When television broadcasting switches to digital on Feb. 17, 2009, most Americans won’t be affected, because they already get their TV signals from cable or satellite. But in Idaho, more than 400,000 people still get their TV signals over the air – a percentage that’s well over the national average of 15 percent. In the Treasure Valley, a whopping 27 percent of households get their TV over the air, and they’ll all have to do something before Feb. 17 or they’ll stop being able to watch TV. “We’ve been pretty aggressive at trying to communicate to at least our viewers the fact that the conversion is coming … and they really need to take some action if they want a smooth transition from the television that they have now to the next step,” said Peter Morrill, general manager of Idaho Public Television.
There’s more. Idaho Public TV has identified four major areas where after the changeover, there won’t be any over-the-air TV signal at all, at least from IPTV: Idaho City; the upper Wood River Valley, including Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey; the east side of Emmett, with downtown as the division point; and the large, upscale Harris Ranch neighborhood in southeast Boise. In all four of those locations, the topography interferes with TV transmission, but all can now get a snowy or staticky TV signal over the air. With digital TV, snow and static are a thing of the past – there’s either a perfectly clear picture, or no picture at all. But with the low-quality signal that reaches those areas, the result will be no picture at all. You can read my full report here, and click here for more info from IPTV.