AfterDawn: Tech news

New guide: Preparing for the US DTV Transition

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 15 Aug 2008 10:14 User comments (15)

New guide: Preparing for the US DTV Transition If you're in the US it's hopefully no surprise to you that most analog TV signals will be turned off on February 17, 2009. Unfortunately the government has done a particularly poor job of educating the public about what (if anything) needs to be done to prepare.
Fortunately the information you need is easier to understand than you might expect. Our new guide, Preparing for the US DTV Transition, should answer most of them. It will walk you through everything you need to know to determine whether you're ready or not. If there are steps you need to take it will also explain them to you.

Whatever you do, don't wait until the last minute to prepare. If you wait too long you may suddenly find that you need a converter box or antenna that isn't in stock at your local retailer. In order to make sure you can watch TV with no interruption you should act as soon as possible. There are fewer than 200 days left.

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15 user comments

115.8.2008 11:20

Quote:
If you wait too long you may suddenly find that you need a converter box or antenna that isn't in stock at your local retailer.
The old antenna will work but a ATSC tuner will be required.

215.8.2008 16:12

Who wrote this that the government has done a poor job educating? Someone is doing a real good job.

I live in Canada and see commercials seemingly every 20 mins about the USA change over to DTV, and what you need, etc....
They are on so much I am tired of hearing about it and wish they'd just switch and get it over with. I think someone has done a real good job of spreading the word.

315.8.2008 20:42

Originally posted by subpopz:
Who wrote this that the government has done a poor job educating? Someone is doing a real good job.

I live in Canada and see commercials seemingly every 20 mins about the USA change over to DTV, and what you need, etc....
They are on so much I am tired of hearing about it and wish they'd just switch and get it over with. I think someone has done a real good job of spreading the word.
I agree one hundred percent I live in Canada and cant go ten minutes without seeing one of these damn commercials

415.8.2008 21:14
varnull
Inactive

Looks like next year my antenna stacking and line matching know how will be in demand... must be millions of fringe area dwellers across the US

515.8.2008 21:32

Originally posted by subpopz:
Who wrote this that the government has done a poor job educating? Someone is doing a real good job.

I live in Canada and see commercials seemingly every 20 mins about the USA change over to DTV, and what you need, etc....
They are on so much I am tired of hearing about it and wish they'd just switch and get it over with. I think someone has done a real good job of spreading the word.

All the data I've seen, from surveys and studies to my own personal observations, tells me the people most likely to be affected by the change don't know what's going on. A good job is measured by results not volume and repetition. I stand behind what I wrote.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Aug 2008 @ 21:34

616.8.2008 5:37
susieqbbb
Inactive

Do you want to hear the catch...


In certain cities that are not on comcast and are on there own cable network a good example being tacoma washington where they are not on comcast and where told by the cable company there that they have to purchase a digital cable service in order to keep there service going at 180.00 a month for service.

Now if you fall into any one of these cites be prepared to pay and pay big.

And they are right the goverment is advertising this in u.s English.


But when most of the people speak spanish or japanese or korean or russian you haven't really help those who dont understand what is going on.

716.8.2008 9:23

susieqbbb, I hope you do realize that this transition has nothing to do with cable subscribers. It says that everywhere, its just another company trying to rape their subscribers...

Varnull, I live in a fringe area, wanna help me with those techniques?

818.8.2008 22:25

Originally posted by engage16:
susieqbbb, I hope you do realize that this transition has nothing to do with cable subscribers.
That's not 100% true. It depends entirely upon the specific cable company. The Government has given them the option of either sending the TV signals in digital and analog, as they currently do on the basic channels, or sending the signals in digital only, and if they do that then they must make the cable boxes available (at extra cost) to their subscribers that recieve basic cable without a cable box.

920.8.2008 0:22

Quote:
Quote:
If you wait too long you may suddenly find that you need a converter box or antenna that isn't in stock at your local retailer.
The old antenna will work but a ATSC tuner will be required.

I apologize for not addressing this when it was first posted. While it's true that DTV doesn't require a different type of antenna than analog broadcasts, what I was referring to is the fact that DTV is less forgiving of poor reception, which may lead to signals being dropped unless you upgrade your antenna. The new channels may also use frequencies many people's current antennae aren't well suited for.

1020.8.2008 4:07

Originally posted by subpopz:
Who wrote this that the government has done a poor job educating? Someone is doing a real good job.

I live in Canada and see commercials seemingly every 20 mins about the USA change over to DTV, and what you need, etc....
They are on so much I am tired of hearing about it and wish they'd just switch and get it over with. I think someone has done a real good job of spreading the word.
Originally posted by kemaf:
I agree one hundred percent I live in Canada and cant go ten minutes without seeing one of these damn commercials
Where in Canada do you guys live, the maritimes? I have yet to see a single commercial with anything about DTV. By the way, I live in Alberta.


1122.8.2008 15:57
lfaibvre
Inactive

We were paying $121.00 a month for cable and $33.00 for the
telephone about one year ago. We got two Panasonic VHS/DVD
players for $300.00each and one for $250.00. They have
Accutune digital tuners and up loads DVD's to 1080p.
The TV's are Hitachi, Sony and Phillps HDTV (with a HDMI cord)
and they work just fine.

