We're less than five months away from the digital TV conversion on Feb. 17, 2009 and closing fast! It's time to make sure our families, neighbors and friends understand what to do.
We suggest you check our Web site which has been nominated for a regional Emmy for Informational/Instructional New Media. There you'll find clear information on the upcoming transition: where to purchase a converter box; links for recycling old TVs (should you elect to buy a new one); and a tool to help you determine your solution for watching Eight's digital channels.
For Arizonans, three variables will determine your solution:
(1) the county in which you live;
(2) the type of TV you own; and
(3) the way you receive TV signals.
Eight's transmitter on South Mountain in Phoenix will broadcast only digital signals after Feb. 17, but our translators, (repeater transmitters) which are spread across the state beyond Maricopa and Pinal counties, will continue to deliver analog signals to homes on Feb. 18. These translators will eventually be upgraded (we are awaiting FCC approval), and when they are, they will broadcast only digital signals.
If you live beyond Maricopa or Pinal counties and you want to keep watching TV on your analog set, we recommend that you act now and take advantage of the government's $40 converter box coupon program, and purchase a converter box model that has the analog pass-through feature (also called RF pass-through). This feature allows you to receive both digital and analog TV signals—you'll be ready when digital signals come to your county.
Regardless of where you live, if you choose to replace your analog set, today's digital TVs have both analog and digital tuners—that means they can receive both types of broadcast signals.
Reminder: You do not need to buy a new TV for the upcoming transition.
Antenna solutions vary from home to home. Your current home antenna should work with a new digital TV or converter box (test it before you buy a new antenna). With indoor "rabbit ears," there can be areas in a room where the broadcast signal is weak ("dead spots"). You may need to adjust or relocate your antenna for best results. With digital broadcasting, homes that do not have a line of sight to the transmitter (homes on the opposite side of a mountain or some other physical impedance) may need specialized antenna solutions.
Bottom line: Don't wait until February to find out if your current antenna works.
In the spring of 2007, a survey of Eight's members revealed that 69 percent of member households subscribe to cable, 19 percent subscribe to a satellite service and 14 percent rely solely on over-the-air (OTA) broadcast signals using an antenna. However, 30 percent of member homes connect at least one TV to an antenna.
Reminder: When DTV becomes the sole broadcasting standard in your area, non-digital TVs that use an antenna will need to (a) connect to a pay TV service, or (b) connect to a digital-to-analog converter box.
Maricopa and Pinal Counties Enjoy DTV today
Today, over-the-air (OTA) households equipped to receive a digital television signal in Maricopa County and most of Pinal County can enjoy Eight's three digital channels: Eight HD (8.1), Eight Create (8.2) and Eight World (8.3). For some cable households, Eight HD is available on Cox 708 and Qwest Choice 308; Eight Create is on Cox 80; and Eight World is on Cox 88. Check with your cable service provider for more information.
Eight's goal is to reduce the confusion surrounding the DTV transition. If you have DTV questions, check Eight's Frequently Asked Questions, e-mail us at AskEight@asu.edu or call Eight's viewer services at 480.965.2308.
Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 8pm
Find out what astronomers know about a supermassive black hole that is lurking in the center of our galaxy. Could it devour our entire galactic neighborhood? Nova investigates one of the most bizarre corners of cosmological science-black holes.
You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story
Tuesday, Sept. 23 through Thursday, Sept. 25 at 9pm
Join narrator Clint Eastwood for a three-part celebration of the iconic motion picture studio that began 85 years ago as a vision shared by four brothers from Ohio.
Saturday's lifestyle, cooking, travel and how-to marathons can be seen on digital channel 8.2 using an antenna or on Cox 80.
Saturday, Sept. 20
Northern Arizonans won't want to miss Vicki Payne (left), Sloan Payne-Rutter, Joe Lamp'l, Eric Johnson and the Ask This Old House team's tips for home and garden winter preparation. Learn how to install energy efficient windows, upgrade the fireplace and select the best insulation.
Saturday, Sept. 27
Explore Spain's gorgeous beaches, graceful flamenco dancers, macho bullfighters, the "running of the bulls" and beloved native son Pablo Picasso with world travelers Darley Newman, Burt Wolf, Rick Steves and Rudy Maxa (left).
KNOW YOUR WORLD
PBS' award-winning public affairs programs and documentary series can be seen on digital channel 8.3 using an antenna or on Cox 88.
Saturday, Sept. 20 at 9pm
Join host Maria Hinojosa as she chronicles the personal and public challenges faced by women in positions of power that range from head-of-state to high school debater.
The Chances of the World Changing
Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 9pm
Hear the story of Richard Ogust, who began dedicating his time and resources to rescuing endangered turtles 10 years ago. Now, the 50-year-old writer shares his Manhattan loft with 1,200 turtles, including five species extinct in the wild. His growing "ark" and preservation efforts are threatening to exhaust him, mentally and financially.
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What programs interest you? Tell us by visiting your Eight member profile.
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