Beginning Saturday all televisions in the United States are to transition to digital television marking the end of analog television.
Starting Friday at midnight television stations will be settling into their permanent digital television transmission and channel listing.
They will discontinue the use of their analog signal completely on Saturday.
With those dates near at hand several residents may have questions about their television service.
l Your service will not be affected if your TV is hooked up to satellite or cable services, said a customer representative with DTV.gov.
l According to information on the DTV Web site, if you own a television with a built-in digital tuner you can receive the digital transmission using an antenna or rabbit ears. If you own an older analog television and have been receiving your signal with an antenna or rabbit ears over open air, you will need to buy a converter box to continue viewing television.
l Many residents have already taken advantage of the DTV converter box coupon, which covers most of the converter box's cost. Coupons are still available for residents to apply for until July 31.
l According to Nielsen market surveys New Mexico has one of the highest percentages of unprepared TV viewers in the nation, according to a press release from U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, (D-N.M.) office.
Udall has been working with the FCC to increase DTV awareness in the state, the release says. He also supported delaying the digital transition and increasing funding for converter box coupons, the release states.
• The FCC has vendors across the nation to help consumers with the transition – including free in-home installations, as well as walk-in centers to provide additional assistance.
For specific information on vendors in your area, go to www.dtv.gov and enter your zip code in the “Get Help Locally” tool box. Or call 1-888-CALLFCC (1-888-225-5322) and a call center agent will assist in finding local resources.
• In many cases, existing antennas should work, but they may need to be adjusted once they are hooked up to the converter box or new DTV set. Consumers should make sure they have an antenna that receives both VHF and UHF signals. In some cases, a new indoor or outdoor antenna may be needed. If there are reception issues, use the Reception Mapping Tool at www.dtv.gov (enter address and see which stations are expected to provide a signal to that household).
• Rescan. Some TV stations are changing channels after June 12, so consumers will need to rescan DTV converter boxes or DTV sets to pick up new channels. In some cases, a “reset” is necessary for converter boxes or DTV sets to pick up a new station if there was another station using that channel previously.
• If you haven’t applied for a DTV converter box coupon, you won’t receive it before the transition (it takes nine business days to arrive once ordered). Ask a friend or neighbor for an unexpired coupon, or consider purchasing a converter box without a coupon. Coupons are available until July 31 (or until funds run out) at www.dtv2009.gov or by calling 1-888-DTV-2009.