The day after the DTV transition [CNET News]
I woke up this morning to find that my niece in California was among those who lost her television on Friday night. Prominently posted on her Facebook page, she announce that she was "among the 20 million Americans" without television. I promptly posted onto her wall the following message.
So, here are the facts. Fielding over 300,000 phone calls to their DTV hotline and 3.1 million page views at www.dtv.gov on Friday, the FCC set new records for call center volume during Friday's transition of 971 broadcast stations to digital signals. Though there are still isolated DTV issues around the country, it appears that the transition was largely successful without any widespread television disruption.
The FCC fielded consumer calls with an operator staff of 4,000 that worked around the clock to ensure that the average wait time for DTV assistance was around 4.6 minutes. Around 30 percent of calls to the DTV hotline involved issues with digital converter boxes, with most of those calls resolved by requesting users to rescan for new digital channels that came online on Friday. Another 20 percent of calls involved reception issues. Digital television signals behave differently than their analog counterparts, and many viewers in rural areas are dealing with the so-callled DTV cliff effect that in some cases reduces the number of digital television channels that can be received.
The FCC, cable operators, broadcasters and television viewers are still working through a number of isolated issues that have resulted from the nation's switch to digital television, but the reports continue to be largely positive on the nation's preparedness for the transition. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) continues to monitor transition issues, and individual cable operators are working to help consumers like my niece who were unprepared on Friday get connected to broadcast channels.