The Countdown Is Done... We Have Ignition!

By: Michael Riddle
By: Michael Riddle

We've known about it for years. We talked about it ad nauseam for many..many... many months. The day is finally here. Welcome to the wonderful new world of digital broadcasting!

The countdown is done.  It's over.

You've heard about the transition to digital television for many months now, almost "ad nauseam".
That day is here. We pulled the switch... sorta.
WITN has ceased airing regular programming on WITN analog channel 7.  However, during this final week of analog broadcasting we received a last-minute, special request from the Federal Communications Commission to provide "Nightlight" service to eastern North Carolina. We agreed to that request, so if you turn on WITN analog channel 7 you will see a 20-minute loop consisting of NAB produced informational programming, this "Just Ask Mike" segment and sponsorship information from Suddenlink. One surprise, this programming is offered in both English and Spanish... though my voice has a little higher pitch and feminine characteristics when heard in Spanish!
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about the transition
“I watch WITN using an antenna. Will I need a new TV?”
Yes a new television with a digital tuner will solve the problem. Most television sets sold after 2005 have digital tuners built into them. However, if you can’t afford a new TV, then all you need is a digital converter. Digital converters are low-cost, available and easy to connect using either a coaxial cable or RCA cables. If you’ve ever hooked up a VHS machine or DVD,  you can hook up a converter.
 
“O.K. I’ve hooked up my converter but I am having trouble picking up WITN. What’s wrong?”
 
I’m afraid that your antenna is letting you down!
 
WITN broadcasts its digital signal on the UHF band
 
You need an antenna capable of picking up a UHF signal. A small set top antenna might work, but they are designed for city dwellers. If you live too far from the WITN tower in Grifton a set top antenna may not do the job. Some antennas are sold as HDTV antennas. Don't buy it.  A antenna that worked well in the 1990's will work just as well with digital television in this decade. Remember that modern day construction can effectively knock down reception by up to 50% for an antenna mounted inside a building
 
Try moving the antenna or using an amplified antenna. Place your antenna near a window, facing towards Grifton, which is between Kinston and Greenville. .
 
Otherwise you may need an outside antenna. There are several good antennas available that can pick up UHF signals as far as 90 miles away.
If you’re not ready, don’t despair. Assistance is available.
Call the FCC hotline at: 1-888-CALL FCC or 1-888-225-5332. They plan to man this hotline 24 hours a day for several more weeks. The FCC also has a list of local agencies that can work with viewers to install and configure converters and antennas.
You can also call us here at WITN, or e-mail us at dtv@witn.com and we will do our best to help you make the transition, as smooth and easy as possible!
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