Digital TV Transition Goes Unnoticed at WCU

The transition from analog to digital TV (DTV) has gone virtually unnoticed at Western Carolina University. The government mandated switch, which was originally supposed to take place Feb. 17, was delayed until June 12 in order to give Americans more time to prepare.

The move to digital TV was prefaced by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order that required all TVs to be manufactured with digital tuners as of March 1, 2007. This was followed by the announcement of the switch from analog to DTV, which would render all TVs equipped with only analog service without the use of a converter box.

According to the FCC, the switch to DTV would deliver “video and data services that [would not be] possible with analog technology.” These services include digital HDTV, which is more efficient to produce than analog HDTV.

The FCC created a website, to ease the transition to DTV. The website provides information about DTV, as well as offering sections dedicated to giving coupons ($40 government documents that can be exchanged for a converter box), buying converter boxes, and installing or fixing said boxes. The website also includes a search engine to aid finding local DTV resources.

How has the switch to DTV gone in western North Carolina? WCU Student Eric Smith, who owns a TV, says he “didn’t notice.”

Another student, Adam Chinery, says that he had no problems with the switch. He admits, however, that his grandparents were not so lucky.

“They went out and bought one of the boxes” Chinery says, “and installed it. Now they only get two channels.”

As of June 12, the FCC has cut off all analog broadcasts. Luckily, most students seem to be having little trouble adapting because on campus television broadcasts were already digital.