing a bet on that?
Or do you lack the courage of your convictions.
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RantinRavin Donating Member (423 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #27
31. Sure
What do you have in mind ?
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #31
33. something good for DU: $10 contribution to DU from me if its extended again
$10 from you to DU if they don't.
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RantinRavin Donating Member (423 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. You got it
But I will warn you that you might have to remind me of this. The old memory is not what it once was :)
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Coventina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
21. Good. I don't have money for cable, satellite, or a new TV
I got the converter box, but I get only 2 stations with it. I don't have money to invest in a new antenna.

I know I'm a "tiny minority" and that I don't matter to most of you. But I'm glad I get to have TV for a few more months.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #21
24. The sad and simple truth is that there is no Constitutional right to receive tv signals.
There are people who live in the valleys of the bluffs where I live who have always had trouble receiving tv signals. How about people who live way out in the boonies of Wyoming or Montana or other places like that? They have always had trouble receiving tv signals. My house has a metal roof and unless I have an outside antenna I receive no signals. I even had to spend $60 to get the signal from the NBC station which is 60 miles away from me. There is a way to get nearly all digital signals if you received the analog signals and are willing to try. Also realize that not all stations are on full digital power until after they turn off analog and switch to digital. I would also bet with just the 2 stations you get that they also carry sub-channels so you might just get 4 or more. My local PBS station carries 3 channels, my CBS and ABC each have 2, and the NBC station also carried a 24 hour weather channel.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #21
25. have you tried
have you tried re-aiming your antenna? I know when I installed my convertor box I had to get on the roof and re-orient the antenna while my wife re-scanned for channels. We started out picking up 6 channels with the antenna aimed where it originally was and wound up with 22 digital channels after spending about 45 minutes re-aiming it. Also, check the wiring to the antenna, if it has been up on the roof for a long time, the wiring may have deteriorated in the weather over the years. :hi:
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Coventina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. Hi Guitar Man
My husband is going to try that (reorienting the antenna), when he gets some spare time. He's been working long hours, trying to get some overtime $$.

Frankly, I'll admit I have no idea what is up there. Whatever it is, it's more than 12 years old because I know nothing has changed since I moved in with my husband 12 years ago. I'll be the first to admit that I am technologically-challenged, so if I didn't have my husband I'd be in REAL trouble.

I'll let you know what I find out!
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. great
It might help a lot, especially if the digital transmitters are in a different location than the analog transmitters like some of them are in our market. Also, if you have stations that are sharing a common line for their two transmitters, they might not be able to bring their digital transmitters up to full power until after the analog shutdown. There are a lot of variables and no two markets are the same, so hang in there, we're a long way from bringing the digital infrastructure up to optimum.
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JayMusgrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #25
48. Good suggestion, perhaps not possible in northern areas, where
There's too much snow and ice on the roof in winter.

June switchover will work better for all...IMO But I know some stations will switch before then.
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davepc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #21
49. better check with your local stations, most of them are switching on the original date anyways
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
32. Good Neighbor Coupon Exchange
Here's a site that hooks up people with extra DTV box coupons with people that need them:

http://www.retrevo.com/dtv
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honoluludaniel Donating Member (45 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #32
37. Thanks for the link. nm
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AngryOldDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
39. The biggest station in my market announced today that it IS switching on the 17th,
Because it has already made arrangements to switch out its station signal to digital and to cancel the project now is out of the question. The guy said to do so would entail another year's wait, which the station is not willing to do.

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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. this is probably going to be pretty common
The expectation is that hundreds of stations will go ahead and make the switch on Feb 17.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #39
43. so far in my market
The NBC, CBS, FOX, CW, and My Network TV affiliates have announced cutoff on the 17th.
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FriendlyReminder Donating Member (174 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-05-09 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #43
50. I have yet to hear of any of my local stations NOT cutting over on the 17th.
Trust me, there will be A LOT of people not ready on June 12th either. Just do it.
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