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DTV Updates

By admin Published: June 17, 2009

New stats, and one suggestion for improving reception, after the jump.

As of June 14, the Nielsen Co. estimates 2.5 million homes -- 2.2 percent -- still cannot get digital television. In Northeast Ohio, it estimates just under 3 percent of homes, or about 45,000, are still without digital-TV service.

Adds Nielsen: "Among the 56 local markets that Nielsen measures with electronic meters, Albuquerque-Santa Fe, continues to have the highest percentage of homes (6.9%) that cannot receive digital signals from high-powered U.S. television stations. Providence-New Bedford, where a number of area television stations previously made the transition to digital, have the lowest percentage of homes (less than 1%) that cannot get a digital signal, The markets with the most unready households tend to be in the Western United States, where cable penetration is lower. Also, some viewers in border states
continue to receive signals from Mexico and Canada, while other stations in large geographic markets or areas with mountainous topography can continue using analog 'translators.' "

One question from a reader here: Considering the vagaries of the digital signal, why haven't local stations built "repeaters" to carry their signal into outlying areas? Something for further discussion. I suspect the cost of repeaters, and the fact that they would be aimed at a small part of the available audience (90 percent of which has cable or satellite), would work against stations making the investment.

The FCC Tuesday offered some tips:

Consumers having difficulty receiving certain television channels following the June 12 transition to digital TV should try these two tips for better reception: "double rescanning," and double-checking and relocating their antennas. Meanwhile, local broadcasters are working to resolve those issues that originate with their signal.

Double Rescanning
Many consumers already know about the need to run the "scan" function on their digital converter boxes or digital TV sets periodically following the June 12 digital TV transition. Scanning searches for and "remembers" the available digital broadcast channels.

But in some cases where stations moved their digital frequencies on June 12, simple scanning may not be enough. There is a procedure - sometimes called "double re-scanning" - that can clear your box's memory of saved channels. These earlier scans may have saved channel information that is now incorrect.

There are five simple steps to a double re-scan for a converter box or digital TV, which are as follows:

1. Disconnect the antenna from the box or digital TV

2. Re-scan the box or digital TV without the antenna connected. As with any scan follow the on-screen instructions or owner's manual for your device

3. Unplug the box or digital TV from the electrical outlet for at least one minute

4. Reconnect the antenna to the box or digital TV and plug the unit into the electrical outlet.

5. Rescan the box or digital TV one more time.

Double Check & Relocate Your Antenna

You must have a "VHF/UHF antenna. "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). Some antennas marketed as HDTV antennas don't perform well on VHF channels; some antennas are VHF or UHF-only.

For the best reception of channels 2-6, extend the rods all the way out. For the best reception of channels 7-13, reduce the length of the rods to12-18 inches.

Location, Location, Location

The location of an indoor antenna is key. And one of the most popular spots for indoor antennas - on top of the TV - may not be the best. Consumers having trouble with digital TV reception should try moving their antennas to one of these locations:

· Near a window

· As high as possible

· Away from other electronic equipment, including computers, VCRs, DVD players, converter boxes, and the television itself

· Change the direction the antenna is facing

· Rooftop antennas may be needed in some instances

Consumers may need to run the "scan" function again on their converter boxes after moving the antenna. For more information about antennas and rescanning, visit See the "Install a Converter Box" link for scanning tips. See the pages on Fixing Reception Problems and Troubleshooting Guide for antenna questions. Instructions posted on the DTV Reception Maps page show how to use the maps to choose an antenna. Also, see the DTV Made Easy Guide.

I tried the double rescan just to see if it would get me WOIO, since I've been picking up the other stations. It made no difference. But neither have I tried any major movement of my antenna.

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