Digital Transition Test: Pass-Fail-Who The Heck Knows?

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imageMy living room TV passed — and failed — a five-minute test of the Feb. 17 transition to digital television. The exercise on local TV stations across the U.S. was conducted in my area tonight (the tests are being done on different days) to let consumers see if they need converters for the February switch from analog or if their converters worked. All of our sets are connected to digital sources. The Samsung in the living room was set up for digital out of the box and is connected to DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) and Charter (NSDQ: CHTR) Cable. At 6:25 p.m. central, while we watched on DirecTV, NBC affiliate KSDK warned that the test was starting: if we could see the anchors after the warning sign, we were ok. So far so good. Then we switched to PBS affiliate KETC. Not so good. Instead of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, we saw the digital TV equivalent of the blue screen of death and a warning that satellite or cable subscribers seeing the screen should call their providers. (We didn’t have a chance to check the other stations or Charter.) End result: who the heck knows.

2 Comments

Marcel McNicoll

We are subscribed to RCN (ex-Starpower) here in the DC area and we have switched permanently over to digital in November. The channel switch per se went OK but we have had other related issues. First, we had many problems with our internet connection in the days following the switch. We had to basically reboot our cable modem every couple of hours. After calling the tech support and having a technician coming in, the problem is now fixed. He told me that his support calls have doubled since the transition. Second, I am flabbergast at the POOR quality of the TV signal we now have. the DTV thing was all supposed to be about QoS,no? WE did not want to pay the additional monthly fee for the HDTV set top box, so we have a normal DTV converter. The signal is weak. What they have done is that instead of servicing good digital signal, they are compressing every channels down to around 2 Mbps in order to cram (and offer) more channels than before. More is better I guess. Not for us; we preferred to have less basic channels but with images that we could look at without pixelation and noise. But it seems the FCC has not enforced quality unto the carrier in the digital transition mission.

Jim Erbe

We have a Samsung HL67A750 67" HDTV. Fresno is where I live and our TV channels are on UHF, such as channel 24, 30, 47, and so on. I have a standard bow tie antenna attached to the chimney. I receive all the analog channels just fine with it. I even connected a converter box to a TV in our bedroom and it received the digital channels with that antenna. For some reason, the big screen TV failed while viewing channel 30, our local ABC channel. We bought this TV in August and it should have passed. Is the failure due to not having a so-called HDTV antenna, like a Terk32, Winegard PR-8800, Clearstream 4? Confused.

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