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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 12, 2009 at 2:09 PM

DTV: Seattle FCC says no big issues, but advises a rescan

The sky did not fall, and American households have survived the transition to digital broadcasting.

Pretty much everyone knew it was coming, and the most common problems involved people getting their signals and antenna setups sorted out, apparently.

At least that’s what it sounded like, talking to Kris McGowan, director of the FCC’s Seattle office. She’s been working at a call center providing toll-free help (1-888-CALL-FCC).

So far she’s heard of nobody calling because the digital switch took them by surprise. I wonder if all the DTV hand-wringing and educational outreach was effective and worthwhile, or overblown.

An example of the calls McGowan has handled:

“One person came home and he’d scanned and just wasn’t getting everything that he thought he would get, but then told me that his friend had taken the amplifier off the antenna,” she said.

McGowan had a good tip for people who rely on broadcast TV: Have your digital receiver rescan for signals later today, even if you already scanned this morning.

Some people scanned before all the stations switched over, she said, so it’s a good idea to scan again later today and even once more on Saturday to be sure the receiver has tracked all the new signals.

The number of calls was relatively low in other communities, according to a release from the National Association of Broadcasters. Its survey said stations that converted earlier today received an average of 130 calls “with rescanning and converter box hook-up being the top issues for viewers.”

As of 1 p.m. Eastern, stations in Washington, D.C., received an average of 110 calls, the majority with questions about rescanning. Houston stations received an average of 675 calls, Atlanta stations averaged 50 to 60 and Philadelphia stations averaged 140, the NAB reported.

Comments | More in | Topics: Digital TV, digital TV, DTV

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