In what may be a first for North Carolina broadcasting, virtually every commercial television station in the state will air the same program at the same time Saturday night.
The statewide broadcast aims to inform North Carolinians about the digital transition coming up next year. On Februrary 17, 2009, full-power television stations across the country will stop broadcasting in analog and go digital.
“The broadcasters of this state are committed to making this transition as smooth and painless as possible,” said Jim Hefner, president of the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB).
“DTV 411,” the name of the program being produced by NCAB, will air Saturday night at 7:30 PM on 27 television stations across the state. The 30-minute program explains who will be affected by this historic change, and what they will need to do to continue receiving their television signals after February 17, 2009.
Viewers who receive television from cable or satellite providers will not be required to take any action, according to NCAB officials. But those receiving television free, over-the-air must either purchase a new television or secure a special converter box. The program explains how such viewers can receive vouchers to purchase converter boxes for free.
“NCAB and our member stations are committed to help our viewers with the transition from analog to digital television through this unique approach of getting the information out to our viewers,” Hefner said. “We are convinced our program on the digital transition, as well as the airing of the program on virtually every commercial station in the state at the same time, will go a long way toward fulfilling that commitment.”
In “DTV 411,” a cynical, old curmudgeon and a hip, young techno-phile represent analog and digital technology in an entertaining and informative look at the digital revolution and the approaching digital deadline. Digital broadcasting began more than a decade ago and has allowed television stations to send sharper pictures as well as the opportunity to multicast several channels in one.
Most full-power stations are already broadcasting in both digital and analog, but when stations stop broadcasting in analog in 2009 viewers with analog TVs and antennas will lose their signals unless they take action. About 15 percent of viewers in North Carolina receive television exclusively over the air. However, second and third televisions in homes with cable or satellite are over the air, NCAB officials said. These television sets will need to be replaced or connected to a converter box.
“DTV 411” also explains the reasoning behind the federally mandated transition, the basic difference between digital and analog technology, and the benefits it offers not only to viewers but also to providers of emergency services.
At the time of release, the following stations had confirmed their participation in this historic event. Those stations participating are: WAXN, WBTV, WCCB, WCNC, WCTI, WCWG, WECT, WFMY, WFXI, WGHP, WILM, WITN, WJZY, WLFL, WMYT, WNCN, WNCT, WRAL, WRAZ, WRDC, WSFX, WSOC, WTVD, WWAY, WXII, WYCW, and WYDO. (List in Formation)
*CBC stations in BOLD
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Jim Hefner for this capcom story.