December 7th (Part 2)

(11/24/08) - Part Two of Chris' special series on getting you ready for the digital TV revolution...

Update November 28th:  WBKO has now made arrangements with SCRTC and Glasgow EPB cable systems - in addition to Insight - to continue interrupted programming while work is done starting December 7th on our tower and transmitter.

Let's begin part 2 of our journey into digital television by providing you the most asked about website link in history..."where can I get those $40-off DTV coupons?"  Actually, we don't have the coupons here.  They are issued by the Federal government and are treated as credit cards.  You are limited to only two cards per household and you have 90 days from the day you receive them to use them.

Here's where you order the $40-off coupons:

Or, you can call 1-888-DTV-2009.

For the record, we do not have the coupons at the station!

Wow! The number of e-mails and phone calls lately to the station concerning the transition to digital television has been pretty incredible.  We realize as the countdown continues until we permanently shut down our old analog channel 13 signal we've been broadcasting for 46 years, we're all feeling a bit of anxiety.

As of today, we're only 13 days away from December 7th.  At midnight on that Sunday, we shut down the analog transmitter for good.  From that point on, WBKO will broadcast only in digital form as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission.  As you may have heard, we're making our transition much sooner than the mandated date of February 17, 2009 because simply that's when we could schedule all the transmitter and tower crews to make it all happen.  Keep in mind, just about every TV station in the country is required to make this transition around the same time.

A lot of folks don't know we're already broadcasting in digital.  It's on right now.

Since 1962, WBKO has been broadcasting its analog signal at channel 13.  However, our temporary digital signal has been broadcasting at digital channel 33.  Digital channels can be split several ways with some stations choosing to broadcast all or most of their programs in HD (high definition).  Here at WBKO, we've chosen to parse our digital channels so that WBKO-ABC is broadcast at digital channel 33.1 (your digital tuner or converter box reads this as 13.1 temporarily), WBKO-FOX at 33.2 (13.2) and WBKO-CW is at 33.3 (13.3).

This means at our transmitter site in Richardsville, we've had two transmitters going at the same time in the same building and two antennas broadcasting simultaneously from the same tower.  What we must do now is make room for the new full-power digital transmitter that will broadcast from now on at digital channel 13 and replace the analog antenna with a new digital one.  The FCC requires that while work is being done on the tower and antenna, WBKO must be off the air.  Once our new digital transmitter and antenna is in place, we will no longer broadcast at digital channel 33.

We could be off the air for several days while we dismantle the analog transmitter and antenna and install the new digital equipment.

For this reason, we have made arrangements to continue broadcasting through a fiber-optic line to our partners at Insight Cable in Warren County and through SCRTC and Glasgow EPB cable customers without interruption.  Otherwise, we will fire up our temporary digital transmitter during the evenings so you can watch the local news and your favorite prime time shows.  But when it's day time, the transmitter will have to be shut down so that our tower crews can climb the mighty red and white metal expanse that you see when you drive up Highway 185 to Richardsville.

Yes, we realize this will be a major interruption in the way you watch WBKO - especially during the daytime and if you're not on Insight Cable - but it must be done before we can bring you our new and improved full-powered digital signal.  How long the installation process takes will depend a lot on weather conditions during that time. (Why is everyone looking at me?)  We will do our best to update you as the process goes along.

To recap, here's what you can expect...

Midnight, Sunday, December 7th     ANALOG CHANNEL 13 SIGNS OFF PERMANENTLY!



More Hookups!

Last time I posted here, I promised you more ways to hookup your TV's to get ready for the digital revolution.  I showed you a simple way to hookup a DTV converter box if you used only an antenna going straight into your TV set.  Now, I want to show you some other cool diagrams that will hopefully help those of you with more complicated setups like DVD's, VCR's, Tivo's and DVR's.

This is a hookup if you are using a DVD player or player/recorder or Tivo/DVR unit.  To get the cleanest picture and sound into your TV, I suggest you use what's called the RCA cables (red, white and yellow) coming OUT of your DTV converter box going IN to your DVD unit.  In case you're wondering, the red and white cables are your left and right audio channels and the yellow cable is your video.  To see your DTV converter box on your TV, tune to channel 3.

This is a hookup if you have a VCR.  Simply put, in all hookups, you want the first piece of electronics your antenna goes into should be your DTV converter box.  For a cleaner picture, use the RCA cables as shown in the diagram below.  Don't forget to tune your TV to channel 3 to "see" the DTV converter box!

I really hope these diagrams and tips are helping you as you prepare your TV's for digital.  But we're not done yet...there's much more to discuss.  We'll do that in future posts here and on our regular "Techie Tuesday" segments on AM Kentucky.  In the meantime, if you have a question that we have yet to post an answer to, please send us an e-mail at


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