Switch away from analog gets delay

While hundreds of broadcast television stations nationwide are changing from analog to all-digital signals today, tri-city viewers won't see any changes.

"All of the major network affiliates they're all going to be doing what we're doing, broadcasting in digital and analog," said Rich Howe, station manager at KAZT Television in Prescott. "It doesn't affect us or the major networks in Phoenix for now."

The new date for viewers using antennas to make the switch is June 12.

Part of the reason for the delay is the money behind the federal coupon program set up to cover the bulk of the new converter box costs ran dry and lawmakers were worried that consumers wouldn't be ready.

So President Barack Obama took action earlier this month and signed a bill into law postponing the conversion for four months to give them more time.

And Obama's new economic stimulus package also includes money for the program to help people get with the program.

Art Brooks, president/ chief executive officer of the Arizona Broadcasters Association in Phoenix, said Phoenix broadcasters KPPX (the Ion Network) and Spanish language network Telemundo, are making the switch today.

"Outside of that, everybody's holding fast until the new date," he said. "Everyone's going to receive television just the way they have always done."

Consumer's choices include buying a digital television, subscribing to satellite or cable services or getting a converter box.

Brooks says the move gives millions of people extra time to get their converter box coupon.

"For now, keep doing what you're doing," Howe said. "If you don't have satellite and you don't have cable, you've got to do something soon. "

Idaho resident Mary Shadduck, in town visiting her son, sat at the food court in the Prescott Gateway Mall Monday afternoon fairly confident that she has nothing to worry about.

Shadduck says she has cable at home.

"I hope I don't have to do anything, they keep saying I don't," she said. "It's no big deal to me, when they do it, they do it."

For information, visit www.dtv2009.gov or www.dtvanswers.com.