Many areas of the Detroit television market can now receive a new full power over-the-air TV station as Ion Television's WPXD-TV Channel 31 Ann Arbor is now operating its new transmitter from Southfield, providing the station full-market coverage of the area for the first time.
WPXD first started started testing the new transmitter, located near I-696 and M-10, in January and it has been noted on and off the air since then. WPXD is now running a scroll on its old transmitter (located in western Washtenaw County) informing viewers they will need to rescan their digital TV equipment in order to continue receiving the station. The scroll is not running on the Southfield transmitter.
WPXD viewers that use an antenna may also need to re-aim their antenna in order to receive the station's signal. The new WPXD facilities broadcast on physical channel 50 - the same virtual channel that used by CW affiliate WKBD-TV which actually broadcasts on channel 14. Digital TV receivers use mapping to display TV channels on their virtual numbers (often the same channel numbers used when the stations broadcast in analog) instead of the physical channel number, if they happen to be different.
WPXD's new transmitter is carrying all three subchannels: 31.1 is the main Ion Television broadcast in HD (16 x 9, 720p), Ch. 31.2 carries the children's targeted network qubo, and 31.3 is broadcasting Ion Life.
Since the station first signed on in 1981, it has broadcast from west of Ann Arbor, near Chelsea. The station's transmitter there will be turned off as soon as engineers are comfortable the new facility is operating properly and becomes licensed. Some viewers in the area west of Ann Arbor will lose their coverage of WPXD when this happens - but most will still be able to receive Ion programming on WZPX-TV Ch. 43 Battle Creek.
The sign on of WPXD from Southfield makes it the first full-power TV station to obtain full market reach in Detroit since WADL Channel 38 started operations from Mt. Clemens in 1986.