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Happy DTV to you

April 27, 2009 - Rob Weaver
You might not have noticed, but this is DTV Take Action Week. Gov. Ted Strickland has proclaimed it so, and he wants Ohioans to help make sure we're all ready for the No Really, It's Fore Sure This Time Big Switch on June 12.
 
“I encourage everyone to talk to their neighbors, family and friends in need of assistance to ensure that they will have access to television service, which is a vital source of local information, weather updates, and emergency bulletins,” Strickland said, according to a news release.

It's easy to work that into a conversation. Just ask, “Are you ready for the DTV conversion?”

The likely answer is: I think so. Until the switch happens, who knows for sure?

The basic preparation is simple: If you have a newer TV with a digital tuner, you're all set. If you have cable TV or satellite service, you're all set. If you have an older, analog TV and a TV antennae, you don't need a new set, just a converter box ... plus maybe a new antennae.

That's right, your old one might not work. Of course, if you have a digital tuner, you can test that now by trying to tune in channel 30.1, WTGE. The Toledo PBS station went digital during the original Big Switch date.

To check on anticipated signal strength, open up a Web browser and type in   www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps. You'll be prompted to add your ZIP code. Apparently, signal strength matters with digital broadcasts; there's no “snow” as with analog reception.

One other thing I've noticed: The digital signals apparently will be in the widescreen, 16:9 aspect ratio. The picture might be stretched vertically, have the ends cut off or have black bars above and below the image on older TV screens with the 4:3 ratio.

Of course, while the picture and sound quality should show noticeable improvement with digital broadcasts, the quality of televised content itself isn't expected to improve.

 
 

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