DTV-Day Plus 36 Hours: What We’re Hearing
By: William Check, CableTechTalk
Reports from the FCC as well as our contacts at cable corporate and field offices indicate that the broadcasters DTV transition has been completed with a minimum of viewer disruption. The Commission held a news conference on Saturday to say that most TV viewers weren’t affected when more than 900 full-power broadcast stations cut off their analog transmission before midnight Friday, effectively completing the long-awaited transition. (You can read the Commission’s news release at http://www.fcc.gov/DOC-291384A1.pdf.)
Cable’s DTV “war room” operation has been under way since Thursday, featuring daily conference calls with more than 100 cable executives around the country, constant electronic communications with those executives, daily conference calls with FCC officials, and regular communications with representatives of the broadcasting and consumer electronics industries. All of these outreach efforts turned up remarkably few problems.
Broadcast stations in a handful of markets had lost their digital signal, or were forced to reduce the power of their new digital transmission. As we reported on Friday, this created some challenges for cable engineers in those markets who had to work hard to obtain and keep those signals up and running on cable systems. As of the time of this writing, a very small number of broadcast stations are still having transmission problems, meaning that some of them can’t be carried by cable systems until the problems are fixed. In all of those cases, broadcasting and cable engineers are collaborating closely to ensure continued cable carriage of the signals. And the vast majority of issues that arose over the weekend were resolved within a matter of hours.
As far as we can tell, cable customer care has been largely unaffected by the transition as well. A few cable call centers reported small “spikes” in call volumes this weekend at times when broadcast transmissions may have failed. But as broadcast signals have been restored in most of those areas, call volumes have returned to normal.
We’re continuing to work with the FCC and to keep a close eye on all developments. We’d appreciate knowing of any issues you’ve come across…or hearing any comment you might have about the course of the broadcasters’ DTV transition.