Monday, August 18, 2008

What's Up In Wilmington? It's Now Just THREE WEEKS to the Transition Test.

Today is August 18th, which means that there are only three weeks remaining until the Wilmington, N.C. area becomes the first TV market in the country to transition to digital-only broadcast TV (other than the PBS affiliate and one low-power station), five months ahead of the rest of the U.S.A.

Since my last update was only ten days ago, I only have a couple of new items, but they're worth mentioning. Since the last update, the FCC's involvement has reached the saturation level, as this Multichannel News article demonstrates. With their increasing involvement in many facets of area daily life (such as information booths in farmers' markets in all five affected counties), it's clear the FCC is going all out to insure that nothing goes wrong. It's interesting that the linked article concludes with a quote from an engineer at the local at the local PBS affiliate mentioning something that's occurred to me as well (and which I dealt with last time) - there's no way this level of special attention can be lavished on the other 200-plus TV markets in the run up to Feb '09.

The other piece of news is that four of the participating stations will be participating in a "soft test" on August 19th (i.e. tomorrow), where they will replace their usual analog signal for one minute with a screen letting people know that they need to take action soon in order to continue getting their reception. However, if I read the linked article correctly, they could end up with the situation that occurred when KING in Seattle ran the same test - analog viewers hooked up to cable or satellite got the message when in fact they will be taken care of by their provider, at least for awhile after the transition (link via Engadget HD).

Well, we'll know more about what actually happened with that when we return next week with the two-weeks-out update.

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