FOX 47 has ended its analog signal. Call 800-288-1656 or 888-CALL-FCC with questions or click here for more information - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

FOX 47 has ended its analog signal. Call 800-288-1656 or 888-CALL-FCC with questions or click here for more information

ROCHESTER - (FOX 47) - After months of education, two major DTV transition tests, and an extensive outreach effort, KXLT Fox 47 and KTTC-TV stopped analog broadcasting on the afternoon of February 17, 2009. The stations, both operated by Quincy Newspapers Inc., are now broadcasting exclusively in digital television.

This change occured at the two television stations even though the U.S. Congress has passed an extension of the deadline to make the conversion to DTV. A DTV bill that moves the required national digital conversion date to June 12, 2009 was approved by the House on Feb. 4. With Senate approval of the bill already in place, President Obama signed it into law on Feb. 11. This new legislation, though, still allows for stations to convert earlier if they so choose, consistent with Federal Communications Commission rules.

"We believe our viewers are ready for the change," said Jerry Watson, Vice President and General Manager of the stations. "We have been telling them consistently about this pending change for more than six months."

Viewers on cable or satellite systems will not be affected by the change. For others who get television signals with over-the-air antennas, it will mean re-scanning their converter boxes or digital TV sets after the switch is made.

Watson said research indicates that fewer than one percent of the households in the Rochester-Austin-Mason City market are not yet prepared for the conversion from analog to digital. The stations say they will continue to answer any questions viewers might have about the digital conversion through their websites or via phone calls to the stations during business hours.

The engineering staffs of the stations have been assisting viewers with answers to their personal questions since September of 2008. On Sept. 29, both stations conducted the first of two elaborate "transition tests" to show viewers which TV sets were not ready for the change to digital television.  The tests were repeated on January 21, 2009, to again provide a vivid demonstration for viewers on whether they were ready for the change.

The actual change to DTV took place at different times on the two Rochester-based network affiliates.  The first to make the change was KXLT Fox 47, which ceased normal analog programming at 12 noon on Feb. 17th.  KXLT's normal programming will continue on its current digital channel, where the station's DTV signal has been located since 2004. 

Information about the DTV change will continue on the KXLT analog signal throughout the rest of the day on Feb. 17 for both stations.

The change to digital TV on KTTC came during the afternoon.  The KTTC NewsCenter broadcast information about the change during the NBC affiliate's 12 noon newscast, and also just prior to the change, at 1:30 p.m.  Following the news alert to viewers watching at that time, KTTC's analog transmitter powered down at approximately 1:35 p.m.  Because technical changes will have to be made in the station's digital signal path, it will not be until about 3:30 p.m. that KTTC-DT will resume normal broadcasting. 

"We're eagerly looking forward to this moment," said Watson.  "The quality of the new digital television picture will be an amazing improvement for viewers."

Many other broadcast stations will also halt analog broadcasting some time during the day on February 17, which was the date set years ago by Congress as the time that digital broadcasting must begin, and the analog frequency band be given to other users. Duluth CBS and NBC affiliates KDLH and KBJR say they're ending analog broadcasting Feb. 17.  Other stations in Minnesota already made the switch. FOX affiliates KQDS in Duluth, KVRR in Fargo-Moorhead, and KBRR in Thief River Falls made the switch on Feb. 1. NBC affiliate KRII in Chisholm ended analog broadcasting on Jan. 6.

KIMT-TV, the CBS affiliate based in Mason City, and KAAL-TV, in Austin have decided to continue broadcasting in analog until June.  Public broadcasters in both Iowa and Minnesota will also stay in analog for the time being.

The U.S. Congress had ordered television stations to stop broadcasting analog signals on February 17, 2009, and to get ready for that date, KTTC-TV has been broadcasting a digital television signal since September, 2000, and KXLT Fox 47 since May of 2004. 

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