I'd have to go back and look at my work records to figure out when I started having to deal with the digital transition. It seems like it's been years, but it's probably only been one.
During that time, I have written articles, given interviews and made sure our station has met every requirement the FCC handed down about educating the public in our viewing area as to what they needed to do to be ready when the analog signals were shut off on February 17th.
In addition to that, we've had an "HD transition" which has been mostly invisible to viewers, but a royal pain in the neck for stations. Because PBS stations aren't standardized in their equipment, each station has to figure out how to make all their various machines talk to each other, how to find which transponder we're looking for, how to handle the picture and audio signals and make them viewable to both analog and digital viewers.
After a year or so of dealing with all of this on a professional level, Darling Man and I joined in on a personal level.
We bought our converter box.
Most of our television viewing happens off satellite (which is digital). But we can't receive local channels where we live because a great big tree blocks our dish's reception of the local transponder. So we live without local channels - weird because there's no way to monitor our own signal when we're at home. Darling Man absolutely refuses to get cable for the gap. We've had this little tv in our room that wears bunny ears and every once in a while there's a football or basketball game that only airs locally so he messes around with the antenna, sometimes adding foil or lifting it up on a higher shelf so that he can watch a snowy picture of our local FOX affilliate.
This past weekend, there was a basketball game he really wanted to watch, but when he went upstairs, discovered that FOX was no more on the analog airwaves. I was dispatched hastily to Radio Shack to purchase a converter box, which I brought home, handed to DM and left him alone to figure it out while I went grocery shopping.
I won't say that there were great wails of despair when FOX still couldn't be tuned in. Perhaps a rather dismayed shake of the head. He put on his earphones and tuned it in on the radio. At least he could still wash dishes that way. As it turns out, it was an awful game and he was rather relieved that he didn't have to watch the carnage.
Looks like we'll need an outdoor antenna to receive FOX. The next day, DM pushed some button that scanned available signals and got all kinds of cool stuff - except FOX which was a pixilated mess.
If you have cable or satellite (with local stations) count yourself lucky. Both DM and I work for the PBS station - me in promotions, him in an engineering-type funtion. We are people in the know and we still managed to bollocks it up. Not badly, but enough for me to realize that all of this is probably impenetrable to people who haven't got a clue.
Folks in our area better get a clue fast, for tomorrow at midnight, we are shutting down our analog signal. Yes, the official shut-off date was moved to June 12th. But stations have the option of turning it off early - and we are going to do it tomorrow. I, for one, am very glad. You cannot believe the amount of paperwork (on a daily basis) that is required prior to the transition. But once your analog signal goes dark, there is but one more report to do.
Of course, managing everything from the digital side has it's own set of challenges - which I've been finding out about today.
At least it will keep me employed for a while.