Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Digital TV transition happens Friday

Public safety agencies and wireless companies will take over analog


Television stations in Idaho and across the nation will convert to digital-only transmission on Friday, June 12, at 10 p.m.

When the transition occurs, stations will no longer send analog transmissions, the signals that have been used for television since it was invented. Television viewers who do not subscribe to a digital service (cable or satellite) or own a digital television must employ a converter box to translate the digital signals.

"Congress mandated the conversion to all-digital television broadcasting ... because (it) will free up frequencies for public safety communications, such as police, fire and emergency rescue," a release from the Federal Communications Commission states. "Also, digital is a more efficient transmission technology that allows broadcast stations to offer improved picture and sound quality, as well as offer more programming options for consumers through multiple broadcast streams (multi-casting). In addition, some of the freed-up frequencies will be used for advanced commercial wireless services for consumers."

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To help people through the conversion, Idaho Public Television will broadcast a live show at 9 p.m. Friday to answer questions and provide free information. A panel of experts, including Idaho PTV technical staff members, will be on hand to answer questions at (800) 980-4788. Telephones will be staffed until midnight. Questions also can be submitted to before and during the show.

For more information, go to

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