DTV Transition Causing Unforeseen Problems for Some Stations

Call Tim “The Toolman” Taylor. At least three TV stations in the new DTV broadcast world are looking for more power.

Since the switch to digital television June 12, a significant number of viewers to ABC-owned stations WPVI in Philadelphia and WLS in Chicago, as well as WHDH, Sunbeam Television’s NBC affiliate in Boston, have reportedly been unable to tune-in the stations now that digital is here. All three stations broadcast their digital on VHF as compared to the typical UHF frequency for most stations in the transition.

“The power level assigned to WHDH by the Federal Communications Commission for its post-switch channel is not sufficient to maintain the signal strength that WHDH had prior to the digital transition,” WHDH said in statement released Tuesday (June 16).

Representatives from the ABC-owned stations met Monday (June 15) with the Federal Communications Commission to discuss the DTV reception issues. “The FCC is aware of the concerns that have been raised in some markets regarding VHF reception and is working with local stations on potential solutions,” ABC said in a statement. “Viewers also need to know that they need to buy a good quality VHF antenna to make sure that they are able to receive all VHF stations.”

WHDH is also in contact with the FCC and said it is petitioning the FCC to adjust the technical parameters so that the station can increase its power. As a stop-gap solution, WHDH has begun simulcasting its digital signal on a UFH channel where many viewers who use antennae previously watched the station.