Television stations to test digital readiness


November 11, 2008

On February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations must turn off their analog transmitters and begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format. These transmitters have been the connection to homes and cable operators since television broadcasting began in the 1940's.

For the past 60 years, TV broadcast stations have provided a vital link to Pennsylvania's citizens in times of emergency and the broadcasters want to be sure everyone is prepared to receive their digital signals before the transition is made. To help consumers and cable providers determine if they are ready for the transition to digital, the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Broadband Cable Association will conduct a statewide test.

On November 17 at 6:25 p.m., television stations across Pennsylvania will conduct a test of consumer's and cable operator's readiness to receive its digital broadcast signals. Participating stations will either cease operation on their analog transmitter, leaving the viewer with a snowy screen or will broadcast a message to the effect that “if you are watching this message, you or your pay provider are not ready for February 17, 2009 - the date analog television ends.” The test will last for 60 seconds.

Viewers will be advised that if they are receiving television programming via home antenna and fail the test, they will need to take certain action within 90 days. For those details they can call 1-888-DTV-2009 or go to or to  If they have cable/satellite service and fail the test, they should contact their provider and ask when they will be ready for the digital television transition.

Viewers receiving programming from pay providers (cable, satellite or telephone) that are already delivering the stations' digital signals and over-the-air viewers with digital receivers or converter boxes should experience no programming interruption.


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