What's The Status Of The DTV Changeover?

Monday, February 9th 2009, 5:34 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Congress changed the deadline for television stations to end their analog broadcasts, but many stations, including The News On 6, are planning to stick to the original February 17th date.  So, what's the status of the changeover?

For Channel 6, every piece of television transmission equipment on the tower has either been replaced or soon will be.  A new antenna to carry the digital signal is on the ground where engineers are waiting for a calm day to take it to the top.

"At the same time, top everything from the top down," said KOTV Chief Engineer Gerald Weaver.

Until the conversion is complete, there are two sets of everything:  one for analog and one for digital.

The transmitter for the old Channel 6 soon will be turned off, which will save about $10,000 a month in electricity.  The new digital Channel 6 transmitter is waiting until after the changeover when it will finally be able to go to full power.

During the change-out of equipment on the tower, an orange antenna on the side will be transmitting the digital signal at reduced power.

"Because of the construction, we're at half power both on the analog and the digital side to move hardware around on the tower.  We've had to take that approach," said KOTV Chief Engineer Gerald Weaver.

Despite the change to the deadline ordered by Congress, KOTV plans to stick with the original date and end regular programming on the analog channel February 17th.  A reminder to switch to digital will air for two weeks and then the transmitter will be turned off.

Those digital converter boxes that make old TV's work with the new signal are available.  On Monday, Target and Best Buy had plenty, but Wal-Mart and Ultimate Electronics were out.

Newson6.com has a page dedicated to the DTV Conversion.