Television: December 2008 Archives

Starting Tuesday, December 16th in Detroit and Wednesday, December 17th in Grand Rapids there will be a series of tests aired by local television stations to help assist viewers in determining if their televisions are ready for the February 17, 2009 conversion to DTV.

 

In Detroit, WJBK TV 2, WDIV TV 4, WXYZ TV 7, WMYD TV 20, WUDT TV 23, WADL TV 38, WKBD TV 50, WTVS TV 56, and WWJ TV 62 will all participate in the tests that are scheduled to run every Tuesday through Feb. 17 at different times in an effort to reach as many people as possible with varying viewing habits. The tests will be "road-blocked" each week, airing on all participating stations at the same time for maximum exposure.

Its estimated that almost eight percent (146,000 households) of the Detroit DMA is still completely unready for the February's DTV transition, so these Detroit area stations are going to help viewers figure out if their television is ready for digital (or if its still receiving analog signals) with this series of "soft" DTV tests called Test Your TV Tuesday.

During the test, viewers will either see a green screen marked "PASS", indicating that the television they're viewing is receiving a digital signal and ready for DTV, or a red screen marked "FAIL" if that TV is still receiving an analog signal and additional steps must be taken to ensure that television set is ready for DTV before analog broadcasts cease on February 17, 2009.

Stations will also air promotional messages in advance of each weekly test so viewers will know what time they can expect a test each week. The test is sixty seconds in length and will encourage individuals seeing it to check their other televisions in the home.

The "FAIL" message will also inform the viewer where to get additional information to take further steps - including the Michigan DTV web site, www.michigandtv.com and Michigan DTV Helpline (1-888-MI-DTV-09).

A complete list of dates and times of Test Your TV Tuesdays is available here.

 

Grand Rapids local TV stations WWMT TV 3, WOOD-TV 8, WZZM-TV 13, WXMI TV 17, WGVU/WGVK TV 35/52, WOTV TV 41 and WTLJ TV 53 will be participating in "Test Your TV Wednesdays" beginning on Wednesday, December 17th and then on every Wednesday from January 7th through the Feb. 17 conversion. The tests will be similar in nature to those run in Detroit; Regular programming will be replaced by an on-screen graphic and announcer who will inform viewers whether their TV sets are "ready" or "not ready" for the digital transition. "Not Ready" viewers will be referred to both a local phonebank as well as the Michigan DTV Helpline.

 

Michigan DTV Helpline completes second month of operation

The Michigan DTV Helpline just finished its second month of operation and has already proven to be huge asset to Michigan Broadcasters and citizens alike. Since its launch in early October, the helpline has assisted over 12,000 Michigan citizens with DTV related issues.

Don-Lors Electronics, sponsor and call center provider for the Michigan DTV Helpline, reported 81% of calls to the helpline were from people who needed assistance ordering converter box coupons. As the transition date moves closer, folks realize the urgency to order the coupons so they recieve them in time for the transition. Don-Lors call data shows nearly 75% of Michigan DTV Helpline callers have no internet access, which limits their options to apply for the federal coupons; and although there is a national hotline to order the coupons, many people have found the automated system to be difficult to understand and navigate.

In addition to coupon orders, the helpline is fielding DTV questions ranging from basic information to technical inquiries. Don-Lors Electronics has provided a list of the top four reasons people call the helpline:

  • 1. Assistance ordering converter box coupons
  • 2. Inquiring about expired converter box coupons
  • 3. Technical assistance after they have received and connected the converter box and are having difficulty finding a signal from one or more stations.
  • 4. Technical assistance in connecting the converter box to the TV or the antenna to the converter box.

Don-Lors Electronics estimates as the transition date draws nearer, the need for DTV assistance will rise and the trend will be an increase in more technical questions. In the coming weeks the call center is prepared to take in a higher volume of calls and welcomes any Michigan citizen to take advantage of this unique and helpful tool that is only offered in this state.

 

Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 16, 2008

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Jackson Citizen-Patriot:

For months people have watched ads on TV reminding them to prepare for the switch to digital TV. At 6:08 p.m. Thursday their TVs will tell them if they are ready or not. "This is actually a call to action for those who have not done something," said Mary Epps, DTV coordinator for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. "We really are pressing people." Most TV stations are already sending out two signals: the traditional analog signal and the new digital signal. Thursday, they will interrupt regular programming to test the system... Area stations to test for DTV transition Thursday (Tue, 12/16)

 

West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 16, 2008

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Grand Rapids Press:

Starting Wednesday at 6:08 p.m., local television stations will conduct on-air tests to help viewers determine whether their TV sets are ready for February's nationwide switch from analog to digital broadcasts. Chuck Mikowski, vice president and director of technology at WZZM-TV (Channel 13), will appear in "Ask Chuck" segments during newscasts and online to address concerns about the switch. The Press quizzed Mikowski about the most common questions he receives: I only have an antenna. I do not use cable, satellite or the phone company for my television reception. Do I have to do anything to continue to receive TV?... Digital TV or not? Tech expert from Grand Rapids station answers questions ahead of broadcast test (Tue, 12/16)

 

Comcast has major TV service interruption

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Just before noon today, television customers of Comcast cable in parts of Michigan experienced a major service interruption. The outage of most TV channels appeared to affect Comcast customers in multiple locations across Michigan, from Metro Detroit as far west as the Lansing area and north to Flushing. Just after the outage began, customer service lines appeared to become overwhelmed, resulting in all circuits are busy messages or even hangups after being connected.

After about 30 minutes, customer service lines confirmed the outage but did not provide any details on possible restoration of service. Customers in different locations reported that there were several channels that continued to operate, such as The Weather Channel and Public/Educational/Government offerings. Advertisements that appear to originate on local cable systems were are functional and appeared on channels that were otherwise not showing any programming.

In Macomb county, service was partially restored within about two hours but not all channels had returned.

If the root cause of the outage turns out to be related to today's winter weather, it would be quite ironic for Comcast as it has based a good deal of its marketing on contrasting cable's supposed availability no matter what the weather is compared to what Comcast infers is unreliable service from satellite TV companies in foul weather.

 

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Television category from December 2008.

Television: November 2008 is the previous archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

 

 

 

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