Digital TV conversion is here

June 13, 2009 12:47:46 AM PDT
The conversion from analog television to digital television is here. 7 On Your Side has been keeping track of the big switch.

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Thankfully 100 percent of Bay Area television stations appear ready for the transition.

"It is big work for us. We are changing all of the analog antennas, we are taking them all down and putting up new digital antennas at the top of the tower," says Gene Zastrow who is overseeing the job at Sutro Tower.

One-hundred percent of the broadcasters seem ready to go, but what about the rest of us?

"I think some of us are (ready) and some of us are not," says Winnie Yu, whose job is to help shepherd in DTV.

The official Nielsen figures say 2.5 percent of consumers are not ready for the DTV transition. Cable and satellite operators know that and there is a price war going on. For as little as $10 a month, you can get service, but read the fine print. That is a starting rate.

Some of the video services are offering expedited hook-ups so you that can be up and going by the transition -- something to consider if you have been putting things off.

ABC7 and 2-1-1 will being offering help around the clock when the transition takes place. So if you have questions, we have answers. Here are the numbers: ABC7 (415) 954-7777 and 2-1-1.

Making the DTV transition

There are three ways to make the transition:

  • Get a digital converter box.
  • Subscribe to cable or satellite.
  • Buy a new TV that is digital ready.

Remember, if you're getting your signal over-the-air using a converter box or digital TV, you may need to rescan the channels the first time you use your television after the transition.

So, the first time you turn on your TV on Saturday, June 13th, follow these steps. Press menu on your remote and choose the channel scan function. Your TV set or converter box will then find all the channels available in your area so you can keep watching your favorite shows.

If you still have questions about the digital TV conversion or how you can get a converter box or coupon, please take the time to call these numbers: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or for local help dial 2-1-1.

Coverter box coupons will still be available through the Commerce Department even after June 12. For details, visit www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon

You can also get more information online at www.dtvanswers.com.

The Bay Area also has several walk-in assistance centers to answer your DTV questions and help you get set-up.

Self-Help for the Elderly (407 Sansome Street) in San Francisco offers bilingual services in Chinese. Vietnamese and Chinese speakers can also find help at the Southeast Asian Community Center (875 O'Farrell Street) in San Francisco.

The Oakland DTV Assistance Center (1431 23rd Avenue) also offers Spanish and Tagalog.

For help in the South Bay, visit the India Community Center (525 Los Coches Street) in Milpitas.

In home assistance:

Self Help for the Elderly: 800-958-2999
Apollo Industries: 800-504-5677
Koring Group: 800-310-8515 (Spanish option also)
Deployment Essentials: 866-550-4388
Best Buy: 877-229-3889

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