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Broadcasters Plan DTV Shut-Off Tests

As previously announced by FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and reported by B&C, , New York broadcasters will hold a “soft turnoff” of their analog signals on Oct. 28 to educate consumers about DTV transition, station group ION Media Networks formally announced today.

The New York analog shut-off test, which includes all the stations within the Metropolitan Television Alliance (MTVA), is being organized by ION and other broadcasters as part of a national “DTV Transition” testing campaign that will also include temporary analog shut-offs in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Hartford, Ct.

The New York test will feature a two minute shutdown of the normal analog feed between 5:59 and 6:01 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28. To start the test, three beeps will be heard and a message will appear on television screens informing the viewer that their television is not ready for the digital transition.  The message also will direct viewers to, the federal government’s information site about the conversion, or to a helpline at 1-877 DTV-5353. Participating New York metropolitan area stations include:

-          WABC – TV (ABC, channel 7)

-          WCBS – TV (CBS, channel 2)

-          WFUT – TV (Univision, channel 68)

-          WLIW – TV (PBS, channel 21)

-          WNBC – TV (NBC, channel 4)

-          WNET – TV (PBS, channel 13)

-          WNJU – TV (Telemundo, channel 47)

-          WNYE – TV (NYC Media, channel 25)

-          WNYW – TV (Fox, channel 5)

-          WPIX – TV (TheCW, channel 11)

-          WPXN – TV (ION Television, channel 31)

-          WWOR – TV (MyNetworkTV, channel 9)

-          WXTV – TV (Univision, channel 41)

The MTVA is establishing the consumer hotline in close cooperation with the FCC.

“The New York broadcasters have made an enormous commitment to ensure that consumers are ready for the transition,” said Saul Shapiro, President of the Alliance, in a statement. “This analog shut-off test is another major step in making sure our viewers are prepared well before February 17.”

Subsequent one minute tests will take place in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, December 2, and two 30-minute tests will be conducted in Hartford on Wednesday, December 3.  ION says that it and its broadcast partners will also participate in existing tests being conducted across the country in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and other areas with varied population densities and terrains.

“With a little over one hundred days left to the national shutdown, it is critical that broadcasters unite, making a concerted effort to properly educate and prepare consumers well ahead of the deadline,” said Brandon Burgess, Chairman and CEO, ION Media Networks, in a statement.  “By addressing viewers’ concerns early through these tests and our ongoing education campaign, we are ensuring that no viewer will be left behind.”