Nothing has lit up our switchboard or pinged our e-mail boxes here at the Channel 13 Ranch more than the eventual switch from analog (regular, good old fashioned broadcast television) to digital, or DTV. Granted, such an overhaul of the way we watch TV has many confused, frustrated and upset. But take heart...I'm here along with our expert engineering staff to help guide you through this transition.
One thing is for sure, come December...not February...WBKO will no longer broadcast an analog TV signal.
Here's the first thing I want you to do before you do anything else. I have recorded a 5-minute video that you can watch that explains in detail the steps you need to take in order to continue watching stations such as WBKO on your TV. If you haven't seen it yet, please watch it and I believe you will have a better understanding how all this affects you.
Next, I suggest you get your $40 discount coupon to purchase a DTV converter box as soon as you can. The U.S. Government will send you two $40 coupons in the mail good for a 90-day period. Now...look around your house and count the number of TV sets you have. Do you have one in the bedroom? The kitchen? The garage? The kids' rooms? If all of your TV's receive regular (analog) over-the-air broadcasting and are not hooked to cable or satellite, you will need a DTV converter box for every single TV in your house!
If you watch WBKO through your cable subscription service (such as Insight, Comcast. SCRTC, Glasgow EPB, etc.) you won't need to do anything. The new digital signal will automatically be converted through these cable systems to your TV. But for any TV station, not only WBKO that you receive through a regular TV antenna that does not come through your cable service, you will need a DTV converter box in order to watch it.
A lot of you have asked when will WBKO be available on Dish or DirecTV. I will tell you that it is not up to us, but these satellite companies themselves as to when WBKO will appear as a local channel on your satellite lineup. We've been after these two satellite companies for years trying to get us hooked up. We know there's a bunch of you out there that have to switch from your satellite service to WBKO or some don't get us at all. Both Dish Network and DirecTV have been servicing the larger TV markets across the country and providing local access in cities such as Louisville and Nashville. However, Bowling Green seems to be near the bottom of the list of priorities so it's taking a while. They keep telling us it will happen...we just don't know when. Maybe if you guys who are subscribers of Dish or DirecTV bombard them with requests to put us on, it will happen!
There's also a lot of misinformation going around out there about this transition. We don't want you to invest in a brand new TV and it not be the TV you'll need in order to continue to receive WBKO's signal. Simply put, you can keep the TV or TV's you now have and have had sitting in your home for years as long as you hook a converter box up to each one. I have a little 13" black and white TV I watch every morning in my bathroom that has to be 20 years old or more. I certainly cannot afford to go out and buy a new DTV just for the can...eh...bathroom and you probably can't either. But, I can go and purchase a DTV converter box and use my $40 coupon from the government and pay maybe $10 or $20 cash and I'm done.
Finally, I want to make sure you understand the deadlines. You keep hearing the spots that say "will you be ready for February 17th, 2009?" Well, that is the date the federal government, namely the Federal Communications Commission says all TV stations must cease broadcasting an analog signal. However, WBKO will be converting from analong to digital as soon as December! This means that soon after Thanksgiving and sometime before Christmas, WBKO will stop broadcasting on Channel 13 and to your TV if you receive us through a regular antenna. During that time, our engineers will be taking down the regular analog antenna and transmitter and mounting the new digital antenna and transmitter. Then, from the moment that switch is thrown, analog Channel 13 will cease to exist and will only broadcast at digital Channel 13 to those who have the DTV converter boxes...or have a digital-ready TV with a digital tuner...or watch us currently on their cable systems.
You see why now this is so important? We don't want to lose you as a viewer. We realize this is going to be a major transition from the way you normally watch TV but we're here to help you along the way. Watch my video and if you still have questions, please send me an e-mail or talk to our engineers. We'll be glad to help!