How to prepare for the digital TV transition

06/09/09 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Tuesday) | Listen to this entire show:

Good afternoon, welcome to Radioactivity. I'm Rob Lorei. Coming up, we'll take your questions about this week's digital conversion of all broadcast television stations.

The federal government is expecting "significant problems" when the U.S. switches to digital TV this Friday, according to acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps. Most of the problems will come when consumers with antennas and converter boxes fail to re-scan their televsions after the switch.

The switch to digital TV, or DTV, will start at 12:01 a.m. ET Friday morning. The transition is expected to be done by midnight. More than 780 stations have already made the switch. Antennas and scanning have been consistent trouble spots. About 3 million over-the-air homes won't be ready, according to the Nielsen rating service.

We're joined now by Jerry Ulcek, an electronics engineer for the Federal Communications Commission's Tampa Field Office.

For more information call the FCC at 1-888-481-2772. For help installing your converter box, free assistance is available. Call: 1-888-481-2772; 1-800-582-4250; 1-866-474-7286; 1-866-202-4596

The FCC has contracted with vendors across the country for help with in-home installation services. The service is free, but consumers must supply their own converter box and antennas.

Other tips: Don't forget to check antennas, which may need to be adjusted or even moved to a new location. To make sure you're getting all channels, rescan converter boxes.

For more information, go to or call the FCC at 888-CALL-FCC.

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