Tuesday, January 27, 2009

DTV Deadline Delayed? Probably!

Yesterday the Senate passed a bill to delay the DTV deadline to June 12. The House is expected to follow today or tomorrow. President Obama called for the delay saying the public is not ready, more time was needed for folks to prepare and Congress needed to free up funding for the coupon program.

Nielsen Media Research says 5.7 percent of all U.S. homes are still completely unready for the digital TV transition. That represents 6.5 million households. It hard to believe after the broadcast industries intense Public Service campaign, that so many folks are still unprepared, but I guess its human nature to procrastinate.

One provision of the Senate bill is a clause that says broadcasters can switch to all digital broadcasts prior to the deadline in June. This is good news for stations who had not budgeted for the extremely high utility costs associated with broadcasting both a DTV and analog signal, or for stations that had technical crews already scheduled for tower work, and for the emergency responders who would benefit from freed-up spectrum. A delay, however, benefits the viewer who might be faced with an antenna upgrade. Now they will not have to battle the winter elements installing a new outdoor antenna.

Just when WWNY and other Watertown broadcasters make the switch is unknown. We hope to work with the other broadcasters to determine an appropriate date. In the meantime we continue to encourage viewers to buy DTV equipment and try to recieve our broadcasts. Benefit from the better pictures and sound, and additional channels of broadcasting.

Finally, please remember to re-scan for DTV channels to capture any changes to the broadcasts, after power outages, after antenna adjustments and esspecially after stations like WWNY shutoff analog.