|What The Digital TV Deadline Means To Local Viewers|
|By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
Published June 10, 2009
The final deadline for the switch-over of primary television broadcast signals from analog to digital is coming up on Friday, June 12. For many consumers across the country still using free airwaives to receive TV signals, that means the need to update equipment on older TV sets to continue to receive signals. If a person’s TV is not already equipped to receive a digital signal, then a special converter box will be needed. This piece of hardware can convert the digital signals into an analog format that the older model TV set can read.
But Moapa Valley residents will have a little longer than Friday’s deadline before they will need the converter. In a Moapa Valley Television Maintenance District (MVTVD) meeting held Tuesday June 3, board members expressed concern that the nationwide publicity campaign driving American consumers to obtain converters, may cause confusion for local residents.
“The main difference is that the deadline is just for primary broadcasters,” explained MVTVD Board chairman, Daniel Pray. “The district is not a primary broadcaster. We receive the primary signals at our facility on Beacon Hill and then re-broadcast them down into the valley.”
Over the past year, the MVTVD board has been busy updating its receiving equipment so that it can receive the primary broadcast signals in digital by the deadline without any interruption of service. “We have taken care of the digital deadline for the valley,” Pray said. “We have our digital receivers all in place and ready to go.”
But, as a secondary broadcaster, the MVTVD is not held to the digital deadline in its transmissions. They will, at least for a time, continue re-broadcasting the signals they receive in an analog format.
The district does have plans in the works, though, to begin equipment updates to re-transmit signals in digital as well. The district recently spent $15,300 on a set of sophisticated antennas. These antennas come in two arrays; one to face the upper valley and the other to face the lower valley. The antennas have the capability of transmitting a signal many times more powerful than anything being sent by the old antennas currently in use.
“Once we have all these updates in place, our signal to the communities will be far and away better than it has ever been,” Pray said. The district hopes to have its first digital channel in operation by the end of this year. Other channels will follow, one by one, after that. But it isn’t until then that Moapa Valley residents will start needing digital converters for their older model television sets, Pray said.
“It is important for our customers to realize that they don’t need to rush out just yet,” Pray said. “And if they have already bought a converter and found that they don’t need it yet, they shouldn’t get rid of it. They may need it soon.”