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Hawaii DTV Switch Causes Limited Confusion

The DTV Countdown: Complete Coverage of the DTV Transition
A pair of call centers logged around 900 calls yesterday, but organizers of Hawaii's early switch to digital TV are calling the mission a success. The state shut off analog TV yesterday at noon, and did so with what appears to be a manageable level of issues from viewers.

"There were no major surprises," says Hawaii Association of Broadcasters President Chris Leonard.

There was a wide range of questions from viewers, some wondering how to hook up their converter boxes and some wondering why they weren't receiving a signal. Despite the state's-and the nation's-considerable efforts to spread the DTV message, some Hawaiians inevitably called to say they were unaware of the shutoff. "We had a handful of calls where people said, ‘Hey, how come nobody told me about this?'" says Leonard.

KITV Honolulu President/General Manager Michael Rosenberg, who's also the state's DTV coordinator, says the station received about 20 calls from viewers. "It's not been overwhelming," he says. "Technically, everything went well."

Calls are still coming in steadily today, though Leonard had not seen a tally at press time. (Extraordinarily high winds in the state compounded some technical issues.) He says the next stage is an outreach program, where viewers can meet face to face with FCC representatives to troubleshoot their TV issues. Viewers whose TVs are not compatible will see a message broadcast on a loop through the end of the month, instructing them on how to get up to speed.

With the big switch now in the rear view mirror, Leonard says the whole thing was "pretty smooth," all things considered. "I'm really proud of the outreach efforts we've done," he says