WASHINGTON The vast majority of full-power TV stations -- 96 percent -- are ready or will be ready to make the transition to full digital service by the Feb. 17, 2009 deadline, according to a status report released by the Federal Communications Commission.
Of the 1,798 active TV stations, 1,002 -- about 56 percent -- are broadcasting digital signals and just need to flip the switch by the deadline. Another 736 -- or 41 percent -- haven't completed construction yet, but expect digital services to be fully operational by the deadline.
About 3 percent or 56 stations will take advantage of the FCC's "unique technical challenges" rules and be serving at least 85 percent of their viewers with digital signals by the deadline.
Only one unidentified station said it would not be able to complete construction of its digital facility until after the deadline and would be dark for a brief period of time.