When Will Broadcasters Make the Switch to Digital? - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

When Will Broadcasters Make the Switch to Digital?

by Leanne Gregg
NBC News

If you thought you were confused before about the switch from analog to digital television transmission, since Congress passed legislation allowing stations to delay the switch, there will now be a variety of dates in cities across the country when the conversion will take place.
 
Television stations like KUSA in Denver will delay making the switch from analog to digital transmission that was supposed to take place Tuesday.

But the Federal Communications Commission says more than 600 stations will either have already turned off their analog signal, or will do so Tuesday.
 
Earlier this month Congress voted to give stations a choice to delay the transition until this summer to give consumers more time to get ready. 

Without a converter box, after the conversion, old TV's with an antenna will go black.
 
Millions of people are on a waiting list for coupons after a government program to help offset costs of converters ran out of money.

A sudden loss of television service is a concern since so many people rely on TV for warnings. 

So the FCC is requiring television markets that are moving ahead with digital to agree to transmit at least one analog signal for news, public affairs and emergency alerts for 60 days after the switch.
 
But continuing both analog and digital transmission will cost stations thousands up to tens of thousands of dollars a month.

"I think they are looking at their individual markets and how many people are ready versus the number of people who would be disenfranchised if they lost their analog signal," said Tim Morrissey the General Manager at Charlotte, North Carolina NBC affiliate WCNC.

Customers, stations and the government are hoping for a smooth transition, after a rocky start.

"You are really never going to know until the time is that you're actually going to throw the switch," said engineer Ken Highburger with NBC affiliate KUSA in Denver, Colorado.

A switch, the first of it's kind in a new era of television.

NewsWest 9 will continue to broadcast our analog signal for several months.

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