6 million may lose digital TV reception

Scott Fybush scott@fybush.com
Mon Feb 11 14:41:32 EST 2008

Dan.Strassberg wrote:
> Did the report say anything about what percentage of people who use 
> rabbit ears for analog TV will have to install an outdoor (normally 
> roof-top) antenna? I've heard that nearly everybody who wants 
> over-the-air DTV reception will need an outdoor antenna--and even with 
> roof-top antennas, many of these people will find the reception 
> unsatisfactory. They will be forced to switch to cable or satellite. 
> I've never had cable and don't want it. I figure that my analog sets 
> don't owe me anything and I'm willing to buy a new TV or two but the 
> prospect of having to pay for cable every month really ticks me off.

The first generation or two of DTV tuners were quite numb, and it didn't 
help that few stations back then had maximized their signals.

A lot can change in five or six years, and it has. By the middle of 2009 
or thereabouts, most of the nation's TV stations will have dismantled 
their old analog antennas and repositioned their DTV antennas, which 
will make a big difference in received signals.

(For instance, my local CBS and NBC affiliates share a tower originally 
built in 1949. Their analog signals, on channels 8 and 10, are combined 
into a channel 9 batwing antenna atop the tower; there wasn't much room 
for DTV antennas, so they were positioned wherever there was space lower 
down on the fat self-supporting tower, which was already thickly 
encrusted with FM antennas. That's not ideal positioning, and the 
antenna configuration will be changed after the analogs sign off, so 
that 10 - which stays on 10 - and 8's digital signal, on 45, are both on 
top of the tower. A lot of people who can't get those digital signals 
now will have a much better signal soon.)

For Dan in Arlington, I can't imagine there'll be much trouble getting 
the DTV signals from the 128 tower farm with a decent indoor antenna and 
a tuner chip of recent vintage.


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