SDPB will switch to DTV on Feb. 17 South Dakota Public Broadcasting will complete the digital conversion on Feb. 17, as planned, despite any Congressional action allowing a delay, according to Julie Andersen, executive director of SDPB. The action was approved on Jan. 30 by SDPBâ�?�?s governing body, the Educational Telecommunications Board of Directors. â�?�?We are technically prepared for the switch, and any delay will be costly,â�? Andersen said. For example, she pointed out that the additional electricity cost for continuing analog transmission would be about $15,700 a month, an unbudgeted expense for the network. SDPB will turn off the analog signal for eight full-power transmitters statewide on Feb. 17 at midnight. A ninth transmitter, near Faith in northwestern South Dakota, made the transition early, in December. â�?�?We have been reminding our audience about preparing for the change for more than a year,â�? Andersen said. â�?�?We believe most South Dakotans are prepared.â�? SDPB staff will be available on Wednesday, Feb. 18, to take calls from viewers who have challenges, at 1-800-456-0766. More information about the change is available on SDPBâ�?�?s Web site at www.SDPB.org/digital. Viewers who have been waiting to update their service need to take action now. The options are different for three types of viewers. 1. Those who get their signal from a pay service such as cable or satellite will continue to get a signal and should have no interruption of service. (Those who switch from satellite to antenna to receive local channels may have to take action). 2. Those who get their signal from an antenna and who have a digital television should be getting a digital signal now. 3. Those who get their signal from a set-top or roof-top antenna and use an older analog TV must make changes. Those people fit into two categories: 1)Viewers who have obtained a digital to analog converter box â�?�? if itâ�?�?s hooked up and working, the TV is ready. 2) Viewers who have not hooked up or obtained a converter box â�?�? The time to take action is now. SDPB Television will no longer be available on an analog. The options are getting a digital television, subscribing to a pay service like cable or satellite with the local channels option, or getting the converter box. There are other actions, as well, that will make the viewing experience better. Scan for channels on Feb. 18. A number of channels for SDPB and other stations may change. Viewers should scan for channels as part of the set-up function of a television or converter box. Adjust your antenna. Viewers may need to repair, adjust or replace an outdoor antenna. Those who use a set-top antenna or â�?�?rabbit ears,â�? may need to change TV placement or move the antenna, or switch to an outdoor antenna. Finally, some viewers may need a different kind of antenna, either UHF or VHF. Another option is switching to a pay service like cable or satellite. Here are the final channel allocations for SDPB, and the type of signal, VHF or UHF. The TV may indicate a different number for SDPB. When in doubt, viewers should check the call letters.
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