Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WWNY to Transition to All Digital broadcasts 2/17/09

WWNY, like many other broadcasters nationwide (published reports indicate nearly half of all broadcasters), will be transition to all digital broadcasts on the original DTV deadline date of February 17, 2009 rather than the new deadline of June 12, 2009. WWNY believes a majority of our viewers are already prepared for all digital broadcasts.

Shutting the analog signal off early permits us to make technical changes to our DTV broadcasts which should improve its range and consistency. During our soft analog shutoff tests we received calls from a large number of folks who took measures to receive digital broadcasts but were having difficulty receiving our current DTV signal. These changes should address these issues.

Viewers who are currently receiving our DTV broadcasts will need to re-scan their television or converter boxes on 2/18/09 to capture these changes. For info a re-scanning click here or to watch a video click here.

WWNY will be joined on February 17, 2009 by WWTI our ABC competitor. WPBS, the Watertown public broadcasting station will cease analog broadcasts in March.

WNYF-CA, Watertown and WNYF-LP, Massena, our low-powered FOX affiliate will continue analog broadcasts. The programming of WNYF is also available via a secondary channel (7.2) of WWNY’s digital broadcasts.

Low-powered stations do not have a mandate to cease analog broadcasts, nor a mandate when they must be all digital. WNYF-CA holds a construction permit to construct a digital facility of its own. When those broadcasts begin (we anticipate in a few months), the programming will be available in HDTV.


CarlB said...

The FCC has posted a list of all full-service US TV stations, with broadcasters going digital-only on or before Feb 17'09 indicted in red:

Of 1800 full-power stations nationwide, 190 are already digital-only and 491 are expected to follow next week.

As for how we ended up so unprepared? Some blame belongs to governments for attempting to transition an entire country on one day (Feb 17 2009 for the US, Aug 31, 2011 for Canada) instead of market-by-market (UK-style) and for the underfunded US coupon program. Part of the blame, though, should go to receiver manufacturers.

Local stations such as WWNY and WPBS have been broadcasting digitally at considerable expense since 2003-2005, with no one watching, because TV makers lobbied vociferously to delay any requirement that TV's be able to tune the digital signal. The Consumer Electronics Association (which represents TV makers) in 2002 opposed efforts by the National Association of Broadcasters (which represents TV stations) to require the digital tuners; now that same CEA is warning that US retailers are within fifty days or less of running out of converter boxes.

W said...

And now the FCC has upset the apple cart again, with their refusal to allow market-wide Feb 17 transitions.

I smell some court challenges, as many stations (like WCAX in Burlington) have already begun good-faith technical chanes in preparation for next week.

What are WWNY's plans now?

Jim Corbin said...

WWNY and WWTI are evaluating the new (and burdensome) requirements that must be met to have a market wide analog shutoff.

CarlB said...

Good luck making any sense out of it. Their definition of a market-wide analog shutoff as being two stations is an odd one: somehow WNYF-CA Fox 28 doesn't count (despite it's major-network affiliation and its access to 7News reporters) as it's Class A, WPBS doesn't count as it's not a big-four commercial network and CKWS can be ignored as, despite sitting 1000' tall almost on the Jefferson County line with 316kW of analogue VHF until 2011 they're technically in an adjacent market.

I see many stations on this list that are in very small markets (Alpena? Upper Michigan Peninsula, rural, it's a wonder there's a station at all) and some of the requirements (such as running the info in Spanish in communities with no Spanish stations) make no sense.

This does look like what Congress intended to pass was a voluntary extension while the FCC (through onerous regulation) is trying to circumvent this and implement an involuntary - albeit unfunded - extension.