Digital Television is Here 

Catherine Pegram

The biggest change in television since color, is here.Today, the federal government pulls the plug on the analog TV signal and replaces it with a digital one. TV5 will make the switch tonight at 11:59:59 p.m.Catherine Pegram has some last-minute advice on what you need to do to be ready for it.As of midnight tonight, television technology as we know it, will change forever. The current analog signal will be replaced with a digital one. Viewers who get their signal through a cable or satellite company don’t have to do anything to prepare for the switch. But Mainers who get their signal over the air will have to work to keep their picture. “If you are still watching on analog, you have to move now – as soon as possible – to get over to digital. That means getting a digital converter box or the TV set. You may need to upgrade your antenna, but you’re not going to know that until you do get that converter box or new television that receives digital signal.”TV5 Program Director Steve Hiltz says it’s easy to test out your converter box. And you don’t have to wait until 11:59:59 to find out if it works.TV5 is already sending out a digital signal. “We’re not going to make anything better right now. No one’s moving to another frequency, no one’s increasing their power, so if you’re not getting the signal, you’re not going to get it after midnight tonight. If you are getting the signal, you will continue to get them as you are. It’s okay to rescan – rescanning is always recommended, but I don’t think it’s going to make a difference to anyone who’s not receiving a signal right now.”If you’re receiving a signal with a converter box, Hiltz says be aware that you could still lose that signal because of interference from trees or weather.”Look at your antenna situation. Look at your set up. Maybe you can raise your antenna. Maybe something like a signal amplifier can help you get that signal back again.”There are lots of websites that can still help you through the d-t-v transition. Such as:www.d-t-v.govwww.d-t-v answers.comwww.d-t-v for and www.d-t-v 2009.govAnd if that doesn’t work. “If you’re experiencing trouble with the signal, the FCC has set up a hotline that you can call and get help there. You can call the stations during normal business hours, they can usually help you out as well. And you can leave a message at the station.””Just like analog, digital isn’t perfect. Broadcasting over the air has never been perfect. There are folks who could not get the signals for years of stations they wanted to see. Sometimes digital has improved that. In fact, there are many cases people have told me they’ve picked up signals they didn’t see before but there are going to be some folks who are going to lose some channels probably and we’re going to try to help them.”Catherine Pegram, WABI TV5 News.And that hotline to the FCC for DTV help is 1-888-CALL-FCC.