1222.8.2008 17:26

I'm in Edmonton Canada and I've already been severely affected by the DTV transition in the US. I need firmware upgrades on my equipment. Also, I see plenty of those US ads about the DTV transition on US channels like PBS.

Here is how I'm affected. I have 3 Panasonic hard drive recorders (models DMR-EH50, DMR-EH55 and DMR-EH60) which I use to record shows, delete commercials and make into DVD's. My PVRs use TVGOS (TV Guide on Screen) to provide free 8 day listings for all my analogue and digital channels. Because of the US transition to DTV, TVGOS is going completely digital. Hence, my cable company (Shaw in Edmonton) has been modifying how TVGOS is sent to my PVR's. It used to be sent as part of an analogue signal similar to how closed captioning is sent. In the future it will be all digital.

The changes in TVGOS have caused memory overflows in the RAM of my PVR's, and that has caused crashes. These fix themselves over time when new TV Guide data is downloaded which changes RAM. However, one of my PVR's has gone into a state which constantly reboots with the same error message. It cannot be fixed without a reset that deletes all the data on my hard drive and restores it to the manufacturer's defaults.

Panasonic advised me to upgrade all the firmware on my PVR's. They say that in a few weeks the TVGOS problems in Edmonton and Calgary should be fixed and my PVR's should work fine in the new all digital system.

1323.8.2008 9:08

Quote:
Originally posted by subpopz:
Who wrote this that the government has done a poor job educating? Someone is doing a real good job.

I live in Canada and see commercials seemingly every 20 mins about the USA change over to DTV, and what you need, etc....
They are on so much I am tired of hearing about it and wish they'd just switch and get it over with. I think someone has done a real good job of spreading the word.

All the data I've seen, from surveys and studies to my own personal observations, tells me the people most likely to be affected by the change don't know what's going on. A good job is measured by results not volume and repetition. I stand behind what I wrote.
If that is true they will never know until it is too late. I agree with others that if you aren't aware of this by now your head must be barried in a hole. Quite personally I'm tired of the continuous commercials about DTV and I don't mean DirecTV who used this acronym first.

You also said this;
Quote:
what I was referring to is the fact that DTV is less forgiving of poor reception, which may lead to signals being dropped unless you upgrade your antenna. The new channels may also use frequencies many people's current antennae aren't well suited for.
This is not true I get and the charts show better reception with DTV ATSC signals over anolog NTSC when you look at antenna rating charts and local channel reception codes for the same distances.

1423.8.2008 10:15

Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by subpopz:
Who wrote this that the government has done a poor job educating? Someone is doing a real good job.

I live in Canada and see commercials seemingly every 20 mins about the USA change over to DTV, and what you need, etc....
They are on so much I am tired of hearing about it and wish they'd just switch and get it over with. I think someone has done a real good job of spreading the word.

All the data I've seen, from surveys and studies to my own personal observations, tells me the people most likely to be affected by the change don't know what's going on. A good job is measured by results not volume and repetition. I stand behind what I wrote.
If that is true they will never know until it is too late. I agree with others that if you aren't aware of this by now your head must be barried in a hole. Quite personally I'm tired of the continuous commercials about DTV and I don't mean DirecTV who used this acronym first.

None of which changes the fact that a lot, maybe the majority of people who need to worry about the DTV transition don't know about it. Being aware is not the same thing as understanding.

Quote:
You also said this;
Quote:
what I was referring to is the fact that DTV is less forgiving of poor reception, which may lead to signals being dropped unless you upgrade your antenna. The new channels may also use frequencies many people's current antennae aren't well suited for.
This is not true I get and the charts show better reception with DTV ATSC signals over anolog NTSC when you look at antenna rating charts and local channel reception codes for the same distances.

Bull. You can quote all the charts you like. Engineers who have actually tested things say the FCC's estimates of the signal strength required for maintaining the same coverage as analog broadcasts are simply wrong. And I have some experience there as well. Using the same antenna that gets mediocre to decent reception of analog signals in my house I can only receive 1 of the same 6 channels digitally. For some people it will be enough to switch to a direction antenna. For others, like my Mom, it will be necessary to move to a directional antenna, and possibly something roof mounted.

And you're ignoring the part about antenna types. Many DTV signals are being moved up to higher frequencies. If you have standard rabbit ears, which are in reality one of the best omnidirectional antenna types for VHF frequencies, you may also need another antenna for the new UHF broadcasts.

The fact is there are millions of people in the US who haven't been reached by the necessary message. Your annoyance with public service announcements in no way disproves that. Nor does your own ignorance about the reality of DTV reception, which seems to mirror the rosy, but ultimately flawed view of the FCC. Let's not forget they haven't even tested their own claims, and won't be until next month.

1523.8.2008 12:25

Unfortuntaly, all of their test are in metropolitan areas, what about the majority of consumers (like me) that live in the middle of nowhere and either have to have satellite or an antenna? I can't even get local network stations through DirectTV as I'm 'out of all subscription areas'. So now I'm stuck with nothing...

Great move FCC... Just like when you decided you could censor all TV and Radio broadcasts after the Super Bowl incident... They even started censoring all related websites also...

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