Digital TV FAQ

June 19, 2009 7:07:52 AM PDT
Frequently Asked Questions: Digital Television (D-TV)In response to the DTV signal issues, the FCC said Wednesday, June 17 that it is confident the problems can be solved. Click here to read "FCC Spokesman: VHF Issues Solvable".

If you have questions about receiving a signal or specific television stations, call 1-888-CALL-FCC.

NC Digital Coupon resources



Message from ABC11 Chief Engineer Curtis Meredith:

On Friday, June 12th at 12:30 p.m., ABC11-WTVD switched from channel 52 (UHF) to channel 11 (VHF) as assigned by the FCC.

This change also required us to substantially reduce our power level. Both of these factors have made it difficult for many viewers to receive a viewable signal.

This is especially a problem with indoor antennas. A UHF-only antenna probably won't work for channel 11 anymore.

Since WTVD is the only station in this area assigned to a VHF channel, you may be able to receive all local stations but us.

I assume that you have already rescanned your TV or converter box.

If you have an all-channel indoor antenna, try to re-orient it or raise it to a higher level. If this doesn't work then you'll probably need an attic or outdoor antenna. The most important factor is that the antenna be designed for VHF channels as well as UHF channels.

All of us at ABC11 are very concerned about this loss of coverage and we are working to find a solution. At this time we're not sure what that solution will be or when it will happen but we are meeting with federal officials this week to work out an acceptable plan.



What is the digital television transition?
  • At midnight on June 12, 2009, all full-power television stations in the U.S. will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100 percent digital broadcasting. Televisions made before 1998 are considered analog and will require a converter. Any analog TV being used without cable, satellite or a pay service provider will not work after 12:30pm on June 12, 2009 without a special converter.

How do I know if my TV will work after the switch?

  • Televisions made 1998-2004 may have a built-in digital tuner. To find out if your television has a built-in digital tuner consult your owners's manual or visit your manufacturer's warranty.
  • Generally, televisions and projectors 42 inches in diameter or larger include digital tuners before 2004.
  • If you have purchased a TV since 2004 it probably has a built-in digital tuner.
  • Newer sets that are advertised as "HD-ready" or "HDTV monitor" can display digital and high-definition signals, but will still require a special converter or a cable, satellite or pay service TV connection.

How can I check my DTV Antenna Set-up?
  • The switch from analog to digital will change the signal strength in some areas. While some stations will lose viewers, for the most part, the coverage area for WTVD will improve. To see the new coverage maps for WTVD and other stations in the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville market, Click Here.

    To check your current digital signal strength go to this website www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/ enter your location and check the signal strength for WTVD. If you have a strong or moderate signal you should not have to do anything further. If you have a low signal then you may need to point your antenna in a different direction.

    If your signal is not strong you should be sure to point your digital antenna at the WTVD transmitter. To optimize your signal check the direction of your antenna and point it towards our transmitter. You can check that at this website www.antennaweb.org/

What are my options after June 12, 2009?

  • If you do not have cable, satellite or a pay service for your TV, you can keep your TV and purchase a converter box.
  • Connect to cable, satellite or other pay services.
  • Purchase a TV with a digital tuner.

What is a converter box?

  • A new product that will plug into your analog TV, along with an antenna, and keep your TV working after the switch.
  • It is a one-time purchase ranging $50-$70.
  • A TV connected to cable, satellite or other pay TV services will not require a converter box.
  • For a complete list of retailers, manufacturers and to apply for a $40 coupon you can visit www.dtv2009.gov.

About the coupon:

  • Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program allowing families to obtain only 2 $40 coupons per household to apply to the purchase of up to 2 converter boxes.
  • If coupons are lost or stolen they will not be replaced.
  • To apply for coupons between Jan.1, 2008-Mar. 31, 2009 visit www.dtv2009.gov or call 888-388-2009.

About your converter box:

  • Your converter box does not need to be the same brand as your current TV.
  • The converter box is about the size of a paperback book.
  • You can receive closed captioning with the box.
  • Cannot use the converter box along with cable, satellite or any other pay service.
  • Your VCR/DVD will work without converter box but will not be able to receive over-the-air programming.
  • You can begin using the converter now; however it will not give you HDTV.
  • You can install the converter box without outside assistance.

Why is television switching to digital?

  • Digital broadcasting is expected to deliver clearer picture quality, more programming options and free up airways for emergency responders and other uses.

***Note: Cable, satellite and pay service customers please contact your provider prior to June 12, 2009 about the transitions needed (if any).

Additional phone numbers for information about DTV:
Federal Communications Commission: 888-225-5322
National Association of Broadcasters: 888-388-2009

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