Readers Reaction: Will DTV Work When Weather Worsens?

September 9, 2008

We are aware about this hurricane season that is making conditions along the U.S coasts critical and hard to endure. Even as the DTV transition test i Wilmington, NC, was enforced, storms made it´s mark one again. It is one thing to make a switch to DTV from a broadcasters perspective. And a very much different from a consumers perspective. Many questions arise about TV and weather. Common questions is if there are any DTV reciever that works on battery or TV sets with built in DTV receiver and battery.

One reader of this blog sent in a story, about her families thughts and struggle to get DTV working in a region were the weather newscasts are central. Please feel free to comment or send advise / knowledge.Or if you have similar experiences.

“I have a concern about receiving uninterrupted critical TV
weather coverage here during severe storms and tornado
warnings once analog transmissions are discontinued.

My husband is trying out a digital converter, and we can
consistently receive only one station! We are able to receive
8-10 analog stations using the same antenna!

When dangerous weather approaches, following the path of
severe storms or the path of tornados is very reliable on
analog stations, but as soon as the weather surrounds us,

the digital station is effectively blacked-out! This is similar

to the way that satellite TV transmissions are blocked.

It is assumed that even if we are forced to buy a decibel
power-gain appliance and power-up our antenna reception,
we will still be without critical weather warning broadcasts
when they are needed the most as digital signals are
unreliable at best when blanketed by heavy weather…

Can you help me understand how rural America will be
notified of severe weather and kept safe (as possible) when
analog weather newscasts are no longer available?

I believe this is a very valid concern that should be

addressed immediately with everyone who is vulnerable to

such severe weather threats.

Thank you.

Sharon, MO, USA

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Wilmington Went DTV Only

September 8, 2008

Today Wilmington,NC, did the switch to DTV only. As the slogan said: “first in flight, first in digital”.

Tomorrow will actually be the more interesting day. That is when people realize that their TV sets have gone dark, the DTV box maybe don’t work. So, my prediction is that there will be lines forming outside retailers when people need help. But on Thursday, most of this will be sorted out.

Also, watch C-spans coverage of the event. There will be a huge media effect following this first “test switch”, hundreds of articles and news pieces have already been reporting on the event. And that is the best way to inform the general audience about the upcoming change. It is a “signal” to each and everyone that the transition to DTV is and will be taking place. Also, it is a test if the weather have effect on DTV. Since a storm hit Wilmington as the transition took place as Washington Post reported.

It is showtime in Wilmington, as Washington Post blogger Kim Hart, put it.

Anders Bjers


Will Apple TV Get DTV?

September 8, 2008

Tomorrow tuesday is a big day for Apple fans. I am one of them. At least in one or two aspects. I love my Ipod and my Apple TV. Smartest things since computers where made. I don´t really watch broadcast TV that much any more. And I thought that I wouldn’t write on this blog very much more. But things changed.

Speculations are dense about what will happen at tomorrows Apple event. Will there be a new Ipod or even a new Apple TV?

The spark that caught my attention was a tech blog post on Forbes about one persons wish about the Apple TV. That it would get a DTV tuner, Blu-ray player and more. A fully equiped livingroom saviour for people affected by the DTV switch next year. Or why not everyone looking for something else to watch than traditional broadcast or cable TV. Peter S Magnusson is a Swedish entrepeneur in Silicon Valley. He blogs about how he wishes the Apple TV do more, be more and become a commodity for the massses, perhaps?

He predicts the birth of the Apple TV 3.0.

I am all for that. My Apple TV is the best way to watch TV content. I love it. Easy to use. Great selection of podcasts, that for me is the same as ordinary TV. Who can tell the difference? There are many innovative podcast shows thaht bring fresh ideas and content to the old tube, even now when it is flat.. Also it is a saviour for families with kids, when you might watch Nightly News, Meet the Press at your own terms.

The remote control is a killer – not a single DTV box maker can match Apples simple remote that anyone can handle. And people need that. DTV boxes are far to complicated and hard to use for anyone.

So, if Apple get the idea of mixing DTV with the Apple TV I can only praise them for doing one more smart move, and it is about time.

I wrote about another match between Apple and DTV months ago – check here..

Go Apple TV 3.0.

