The digital conversion happens on Friday, June 12.
***You MUST rescan your digital television or convertor box on June 12 to continue to receive Channel 8****
Analog broadcasting will stop and the only way to watch television will be with a digital converter box on your analog television, a digital television and receiver, or if you subscribe to a cable or satellite service.
If you have a converter box, hook it up and try it out. For some, the changeover will be seamless, for others, there will be problems to deal with. If you are having issues with your signal, try to move your antenna around in a few different directions. NOTE: With any movement of your antenna make sure to rescan your convertor box.
If you have been using a digital television or a converter box, rescan early and often. Along with the end of analog broadcasting, at least a half-dozen stations in the Houston area will be changing their digital broadcast configuration. You will need to rescan your unit in order to be able to receive them after June 12. Changes will be taking place all day, and possibly all weekend, so rescan often at first, then regularly after that, new services will consintune to be developed for some time to come.
What does “rescan” mean? Each convertor box is slightly different, but you should find a “menu” button on your convertor box remote control. The menu will bring you to a series of options for your convertor box, displayed on yout TV. Look for an option that is called either “Channel Scan,” “Auto-Channel,” “Auto-Scan,” or something similar. The convertor box will then scan through all of your available channels.
The key to making the switch successfully is a good antenna. You’ll find quite a bit of information about antennas below. One thing to keep in mind about Channel 8 - the maximum power in our current digital broadcast configuration is at a considerably lower level than what we’ll be able to reach when we shut off our analog signal on June 12. We recently tested the new system and it appears that the higher power we’ll have should alleviate many of our reception problems. We’ll be changing over around 4:00 a.m. on Friday the 12th, so be sure to rescan.
While some modern antennas have traded rabbit ears and bow-ties for more stylish components, any quality antenna, no matter the shape, must be capable of receiving channels 2 through 51 (UHF and VHF). The digital signal will provide most viewers with better sound and picture, and more channels. But there are many reasons why a good antenna is important for DTV:
The “digital cliff” effect: if your reception is weak, you won’t get snow. You’ll get no picture.
The U’s: More stations are moving to the UHF range channels 14-51 -- so you’ll need that bow-tie or loop, or its update, to pick them up well.
The V’s: You need rabbit ears or a more modern equivalent to pick up the channels that remain in the VHF range channels 2-13.
Some viewers may have to install roof top antennas. But try good ears and a bow tie first. You may be pleasantly surprised by how good they’ll make your TV picture look.
With hurricane season upon us, it is more important than ever to make the switch to digital television and ensure your household is prepared with proper access to television weather and other emergency information. Consumers who have battery-powered analog televisions must also be sure to connect a battery-powered digital-to-analog converter box to receive emergency warnings when the power goes out. There are several options available for consumers to supply back-up power to a digital-to-analog converter box. These external power sources include rechargeable battery packs, uninterruptible power supplies, car battery adapters, and small power generators. New battery powered digital televisions are also available at your local retail stores as well as on the Internet. In addition, detailed instructions for building your own power supply can be found at: http://www.dtv.gov/topfaqs.html#faq7.
Converter box coupons WILL be available after June 12, while supplies last. Consumers will have until July 31, while supplies last, to order coupons by calling 1-888-DTV-2009; however, it is too late to order coupons and receive them in time for the June 12 transition. Coupons will expire 90 days after they are mailed, so consumers must act quickly to redeem them. Consumers should call ahead to confirm availability of coupon-eligible converter boxes on the day they plan to shop.
Free technical assistance WILL still be available after June 12. The FCC will continue to provide assistance after June 12 to anyone that still needs it. In some areas the FCC is offering free in-home installation services and walk-in centers to consumers who need technical assistance until the end of June, and in some locations, through July. The FCC’s call center will continue to be available to all consumers. For more information, call 1-888-CALL FCC or visit http://www.dtv.gov/.
The organizations listed below will provide help by telephone, at a local site, or free in home assistance.
VN Teamwork, Inc. Free In-home Assistance - Phone Support - Full Service Walk-in Center 281-495-8936 11210 Bellaire Suite 118 Houston, TX 77072
Installs Inc. Free In-home Assistance 800-582-4250 AR, LA, NM, OK PR, TX
Deployment Essentials LLC Free In-home Assistance 713-409-6789 Within 75 miles of Houston, TX
Delta-21 Resources, Inc. Full Service Walk-in Center 877-207-9406 Best Buy 5133 Richmond Ave Houston, TX 77056
Delta-21 Resources, Inc. DTV Clinic 877-207-9406 Best Buy 13238 Northwest Freeway Houston, TX 77040
R & D Training & Technical & Service, Inc. Free In-home Assistance 866-202-4596 AR, LA, NM, OK, TX and PR
National Association for Hispanic Elderly (ANPPM) Phone Support 626-564-1988
Communication Service for the Deaf Phone Support 877-388-4968
National Asian Pacific Center on Aging Phone Support 800-336-2722
Outdoor Antennas A good outdoor antenna will provide the best reception. "Consumer Reports" magazine periodically rates TV outdoor antennas. A copy should be available at your library.
A better resource available to people with internet access is the non-profit organization, AntennaWeb. They have a database based on zip code that rates reception areas by a color code. The consumer electronics industry, and specifically the antenna manufacturers, have agreed to use this color code on their products.
In general, you want a directional antenna which receives signals from one direction only. Do not use an omni-directional antenna which receives signals from all directions.
