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Soft DTV Test Brewing in Milwaukee

One-dozen stations in the Milwaukee market will conduct a "soft" analog-cutoff test Sept. 15.

At 5:10 p.m., the stations will pull the plug on their analog video feeds for 60 seconds, replacing them with simulated static and instructions on what they need to do to get ready for the digital switch Feb. 17, 2009, including directing them to a call center, sponsored by the Milwaukee Association of Broadcasters, that will be staffed for three hours after the test.

Stations across the country are doing similar tests, prompted by the Federal Communications Commission and their own self interest in getting as many viewers on board as possible.