06/18/09 — Television changeover not smooth for everyone

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Television changeover not smooth for everyone

By Laura Collins
Published in News on June 18, 2009 1:46 PM

Given the choice, David Liles would rather go back to black and white television than deal with the problems he's having with the switch to digital.

Liles said he bought two converter boxes for his two TVs, but since the changeover last Friday he has not been able to get his favorite channels.

"Channel 11 used to be my favorite and I don't get that. Channel 5 is now channel 48 and the signal that I do get is not acceptable," he said.

The whole ordeal has left him rather disgruntled.

"It was an idea promoted by idiots and handled by fools," he said. "People that wanted those frequencies could've used the ones they had us on."

Liles said he just bought a new TV two years ago and isn't willing to purchase a new one because they are too expensive.

Unfortunately, he's not the only person having trouble finding their old channels. It's a situation media outlets across the nation are reporting people are experiencing.

Darren Smith, store manager at Radio Shack in Goldsboro, said they haven't heard of channels switching numbers, but said a lot of people have come in for antennas.

On Monday, however, the Federal Communications Commission issued an advisory reminding people that they need a VHF/UHF antenna in order to pick up the whole spectrum of channels.

According to the FCC release, "'rabbit ears,' rods or other elements are needed to pick up channels 2-13 (VHF), and a circle, bow-tie or other element is needed to pick up channels 14-51 (UHF)."

It went on to explain that "some antennas marketed as HDTV antennas don't perform well on VHF channels; some antennas are VHF or UHF only."

To make matters more complicated, the release also said that for best reception of VHF channels 2-6 to extend the rods all the way out, and for the best reception of channels 7-13 to reduce the length of the rods to 12-18 inches.

Other tips for consumers experiencing trouble with digital TV reception include moving their antennas

* near a window

* as high as possible

* away from other electronic equipment, including computers, VCRs, DVD players, converter boxes and TVs.

Consumers also should try changing the direction their antennas are facing, and in some cases, may need a rooftop antenna.

Then, once the antenna is in the proper position, consumers should run the scan function again on their convertor boxes or digital televisions.

That, Smith explained, will wipe out the current channels and allow for the correct ones to be programmed.

"They'll basically lose all their channels if they don't do it," he said.

For more infomation see www.DTV.gov.

Steps to double rescan a TV or converter box:

1. Disconnect antenna from box or digital TV

2. Rescan converter box or digital TV without antenna connected (to clear memory)

3. Unplug converter box or digital TV (to ensure that memory is clear)

4. Reconnect antenna to box or digital TV and plug in

5. Rescan converter box or digital TV again