/ Anders Bjers


Obama on Media and DTV Switch

June 16, 2008

Only a few hours ago businessmedia Broadcasting&Cable released an exclusive Q&A with presidential contender Barack Obama. It is B&C journalist John Eggerton who made a Q&A with Obama via e-mail some time ago and now the reply from Obama is out.

Obama comments on the switch to DTV, something that will take place only four weeks after the new president is sworn in. Obama say that he supports the coalition between the public and private to make a transition that is “without significant disruption”. Obama also comments on the media structure in the U.S and else that is on his agenda. He identifies that the Internet is a form of distribution and natural force that is significant for the development of democracy.

You can find th whole Q&A on Broadcasting & Cable.

Anders Bjers


U.S DTV Awareness On The Rise

March 26, 2008

News has been low lately about the DTV switch. But today a survey reveals that 6 out of 10 Americans now are aware of the U.S. transition to DTV. BroadcastingCable reports about the survey made by Frank N. Magid Associates. In September 2007 a survey found that only 34% knew about the transition. U.S consumer awareness is on the rise and that is good news. However, it is still a good deal of work that remains. The next question for consumers to be asked is more crucial, that is: If they know if they are affected by the transition at all. Cable and satellite viewers are not affected directly.

In Sweden, one of few countries that has completed a national transition, the DTV switch is over and done. Last survey sheds new light on the transition. First, Consumers who were most negative to do the switch, now is among the most positive – their low expectations were exceeded. Second, now one third of elderly people are actively viewing a greater amount of channels than before the switch. Third, most people had a converter box installed before the actual transition – that proofs that the information awareness campaigns worked well. Mission completed!

Anders Bjers


DTV Transition – Test Run Or Not?

March 4, 2008

New York Times reports that FCC Commissioner Michael Copps wants to do a real life DTV-test run. That is: to shut down analog signals and broadcast in digital only. Copps suggests this should be possible to do in some test-markets. Among sources reporting about this is: AP, Boston Herald, Mercury News, MSNBC and Washington Post among many many others.

I think it is a great idea. The US follows in the steps of most European countries that is or already have completed a national or semi-national transition to DTV. In most countries the transition is made in phases. Why the U.S. didn’t choose that path is a mystery.
The U.S challenge? To pick the right market for this test run.

Or is it a test? A test suggests that you switch Off the analog signals and then On again. I think that is hard. I believe that you turn off the signal and then you continue in digital only until the real transition day. Because if you re to turn on the analog signals again, few consumers would bother to get the equipment. Why? Because consumers tend to wait as much as possible to change. And also, would they, consumers, really believe that the TV signal would be shut down? In Sweden’s very first phase a majority of consumers didn’t really believe that the analog TV-signal were going to be shut down. People said -” can you really do that?”.

But when the signal was down it also sent a different message, but even more important, to the audience in the whole country: The transition to DTV will take place.

That kind of “consumer awareness” is something that the U.S. is in need of with less than a year left to the national transition.

You can read the letter from Mr Copps to FCC Chairman Martin here: Letter from Comm. M. Copps. And the reply to Commissioner Copps here: Letter from Chrm. Martin

So, stay tuned when and were a test run will take place. Bets are taken, clock is ticking..

Anders Bjers


One DTV Converter For The Whole House

March 4, 2008

Today I saw that someone had made a Google search on the subject “One converter box for the whole house”. It caught my attention because it is a logic question that many will ask when they know they need a box.

It goes something like – If I have three or four TV sets can I have one box?

When you have several TV-sets in the house but little interest in technology you probably want to make the transition as easy as possible. Creating converter boxes is no rocketscience but to figure out consumers needs and demand and make a great box, that is a challenge. A smooth transition is in many ways the same as easy-to-use technology.
A Swedish company saw the the need from households, elderly and landlords who needed a simple solution for the TV-set. The company made a “Multibox”. It works for several TV-sets simultaneously. You connect the box to the antenna, preferably up in the attic. If you have a system of cables already installed in the house you let the box be connected to that system. Little changes, no extra remote controls, something granny appreciates.

I don’t know if this would work in the U.S. but it is really interesting thought if the U.S market do have a need for a simple solution – one box for the whole house. Another smart thing is that this box still let the analog signal run through so you can continue watching that Low Power TV station that won’t transfer to digital signals.

Check out the Multibox.

/Anders Bjers

P.S. Another smart thing, with a Multibox, the VCR continues to work “as usual”… D.S.