An outdoor antenna should be aimed for best reception. In most cases, best reception will occur with the antenna pointed at our KUHT-TV transmitter in Missouri City. In some cases, best reception will occur with the antenna pointed in a different direction. Experimentation is the key.
Outdoor antennas deteriorate with age. Metals corrode. Wind can flex the lead-in until metal breaks. An outdoor antenna should be inspected for damage annually.
Indoor Antennas No indoor antenna is as good as an outdoor antenna. However, landlords, deed restrictions, temporary housing, and other conditions may hamper your use of an outdoor antenna. As a compromise, some folks put an outdoor antenna in their attic. That gives better reception than an indoor antenna and avoids some of the roof problems. Be advised that radiant barriers and some insulation packaging may prevent a good signal from reaching an attic antenna.
In the late 1990's, Congress passed the "Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act." This established a federal law that overrides any and all state, local, condo association, landlord, etc. rules against outside antennas, including off-air broadcast antennas, as long as the installed antenna does not interfere with any neighbor's view. If the landlord entity making the rule does not wish to acknowledge the federal mandate, the individual or group may need to get a lawyer to fight this out, but will eventually win.
Many apartment managers and condo associations have come into compliance with the law and established areas on their buildings for antennas.
"Rabbit ears" antennas may work in strong signal areas. Find a dealer who will let you try the antenna on a money-back agreement. The antenna may or may not work at your location. Some indoor antennas have a built-in RF booster amplifier, which increases the strength of the signal before it goes to the TV. The instruction sheet for the antenna will tell if it includes an amplifier. Coaxial cable (RG-6 or RG-6U) can be used to connect the TV antenna to your receiver. A matching transformer, known as a balun, may have to be used on both ends of the cable. See your antenna and receiver instruction manuals for more information. Connect coaxial cable only to the terminals marked "75 ohms." If the terminals are marked "300 ohms," a balun must be used between the cable and the terminals. The dealer who sells the antenna can advise you.
Are you DTV ready? Go to www.dtvtransition.org/ click on the box “Is Your TV a DTV?” There you can enter your tv’s manufacturer and model number. You can also go to www.pbs.org/digitaltv/ for a comprehensive resource of information on the digital transition.
PBS and its member stations are very excited about the transition to digital television, which will allow us to bring viewers even more outstanding programming, as well as offer better sound and picture quality.
In fact, almost all public television stations across the country currently offer digital channels including the PBS HD Channel.
Some of the most acclaimed PBS series and specials are available in high definition, including, Nature, NOVA, American Experience, Great Performances, Ken Burns' landmark film The War and much more.
PBS and the Digital Transition Together with its member stations, PBS is actively working to assist members and viewers with information about the digital transition. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the upcoming switch from analog to digital signals, with links that will guide you to more information:
Will I be able to continue to use my current television?
If you subscribe to cable or satellite, your access to broadcast channels should not change. However, if you currently rely on over-the-air signals via an analog television and an antenna ("rabbit ears"), you will need to act to continue to receive television. You must either:
Purchase a low-cost converter box to use with your existing analog television
Purchase a digital television that can receive DTV signals
Subscribe to cable or satellite
For more information on ensuring you have the equipment needed for the digital transition, please visit the following sites:
In order to help consumers with the digital transition, the federal government has created a coupon program that will significantly reduce the cost of a set-top box. The coupons will be redeemable at select retailers.
To learn more about the coupon program, including how and when to request your coupons, coupon value, and redemption instructions, please visit Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program. You can also download the brochure and/or fact sheet from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration:
Consumers may also call a toll-free number, 1-888-388-2009 (1-888-DTV-2009), for an update in English or Spanish.
How do I install my Digital Converter Box?
This guide will help you understand what a digital converter box looks like and how easy it is to install and use. For complete instructions on a specific model of converter box, please refer to the literature included with your converter box. Click here for the Digital Television Converter Quick Start Guide.
What if I do nothing?
If you do not receive your signal via cable or satellite and do not have a television with a built-in digital tuner (or have a set-top converter box), your television will not work after June 12, 2009.
Did you know HoustonPBS broadcasts three digital channels?
8.1 (Channel 308 on Comcast cable) also known as KUHT HD, is a High Definition (HD) version of our analog channel. Most of the time, like our commercial colleagues, we upconvert our analog signal, but when we have a high definition or digital wide screen program, it is broadcast and received as true HD or digital wide screen.
8.2 (Channel 323 on Comcast cable) also known as KUHT2, is an alternative public television channel featuring programs for adults during the day on weekdays, additional kids programs on Saturday and Sunday mornings, programs of all kinds that we don't have in the schedule on Channel 8, and a prime time schedule that rebroadcasts the key programs from the previous evening for convenience. In addition, 8.2 carries some of our key daily programs like The NewsHour, Nightly Business Report, Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley at alternate times.
8.3 (Channel 324 on Comcast cable) is a 24/7 Spanish language, non-commercial public television service made up of a combination of re-formatted PBS programs and acquisitions from other services, all designed to reflect public television’s mission with everything from quality children’s programs to lifestyle programs, documentaries, public affairs, culture and a nightly feature film.
Get Ready for Digital TV
Description Come along with famous do-it-yourselfers Norm Abram and Kevin OConnor of THIS OLD HOUSE as they visit several homes in a Boston suburb to prepare the homeowners for digital TV. Plus, receive how-to guidance and tips to help you successfully make the switch to DTV in your home before the June 12, 2009 deadline. And, hear the latest DTV news in the field from Maria Hinojosa, Senior Correspondent from NOW ON PBS. Visit http://www.pbs.org/dtv for more DTV tips and information.