Digital TV Test Offers Some Real-world Lessons

As we wrote earlier, Wilmington, N.C. was getting to be the victim, er, volunteer city in a full-on digital TV experiment.  What was the expectation?  Well, the hope was that it would be a smooth transition, especially since Wilimington has a lower percentage of residents who would be affected by the changeover.  But it sure as heck wasn't smooth, after the switch was thrown on Monday at 12 noon EDT.

The test in Wilmington, where officials had made a concerted effort to get the word out about the switch, is a good indication that more education is needed. According to the Journal, by mid-afternoon roughly 74 calls had been placed to two TV stations, WSFX-TV, a Fox affiliate, and WECT-TV, an NBC affiliate. The newspaper also reported the FCC received about a hundred calls on its toll-free help line in the first few hours after local broadcasters shut off their analog signals. Most of the calls were from people who needed help programming the new digital converter boxes, the newspaper said.

Even though the switch to digital in Wilmington, N.C., wasn't as smooth as some might have hoped, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said it served its purpose, which was to provide valuable lessons for what needs to be done to make sure the nationwide transition goes smoothly.


That's interesting, because it hadn't occurred to us that the boxes would actually need programming.  We were of the thought that you would simply hook them up and they would work.  Foolish on our part, we suppose, because in our position, with satellite or cable, there's no concern over these boxes, and we would figure all would be worked out by the powers-that-be such that the hookup would be seamless.

We forgot: this is a government gig, so that was a silly idea.  Still, the good thing is that with this experience under their belt, the FCC can plan better for D (for digital) day next year.  And hopefully everyone will be ready then.
Via:  News.com
Comments
bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

Heres hoping they can get things in order before the big switch. I have a feeling I will be busy come february.

Drago 6 years ago

IMO canning the analog airwaves is a stupid idea. Digital sucks. Really it is the CRT LCD debate again. Why the hell do i need to pay more for something that is defective. With a CRT you dont have dead pixels, but with an LCD you get them and you have to have enough for it to be taken back which is bull. One dead or stuck pixel means the monitor is defective. With digital the freaking signal breaks up for no reason, loss of sound and video, or garbled picture and sound. Oh for the people in the cities they should be fine but anyone that lives fairly far away from cities and who have been able to get analog tv signals fine will now get an utter POS picture and signal. I love how they tout better picture and sound yet half the freaking time the picture is blurred and the sound cuts in and out.

No one ever thinks of the little man, the people that live in rural areas. No high speed internet, no cable, and the people that dont have antenna have satellite and they put up with the signal breakage, but i can understand that from that technology since the signal is being sent from space and there are lots of things in the way.

All the government is doing is getting rich by making us have to buy some stupid converter box that costs like 2 bucks to make and we have to pay 40+ for it. I aint buying something unless it works and the digital converter my parents have works, but all the aforementioned problems happen on it. Hell during a storm you cant even get the damn signal on long enough to check the freaking local weather. Oh noes a tornado is coming but no one knows about it cause they cant get a tv signal due to interference that wasnt near as prevalent on analog.

ice91785 6 years ago

[quote user="Drago"]All the government is doing is getting rich by making us have to buy some stupid converter box that costs like 2 bucks to make and we have to pay 40+ for it. I aint buying something unless it works and the digital converter my parents have works, but all the aforementioned problems happen on it[/quote]

Why don't you just get the coupon for $40 off your converter box from the gov't? It pretty much gives to box to you for free.....

 

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

[quote user="Drago"]

IMO canning the analog airwaves is a stupid idea. Digital sucks. Really it is the CRT LCD debate again. Why the hell do i need to pay more for something that is defective. With a CRT you dont have dead pixels, but with an LCD you get them and you have to have enough for it to be taken back which is bull. One dead or stuck pixel means the monitor is defective. With digital the freaking signal breaks up for no reason, loss of sound and video, or garbled picture and sound. Oh for the people in the cities they should be fine but anyone that lives fairly far away from cities and who have been able to get analog tv signals fine will now get an utter POS picture and signal. I love how they tout better picture and sound yet half the freaking time the picture is blurred and the sound cuts in and out.

No one ever thinks of the little man, the people that live in rural areas. No high speed internet, no cable, and the people that dont have antenna have satellite and they put up with the signal breakage, but i can understand that from that technology since the signal is being sent from space and there are lots of things in the way.

All the government is doing is getting rich by making us have to buy some stupid converter box that costs like 2 bucks to make and we have to pay 40+ for it. I aint buying something unless it works and the digital converter my parents have works, but all the aforementioned problems happen on it. Hell during a storm you cant even get the damn signal on long enough to check the freaking local weather. Oh noes a tornado is coming but no one knows about it cause they cant get a tv signal due to interference that wasnt near as prevalent on analog.

[/quote]

I heart you Drago!

Lev_Astov 6 years ago

I'm fairly certain that they're not doing it because they think it's better for us. No, the government would not ever do that, but instead they are forcing the switch because it frees up a large chunk of the radio spectrum for their use. I can understand why that might be worth the trouble.

mazuki 6 years ago

the analog signal uses a very low frequency (90khz or so i think) the range isn't great for that, and i'm not sure what the government would use it for, since most communications need to be long-range to be effective, unless we move to message-hopping like back when morse code was used

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