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February 12, 2009

Senator Inhofe Urges Oklahomans to be Prepared for Digital Television Transition

New Legislation Extends Deadline to June 12, 2009, but Many Broadcasters Will Make the Switch on February 17th

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is reminding all Oklahomans to be prepared for the digital television (DTV) transition. On February 4th, Congress passed the DTV Delay Act, extending the date on which broadcasters are mandated to make the switch from analog to digital from February 17th until June 12th. However, many broadcasters will opt to make the switch as early as February 17th, which is allowed under this new legislation.  The legislation also extends the expiration deadline for converter box coupons requests to July 31, 2009.

“Digital television represents one of the most significant developments in television technology. Its nationwide deployment will be a complex and multifaceted endeavor,” said Sen. Inhofe. “I urge anyone receiving their TV signal via antenna to take the appropriate steps to make the switch to digital.”

On June 12, 2009, all TV stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting, but many will do so as early as February 17th. Analog televisions that are not connected to cable, satellite, or another pay TV service will not receive a signal after this date.  To learn whether your television requires a digital converter box, and how to make the switch to DTV, visit: www.dtv2009.gov or call 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009). For further questions regarding converter box installation problems, reception issues or the early termination of analog stations, you may contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or visit their website at www.dtv.gov.

Background and List of Oklahoma Broadcasters Planning to Switch February 17:

In December 2005, the House and Senate passed legislation calling for American broadcasters to transition from analog to digital transmission. The legislation created the “Digital Television Conversion Fund,” which is being used by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce for a Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Program.  To date, $1.34 billion has been allocated for converter box vouchers. 

All analog televisions that currently get programming through an antenna will need to be plugged into a special TV converter to receive digital broadcasts. Digital-to-analog converters, which easily plug into television sets, will allow viewers to continue to watch their programs after the transition, which will come for some viewers as early as February 17th. Converters not only offer better picture clarity, but also more channels for viewers. If consumers do not want to purchase a converter, they will need to either purchase a digital television or subscribe to cable, satellite or another pay television service.

Under the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Program, U.S. households may request, from the NTIA, up to two coupons worth $40 each to be applied toward the purchase of digital-to-analog converter boxes. In January, funding was exhausted for the convertor box coupon program, and the NTIA began putting coupon requests on a waiting list. In H.R. 1, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, widely known as the stimulus bill, $650 million is made available for the Converter Box Program, which will fund the convertor box coupon account. Under the DTV Delay Act, the expiration date for converter box coupons has been extended to July 31, 2009, and the NTIA has been authorized to issue replacement coupons for those that have already expired.

Here is a list of Oklahoma television broadcasters that intend to make the transition on February 17th:

CHEYENNE                         OK                  PBS                             KWET            

OKLAHOMA CITY             OK                  My Network               KAUT-TV     

OKLAHOMA CITY             OK                  PBS                             KOCB              

OKLAHOMA CITY             OK                  FOX                            KOKH-TV

OKLAHOMA CITY             OK                  CBS                            KWTV

BARTLESVILLE                  OK                  TBN                            KDOR-TV     

CLAREMORE                       OK                  PBS                             KRSC-TV      

EUFAULA                             OK                  PBS                             KOET

MUSKOGEE                         OK                  CW                              KQCW

TULSA                                   OK                  ORU                           KGEB

TULSA                                   OK                  My Network               KMYT-TV                   

TULSA                                   OK                  PBS                             KOED-TV                   

TULSA                                   OK                  CBS                            KOTV

LAWTON                               OK                  ABC                           KSWO-TV       

 

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