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The DTV Transition Has Begun

February 17, 2009

Comcast techsIn case you’ve managed to miss the news, tonight at midnight will mark the original DTV transition date, when full power over-the-air broadcast stations were supposed to shut off their analog signal and just broadcast in digital.  According to the FCC, 421 stations will do so tonight.  Since 220 stations have already made the switch, that means 641 stations – or 36% – will have met the original deadline, even though the date has been extended to June 12.

As we’ve made clear in the past, the cable industry is ready to handle the broadcast transition situation, however it plays out.  We’ve spent over $250 million so far in education efforts directed at consumers. More recently, we have participated in the creation of an integrated private/public plan for the DTV Advisor Hotline. We’ve been working closely with the broadcast networks; state broadcasting associations; the National Association of Broadcasters and its member local broadcast stations; the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing; and other stakeholders in the DTV Transition, to develop this call center plan that will leverage an interactive automated voice answering system and several thousand live operators during a period leading up to and after the digital transition.  In addition, the FCC has increased staffing at a call center housing its DTV help line. If you have questions, call 1-888-CALL-FCC for assistance.

Just to reiterate our earlier messages, if you’re already a cable customer, and all your TVs are hooked up to cable, then you most likely don’t need to do anything at all. Relax and enjoy your television.

(In the photo above [Credit: Bill Cramer/Wonderful Machine], we see Shareef Graddy and his fellow technicians at Comcast’s call center in Cherry Hill, NJ on Monday, poised to help consumers who want to make the switch from “rabbit ears.”)