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Many interesting byproducts of the analog-to-digital conversion next February are arising. One example is an article I saw about all the portable battery-operated analog TVs that will be obsoleted, with no current replacement available. It was written in the context of emergency notification, but also applies to those small TVs folks bring to sporting events.

With the conversion, my understanding is that analog translators (e.g., in the mountains and outlying areas) won't be affected and can continue broadcasting their signals. Whether stations will do this is another matter.

As a byproduct of these outlying areas, I was thinking about the Class A and Class B countour definitions. Digital signals don't transmit as far, and areas will then be in the Class B countour rather than the Class A countour.

Does this mean more areas and more people will qualify for distant locals by satellite, spanning Dish Network and DirecTV, because they won't be able to receive a digital over-the-air signal where previously they could receive an analog over-the-air signal?

Thanks and regards,
Eric Nixdorf
 

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There is no provision under current law allowing more Dish/Direct subscribers to receive "distant locals." So, if you are not eligible today you won't be eligible on Feb. 17, 09.
 

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Godfather
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I doubt the digital change over will have any bearing at all on distant network eligibility unless they change the rules governing eligibility. I believe the current rules state that if you can get grade B or better signal strength with an OTA then "NO SOUP FOR YOU." And allot also depends on if the the local affiliates in a given DMA want to be nice about it. Like the ones in my DMA are real @#$%^ about it.
 

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Godfather
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Based upon the technology in use today for contour A, B and C, one can receive a analog signal without much effort. The picture quality would not be great, but you should get something. At my home in Longmont, Colorado I can receive KCNC, KMGH and KUSA very well; KWGN, KTVD, KDVR, KBDI, KRMA not at al; KGWN (Cheyenne barely). For a couple years I received New York and Los Angeles network stations, plus National PBS until the Denver locals became available. For the most part I live 35 miles from the Denver transmitter site, but between me and the site are two mesas and a couple very large hills

When DTV starts in February, none of the Denver stations will be able to be received here; unless I make an investment in a good sized roof antenna. Fortunately, I have the Denver locals and I will not have to worry about it. But, for people who had marginal signals you will most likely lose OTA altogether unless you have a direct line of site to the transmitter site(s).

If you live on flat terrain or in cities with few tall buildings, you should see not much change in your service; though you may have to play more with your antenna because DTV has less leeway than analog for catching a signal. If you live in hilly terrain, the chnaces are you will have to buy a good sized roof antenna.

The FCC has not rewritten the contour rules which date back to the 1950s and the waiver software for distant services still reflects the 1950s standards. In my case, I will go from borderline contour B to contour C or worse. I wish that our wonderful Congress would ignore the NAB lobbyists and allow Americans to receive any distant signal they want to (select major cities); as is the case in Canada. The amount of money wasted in the courts by DISH, DirecTV and the NAB could have been used to provide extra bandwidth to make this happen.

Finally, because 99% of DTV broadcasts are on UHF, it is very likely a number of translators will be upgraded to free DTV frequencies. All analog is suppose to be turned off on 17 February, 2009.
 

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nmetro said:
All analog is suppose to be turned off on 17 February, 2009.
FYI: Low power stations are not required to cease analog on that date.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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Digital signals don't transmit as far, and areas will then be in the Class B contour rather than the Class A contour.
Where did you get that information? I'm getting one OOM digital station virtually 24/7 where the analog version of that same station is hit and miss (usually miss). ATSC transmission, done right, can have a superior coverage area.

Take for example this OOM station, it's WKBN-DT from Youngstown, OH. The coverage map for their signal reaches all the way from Cleveland to Pittsburgh! That's one heck of a "rim shot". They do it with a combination of power & tower that the other stations in their market don't have.
http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/FMTV-service-area?x=DT603946.html
 

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Actually for the same power (Kilo-wattage) digital is watchable further out than analog, that is why the FCC has reduced maximum allowed power on digital stations - to keep the coverage areas similar.
 
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