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Wilmington, NC Goes Digital Today

The switch could reveal problems with next year's nationwide transition.
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (September 8, 2008) -- The city of Wilmington, North Carolina will switch to Digital TV signals at noon today as a test for the entire nation's scheduled transition next February.

On February 17, 2009, all full-powered local stations must switch their analog signals to digital which means viewers will need a Digital TV, a digital converter box or a pay TV subscription to watch television.

Congressional lawmakers and others have raised concerns that many TV viewers will not be ready when the transition occurs. As a test for the nation, Wilmington's local stations agreed to officially switch to digital five months early.

Over the last few months, local and federal officials have bombarded Wilmington residents with TV commercials and other messages notifying them of the switch and offering tips on how to prepare for it.

`"It's been a grassroots initiative -- everything from going to blueberry festivals to Fourth of July celebrations to Rotary clubs and civic affairs clubs,'' Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said in an interview with Bloomberg News. ``You'd have to be living under a rock, or not watching TV, to not know about it.''

Bloomberg reports that one poll conducted last month by the National Association of Broadcasters found that 23 percent of residents could not name today as the transition date.

The news service adds that many residents have already complained that the digital converters fail to pick up all local channels.



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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.

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