Most TV stations to offer analog signals through June 12

Television DTV analog digital staticThe vast majority of full-power television stations that have not yet converted to all-digital broadcasting plan to keep their traditional analog signals on the air until June 12.

Of the 1,058 stations that now offer analog broadcasts, 927 say they will keep sending out analog signals until June 12, the final cutoff date recently set by Congress. (The Federal Communications Commission lists those remaining analog TV stations here: http://www.fcc.gov/DA-09-589A3.xls. Please note that you’ll need Microsoft Office or other Excel-compatible software to view the file.) That buys consumers who have not yet gotten DTV converter boxes or digital TVs time to get ready.

The other 131 stations will switch off analog broadcasts sooner, most on April 16, an interim deadline set by the FCC. Some two dozen PBS stations that would suffer financial hardship by waiting until then will be allowed to go all-digital between March 30 and April 16.

Earlybirds also include 33 major-network affiliates in smaller markets (seven ABC stations, seven CBS stations, 11 Fox stations, and eight NBC stations) along with ABC and CBS affiliates in Denver and a Fox affiliate in Philadelphia. (The FCC lists those TV stations turning off analog broadcasts here: http://www.fcc.gov/DA-09-589A2.xls. Please note that you’ll need Microsoft Office or other Excel-compatible software to view the file.)

Commercial stations that want to turn off their analog signals before June 12 must comply with stiff consumer education rules recently announced by the FCC.

Digital broadcasts are already available in virtually all areas, so we recommend that households switch to digital reception before the analog cutoff, allowing time to iron out any wrinkles in the new setup.

—Bob Williams