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Washington TV Stations To Simulate DTV Transition

Kim Hart

If you rely on over-the-air signals to watch TV, you'll get a glimpse on Tuesday of what will happen when broadcasters shut off analog signals Feb. 17.

On Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 5:28 p.m., nearly a dozen TV stations in the Washington market will stage a soft shut-down of their analog signals. The signals will go dark for two minutes, giving viewers time to determine if their TV sets are DTV compatible.

During those two minutes, an on-screen message slate will appear across your TV screen to tell audiences whether or not they are ready for the transition. If your TV is not equipped to receive digital signals, a graphic on the screen will direct viewers to www.DTV.gov, the federal government's Web site about the transition. A designated hotline will be taking viewers' live calls on the day of the test.

Here's a list of stations participating in the soft shut-off:

WRC-TV (NBC, Channel 4)
WTTG-TV (FOX, Channel 5)
WJLA-TV (ABC, Channel 7)
WUSA-TV (CBS, Channel 9)
WFDC-TV (UNIVISION, Channel 14)
WDCA-TV (MNTV, Channel 20)
WETA-TV (PBS, Channel 26)
WHUT-TV (PBS, Channel 32)
WDCW-TV (CW, Channel 50)
WPXW-TV (ION, Channel 66)
WJAL-TV (Ind., Channel 68)

TV stations across the country have been holding these minutes-long tests to simulate the transition. At first, many of the tests lasted only 30 seconds or so. But it became apparent during the early switch in Wilmington, NC in September that more time was needed for consumers to make sure each TV in their household is compatible with digital technology. Many of the tests running between now and February last between two and five minutes.

TV sets served by cable and satellite providers should not see the test message.

Expect to see a ramp-up of messages and commercials about the transition, which is now less than 85 days away.

By Kim Hart  |  December 1, 2008; 3:45 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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