Stations turn off analog signals

About a quarter of the nation's TV stations cut off their analog signals Tuesday, complying with a federal mandate to make room on those frequencies for wireless Internet service, emergency radio traffic and other uses.

Digital TV broadcasts, which began several years ago, take up much less of the wireless spectrum.

LOCAL IMPACT

Three local TV stations and the two state public broadcasting stations that serve the Augusta area made the transition Tuesday:

- Georgia Public Broadcasting

- South Carolina ETV

- WRDW (12)

- WJBF (6)

- WAGT (26)

Mike Bell, the station manager at WAGT-TV 26, said his station stopped normal programming at midnight but will continue broadcasting emergency and DTV information and local newscasts on its analog channel until March 4.

The Federal Communications Commission requested that one station in a market remain as a "night life provision" to pass on emergency and DTV info for the next two weeks, he explained.

WFXG (54) is delaying its switch until the congressional deadline of June 12, said Barry Barth, the vice president and general manager.

TROUBLESHOOTING

You're not alone if your still have questions about your TV reception. Many Americans wondered Tuesday how to get converter boxes for older TVs and how to get the devices working.

MISSING CHANNELS? Even converter boxes that are correctly installed might drop some channels. That's because apart from killing analog, many stations are also changing to new digital frequencies.

Viewers who were already watching the digital signal, either through a converter box or a digital TV set, will lose the channel until they force the device to "rescan" the airwaves.

Check the box's directions, and look at www.antennaweb.org to figure out which channels should be available in your area.

Re-scan periodically until after June 12 to make sure you pick up stations that switch late.

HOW OLD IS YOUR ANTENNA? Many households will find that they need new antennas. If re- scanning doesn't help, that might be the problem. Digital signals generally come in better than analog ones, but they are not received well by some older antennas.