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Tue, Sept. 17

Guest Editorial: Are you ready for next generation of television?
DTV transition in layman’s terms

The transition to digital television is coming - are you prepared?

On Feb. 17, 2009, Arizona over-the-air television stations will make the federally mandated switch from analog to digital broadcasting.

This serves as the biggest revolution in broadcast TV since the advent of color television in the 1950s.

More than 20 million households and 70 million television sets will be affected nationwide, with 369,580 of those analog-only households based right here in Arizona.

And that is why the Arizona Broadcasters Association along with all local broadcast stations, has chosen to spearhead the consumer education campaign.

Imagine waking up on Feb. 18, 2009, grabbing your cup of morning java, turning on the TV and seeing... absolutely nothing.

Not a pretty picture for those accustomed to enjoying their regular local channels.

For those who receive free, over-the-air (OTA) broadcasting signals and use a set-top or roof-top antenna to receive those signals, you run the risk of losing your signal if you do not make the transition to digital.

There are three easy options that viewers like you have to successfully make the transition by Feb. 17, 2009 and avoid losing your local broadcast signal:

1. Purchase a DTV converter box at your local electronic retailer. The federal government is issuing two $40 coupons per household to go towards the purchase of the converter boxes.

A converter box technically enables an analog television set to continue to display a television picture after analog transmission ends.

Details about the coupon program are available on the National Association of Broadcaster's official DTV website, www.dtvanswers.com.

The coupon program is managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce's NTIA.

If you do not have an Internet connection you can call toll free - 1-888-DTV-2009.

As of June 6 - 287,317 coupons for converter boxes have been ordered in Arizona.

2. Purchase a TV set with a digital tuner and still enjoy over-the-air viewing with full digital quality.

3. Subscribe to cable, satellite or other pay TV service to continue using your analog TV set.

To see if all desired local broadcast stations are carried by that service check with your local service provider for details.

With the digital television transition just eight months away, local broadcasters and the Arizona Broadcasters Association in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), are leading the charge to ensure Americans have all the tools and information necessary to successfully make the transition.

Arizona consumers have multiple opportunities to learn about the transition.

The broadcasters' grassroots campaign will leave no stone unturned in a pursuit to inform every Arizonan about the transition: from road shows and informational representatives speaking at community events to a speakers' bureau where broadcasters and community leaders will speak about the transition at local and state-wide events to PSA's and much more.

Though the transition was federally mandated in 2005, we've been preparing for the switch to digital for more than a decade.

Many stations are already broadcasting in both analog and digital and are preparing to switch off their analog signals Feb. 17, 2009.

Some viewers may already be reaping the benefits of these local and national dual broadcasts.

The best part is: you have help. We, along with your local television broadcasters, will be with you every step of the way to ensure that you have all the information necessary to make the transition.

Don't get left behind. Make the switch to digital now and save your television signal before Feb. 17, 2009.

Call the Arizona Broadcasters Association at 602-252-4833, your local TV stations or go to www.azbroadcasters.org, www.dtvanswers.com or for the coupon program www.DTV2009.gov or 1-888-DTV-2009.

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