Digital TV test on Wednesday: If you see it, you should heed it
Several major broadcast TV stations in the Tampa Bay area market have planned a digital television test at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, airing a message about the DTV transition that should be seen mostly by those watching analog broadcasts using an antenna.
In other words, that's everyone who will lose TV service on Feb. 17, when every station in the country switches solely to digital TV broadcasts.
Tampa Bay area broadcasters, working with the Florida Association of Broadcasters, pulled together this test in the last 10 days or so, aimed at giving those at risk of losing their television signal a three-minute message about the digital TV transition. The list of participating stations includes all the bay area network TV affiliates and PBS station WEDU-Ch. 3.
As I pointed out in a package printed Sunday in the Times, if you're getting analog TV broadcasts over an antenna, you'll need to get a digital-to-analog converter box, buy cable TV or satellite TV or buy a digital TV capable of receiving digital signals before the switch.
If you're set for the digital transition, you will see regular programming at 6:30 p.m. If you're getting analog broadcasts through an antenna, you'll see a message with information on how to find out what you can do to get ready for the dgitial switch.
"The message will basically say, 'If you're seeing this, you will have a problem with the switch and you need to check into solutions,'" said Rich Pegram, general manager at WFTS-Ch. 28. Local stations plan to air several tests between now and Feb. 17 to spread word about the change.
Wednesday's test is planned as a reminder of sorts. Some cable customers may also see the message if their provider hasn't switched to rebroadcasting digital TV signals yet. But if you have cable television, you will continue to receive TV after the switch, even if you have an analog set.