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Midland-Odessa stations to conduct analog shut-off test

Broadcast TV stations in the Midland-Odessa area will temporarily shut off their analog signals in order to help viewers determine whether their TV sets are ready for the DTV transition on Feb. 17, 2009.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 6:55 p.m. (The test will last for five minutes)

Participating Stations: KMID, KOSA, KPEJ, KWAB/KWES/KTLE/KTLD, KMLM/KPTC/KPTF/KPCB/KPTB, KPBT, KUPB

Target Audience: Viewers who watch free, over-the-air broadcast television on older analog televisions with set-top or roof-top antennas

Viewer Questions: TAB and the Midland-Odessa stations are sponsoring an automated phone bank with a toll-free number to handle viewer questions. The number will be operable until Feb. 18, 2009.

Test Details
- The stations will simultaneously replace programming on their analog signals with instructions in English or Spanish on how to prepare for the DTV conversion.

- If a viewer has not installed a set-top converter box or has not replaced analog sets with digital sets, he/she will be instructed how to prepare for the Feb. 17 switch.

- Approximately 11,120 households in the Midland-Odessa television market watch television exclusively over-the-air.

- Viewers already receiving a station's digital signal, or who purchase television services from cable or satellite companies, will see a crawl reminding them to check all TV sets in their household to ensure they are receiving digital signals.

Converter Boxes
"Viewers do not have to buy new TV sets or begin paying for cable or satellite service," said TAB Vice President Oscar Rodriguez. "Set-top converter boxes are available for as little as $40 that will pass through the digital signals to existing sets and allow viewers to continue watching their favorite stations free, over the air."

The converter boxes are available at H-E-B grocery stores, Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, Target and most consumer electronic stores.

The federal government is subsidizing the cost of the converter boxes with up to two $40 coupons per household.

Coupons can be secured by applying online at www.DTV2009.gov or calling toll-free 1-888-DTV-2009. Assistance is available in English and Spanish and for the hearing impaired.

"Analog TV ends on Feb. 17, but digital TV is available now - free and over-the-air.�  We urge all viewers to make the conversion now. Don't wait until February when converter boxes will likely be in short supply," Rodriguez said. "It's especially important for viewers who want the $40 coupons to act now. While the application process takes just minutes, processing and delivery takes weeks. If you don't apply for your coupon until mid-January, you may not receive it in time for the transition."

About the Transition
Congress mandated all full-power TV stations in the United States shut off their analog signals and switch to digital on Feb. 17, 2009.

Digital broadcast television provides viewers better pictures, clearer sound and - in many communities - additional channels of programming, all free, over-the-air from local stations.� 

Viewers with high-definition TV sets also receive high-definition TV programs free, over-the-air. Only local broadcasters deliver free HDTV programming.

The digital conversion allows the federal government to auction off spectrum for new telecommunication services and reallocate part of the spectrum to improve communications among emergency responders.

Texas broadcasters have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on new transmission infrastructure, studios and production equipment to comply with the federal mandate.� 

In addition, they have dedicated $100 million in advertising time to help viewers prepare for the DTV transition.

Visit www.dtv2009.gov for more information on set-top converter boxes & coupons.

Visit www.antennaweb.org for information on ensuring you have the right antenna to receive all local broadcast TV signals.

Visit www.dtvanswers.com for more information on the DTV Transition.


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