We had a great time meeting with viewers and answering questions at our two DTV Brown Bag Lunch & Learns this month. Also known around the office as the DTVBBL&Ls (okay, so acronyms aren’t always a good idea) the free classes attracted dozens of viewers in need of answers to some of the mysteries surrounding the upcoming DTV transition. With assistance from representatives at WKRN (News 2), WTVF (News Channel 5) and WZTV (FOX17) here in Nashville, we also set up a phone bank a couple of nights this past week to take phone calls from viewers during primetime hours. On Monday, we even preempted Antiques Roadshow* — ONLY on our analog channel — with a live in-studio show to explain the transition and further answer questions. We’re doing the best we can anticipate the various issues viewers may have in making the transition before we and other local broadcasting make the switch to digital permanent on February 17.
Questions about the buttons on the remote for your converter box or the kind of antenna you should buy vary by individual situation, but there is one question that we seem to get more than others that we can answer here. Many viewers have received their DTV Coupon, purchased their converter box, hooked it up and done a channel scan, all quite smoothly. The only problem is that they’re getting every local channel except NPT. “I can see every channel except yours,” we’re told.
Here’s the reason that might be happening. In preparation for the transition, while we’ve had to broadcast both digital and analog, we’ve been broadcasting our digital channel at low-power on UHF channel 46. If you’ve got a converter box and UHF/VHF antenna, you might not have had any problem receiving us. When you scanned, the box would find us and place us on channel 8.1. However, if you’ve got a UHF/VHF antenna and live far away from our antenna, or within our broadcast area but behind a hill or other obstruction, you still might have a problem because of the low-power signal. Also, if you only have a VHF antenna, you’re going to have trouble picking up DTV channels, since most stations are broadcasting their DTV signals on UHF right now.
This should resolve itself come the morning of February 18, after we’ve killed the analog signal, and moved our digital back in its place on VHF channel 8 in all its full-power glory. But you’ve got to rescan that morning so your converter box (or digital-tuner enabled TV) can find it in its new location.
In the meantime, you can go get a UHF/VHF antenna (some of them are as inexpensive as $10) and do a rescan to get us digitally, but you’ll still have to do another rescan on the 18th. Either way, write a note on your calendar, and you neighbor’s, and your parents’, to do a rescan on the morning of February 18 or sometime after midnight if you’re up late.
If you have elderly parents or neighbors without computers, please, please share this information with them.
While you’re on the computer reading this, here are some other great resources:
*Did you believe the value of that first edition of the Mormon bible? Even with the water stains and ratty leather cover? Completely caught me off guard. I was thinking around $5,000. Not even close.