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.