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Home > About Abt > News > "ABC12 Begins Digital Broadcasting Friday Morning"

 

ABC12 Begins Digital Broadcasting Friday Morning

ABC12 Mid-Michigan
June 9, 2009

By Bill Harris

(06/09/09)--The transition to digital TV is now just days away.

That digital transition will take place early Friday morning here at ABC12. Following Nightline we will turn off our analog signal and broadcast only in digital.

Here's what you need to know to keep us on your TV.

A lot has changed since RCA introduced television in this 1939 company video. First black and white, then color in the late 60s. Today TV is making another major evolution -- a digital evolution.

What is digital television? Will digital television still be free? Why are we switching to digital television anyway?

Those are all good questions.

Until a few years ago, television stations only transmitted analog signals using radio waves. Right now, TV stations, including ABC12, also transmit a digital signal, which is a series of zeros and ones.

The analog signal of TV broadcasters will go away Friday morning, leaving only the digital signal.

"The government mandated this change back in 2005, and this has been a long process for us to get to 2009," said ABC-TV executive Emily Barr.

If you're using a rabbit ears antenna or a rooftop antenna that is connected to an older TV set, what you're watching right now may go away unless you make a change.

"You will not have a picture on any channel. You will see nothing. Literally, you will turn it on and you will see snow, like in the old days," Barr predicted.

To receive digital broadcast signals, your TV must be equipped with a digital tuner. Most new TV sets sold since March 2008 have them built in already, so they're ready to go.

If you're a cable or satellite customer, you're ready to go, too.

But if you're not connected to cable or satellite and you're TV isn't digital ready, you must buy a digital converter box and connect it to a good VHF-UHF antenna.

"Some people that have cable or satellite, there's often a room that goes forgotten -- a guest room, a workout room, some additional place that you're not even thinking about where they got a TV that's a legacy TV that's analog," Marc Cook of ABT Electronics said.

"They're suddenly going to realize 'uh oh, I have no signal coming in.'"

If you have any questions on the digital change, you can call 888-CALL-FCC or 1-800-672-6230.

One more thing to keep in mind. On Friday morning you will need to rescan your digital television or convertor box to keep our signal on your TV.

Copyright ©2009 ABC Inc., WJRT-TV/DT Mid-Michigan. All Rights Reserved.