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MSTV Skeptical of Study Finding Major DTV-Coverage Issues

The broadcasters' spectrum-watchdog group, the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), was kicking the tires on a new study from Centris that suggested that there could be major coverage issues with the digital-TV transition, but MSTV wasn't ready to buy it.

The group was still vetting the information, which was reported Monday in The New York Times, but association president David Donovan said it "appeared inconsistent with our coverage analysis studies."

The study suggested that several million over-the-air DTV viewers would lose one or more channels they had gotten before, citing for one example a study of coverage problems with New York, although also talking about studies from Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The New York problem is a familiar one, and it stems from 9/11. Congress appropriated funds especially to help stations there make the DTV transition after the World Trade Center was destroyed and stations had to move to the Empire State Building until the Freedom Tower is built.

"I understand the problem in New York," Donovan said. "There has always been an issue in New York with the demise of the World Trade Center. Stations have been trying to move heaven and earth to provide a level of coverage that they had before."

But he added that when stations go to full service elsewhere in the country, "there shouldn't be problems."