Digital TV Transition Delayed

Local television viewers may have noticed that WNMU-TV and other Upper Peninsula stations did not make the switch from analog to digital broadcasts on Feb. 17, the date that flashed on screens repeatedly in the consumer awareness blitz leading up to the planned nationwide conversion. Congress voted earlier this month to extend the deadline to June 12. Some stations elected to move ahead with the switch as planned on Tuesday, but many—including U.P. stations—will wait until closer to the revised date.

"We will be converting sometime in the latter part of May, after we have a new antenna installed on our Ely Township tower," said Eric Smith (Broadcast and Audio-Visual Services). "That work is scheduled for mid-May. It will require us to be off the air for several days, though Public TV 13 will be carried uninterrupted via Charter cable during that time. When we come back on the air after the installation, we plan to broadcast in digital only because it would be technically impractical to go back to analog. We're doing all of this as close to June 12 as possible to avoid confusing viewers."

Smith said delaying the digital transition allows consumers in Northern states to wait until the snow is gone to make required changes to their rooftop antennas. It also buys time for consumers nationwide to tap into the federal program that offers $40 coupons toward converter boxes, if necessary. The program exhausted its allotted budget, but Smith said the new economic stimulus package includes additional funding.

For more information on the digital conversion or to apply for a DTV converter coupon, visit


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Updated: February 20, 2009

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