Monday, December 29, 2008

is this my new TV?

Contrary to popular belief, today is the fifth day of Christmas. In lieu of golden rings, I'm taking a break from holiday themed blog posts to share a podcast with you. Today is also 50 days until the digital television transition. As a cable and satellite subscriber, I thought I was ready until WATE ran a test recently and my cable company failed. Way to go, Knology!

On yesterday's public affairs radio program, I interviewed Russ Manning of East Tennessee Public Television. They had to make the switch early when their analog transmitter broke down last June. You can listen to the show by clicking on the play button below or you can download it by right-clicking here. During the interview, Russ mentions that you can get more information from their website. He also recommends a site called Antenna Web, where you can enter your address to find out about the broadcast towers near you and where to point your antenna to receive their free over-the-air broadcasts. There is still time to get a converter box coupon before the switch.

After the taping ended, we were still talking about local TV. I told Russ about my blog entry on WBIR's local HD programming. And we both wondered why WVLT cannot control the volume on their local commercials.

I had fun with the on-air conversation too, especially since I got to gripe about the way some local stations switch from HD to SD before the late local news. I also talked about a blog post by a woman named Cassie whose mother hated the new digital TV they bought for her on Black Friday. Toward the end of the show, Russ and I reference a very funny viral video that I told you about forty days ago. Whether you've seen it before or not, please take two minutes to enjoy this PSA from "Talkshow with Spike Feresten." And then you'll be up to speed for the thirty-minute podcast.

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Blogger Barry said...

I'm confused - how could Knology fail a digital transmission test, if they're a cable company and broadcast in digital already?

I thought this transition was going to affect only people who got their signals over the rabbit ears?

Blogger Frank Murphy said...

Hey Barry,

Channels 6, 8 and 10 did digital tests recently. I watched all three on my Knology connection. Channels 8 and 10 looked fine but channel 6 did not.

In the podcast interview, I ask Russ Manning about it. If I understood his answer correctly, each channel provided a digital tuner to each cable company. Then it's up to the cable company to install the tuner. It would appear that Knology switched to digital for channels 8 and 10 but not for channel 6.

Knology and the other cable companies, down-convert the digital signals to analog so that their subscribers don't have to do anything differently. Of course they also sell a digital package for subscribers who want to get HDTV via cable.

Russ and I figured that Knology will realize their mistake and fix it prior to February 17.

Blogger Frank Murphy said...

Burn! I finally stopped procrastinating and applied for my own coupons because I read today that "cable-ready" TVs which are connected directly to cable without a cable box (like mine) might be affected. Here is the fail message that I got:

We have determined that you are eligible to participate in this program and your coupon application has been approved. However, because program funding is not currently available, you will not receive coupons unless more funding becomes available. If program funding becomes available you should receive your coupons in the mail.


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