Eight, Arizona PBS Switching to Digital

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Prescott Viewers Watching KAET-TV (PBS) on Channel 55 via Antenna
Need to Adapt to Receive Station’s New Digital Signal

PHOENIX…Nov. 21, 2011…Fans of PBS programs in Prescott and surrounding communities are being alerted to a change next month in how those shows are transmitted: Eight, Arizona PBS, or KAET-TV, is converting from an analog to a digital broadcast signal for local viewers by Dec. 31, 2011.The switch to digital was mandated by the Federal Communications Commission.

“The changeover next month is part of the FCC’s final push to bring over-the-air broadcast television into the digital age,” said Eight, Arizona PBS Director of Engineering Gil Aykroyd. “Our full-power station in Phoenix converted to digital broadcasting years ago and we shut off our analog transmitter in 2009, at the same time as full-power commercial stations. But it was only a few months ago that the FCC made a ruling about low-power transmitters, such as those that bring KAET’s signal to Prescott and other Arizona communities.”

The switch to digital affects Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Mayer and other nearby towns – particularly those viewers who pick up KAET’s local channel 55 using TV antennas (including outside antennas and "rabbit ears"). For antenna users, Aykroyd said that KAET should be off the air for no more than a day. During December, viewers should check online at azpbs.org/digital and on the Eight, Arizona PBS Facebook page to find out which day the conversion is scheduled. KAET’s translator tower is located on 7,090-foot Mt. Francis southwest of Prescott.

“Once the conversion is complete, those with antennas won’t be able to receive KAET programs unless they use a digital television or connect a digital converter box to their analog television set,” he explained. “However, those viewers who receive KAET via cable or satellite should not be affected by either the conversion or the anticipated one-day outage.”

Once KAET is back on the air, viewers will need to do a channel scan to make sure their digital television set or converter box recognizes the station’s new digital signal. Prescott area viewers will receive all three Eight digital channels – Eight HD (8.1), Eight Create (8.2) and Eight World (8.3). For program schedules, viewers can visit www.azpbs.org/schedule.

Since the full-power digital conversion was completed in 2009, the digital converter boxes for analog sets have been harder to find. Viewers should check with both national and local retailers, including most large stores that sell electronics. The FCC’s TV Converter Box Coupon Program, which allowed U.S. households to request up to two $40 coupons to be used toward buying up to two digital-to-analog converter boxes, expired on July 31, 2009.

KAET’s Aykroyd said another good resource for consumers making the switch to digital is the FCC’s Web site “What You Need to Know about the Digital TV Transition” at www.dtv.gov.  He added that KAET also will convert six other low-power translators around the state from analog to digital signals, most of them in mid-2012.

Prescott area viewers with questions about receiving the KAET (PBS) digital signal can call Eight, Arizona PBS Viewer Services at (602) 496-2308 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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