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U.S. televisions switch to digital signal

June 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Television stations across the U.S. turned off their analog signals and began broadcasting in digital on June 12. ABC7 made the switch at noon.Even with the official digital switch behind us, thousands of people in the Los Angeles area are still not ready for the transition. If you have an older TV and use an antenna, you're going to need a digital converter box.

If you have satellite or cable, you won't be impacted by the digital transition. You also won't need a converter box if you have a newer or digital TV.

The federal government is offering $40 coupons to help people purchase the boxes, which cost about $50 at Best Buy.

People have been streaming into Best Buy and other electronic stores over the last couple of days to pick up their converter boxes.

"I was hoping that they would put off, you know, the deadline once more for people like me," said Paula Dugans, a self-proclaimed procrastinator.

"People are waiting until the last minute for everything like usual," said Movses Ambarthian, Best Buy.

Best Buy says their "Geek Squad" will install the converter boxes at home for free.

Most stores do have the converter boxes in stock, but some are running out of antennas.

If you were waiting for your $40 coupon to get your converter box, don't let that stop you from picking one up. Most stores say they will honor it for 30 days. So if you get your coupon within 30 days, you can go back to the store and get your $40 back.

Meanwhile, companies like Time Warner Cable have seen a jump in customers.

"We do have some last-minute procrastinators and folks who are confused," said Patricia Fregoso-Cox, Time Warner Cable. "We're staffed up, we're ready. Prepared for both the field and the call centers to handle the volume that comes in."

Time Warner will install cable for free, with basic service starting at around $10.

Many consumers who have hooked up their converter boxes have difficulty getting a clear signal on some or all stations.

There are several basic steps to hooking up a converter box:

  • Disconnect the cable from the antenna input on the back of your TV set.
  • Connect the cable to the "antenna-in" jack on the back of the converter box.
  • Connect the coaxial cable supplied from the converter box.
  • Connect the cable to the "antenna-out" jack on the converter box, then put the other end of the cable into the "antenna-in" jack on your TV.
  • If you have a VCR or DVD recorder, you can use those cables to connect to the converter box.
  • Turn on your TV and tune it to Channel 3, or in some cases tune it to "video-in" instead of Channel 3.
  • Hit the power button on the converter box remote.
The first time your converter box is powered up, it will prompt you to scan for local channels, some do it automatically. This could take several minutes.

All converter boxes are a little different. You may need to go to the on-screen "menu" for set-up. Check your owner's manual to be sure.

If you have followed all the steps and you're still not getting a clear signal, try re-positioning your antenna. If that doesn't work, you may need to get an outdoor antenna, or upgrade the antenna.

If you have already set up a digital converter, you will have to rescan it on June12, because some stations are moving to different channel numbers.

For information on the transition, call the ABC7 DTV Support Line: (866) 620-8913.

Consumers in Los Angeles with questions about preparing for the nationwide digital television transition Friday, June 12, can get help throughout the day at the following locations across the city. Representatives of the Federal Communications Commission will be on hand to answer questions about setting up digital-to-analog converter boxes, antennas, reception, the benefits of digital TV, and other issues. Brochures and applications for a coupon worth $40 toward the purchase of a converter box will also be available.

DTV Outreach -- L.A. Demo & Information Center
Chinatown Public Library, 639 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Friday, June 12, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Radio Shack
1817 E. Cesar Chavez, Los Angeles, CA 90033
Friday, June 12, 2 p.m.-6 p.m.

DTV Questions and Answers Session
West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center
Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046
Friday, June 12, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

DTV Demo and Information
Kmart, 500 Carson Town Center
500 Carson Town Center, Carson, CA 90745
Friday, June 12, 10:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.

DTV Demo and Information
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza
3650 Martin Luther King Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008
Friday, June 12, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Walk-In Centers
Open Monday-Sunday, 12 p.m. ? 8 p.m.

Self Reliance Foundation
(323) 646-9731
Iglesia de Dios
1544 West 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Self Reliance Foundation
(818) 335-4054
Iglesia de Dios de Pacoima
13479 Van Nuys Blvd.
Pacoima, CA 91331

Self Reliance Foundation
(818) 894-1176
Our Lady of Peace Church
15444 Nordhoff St.
North Hills, CA 91343

Self Reliance Foundation
(323) 255-6142
St. Bernard Church
2515 W. Avenue 33
Los Angeles, CA 90065

Self Reliance Foundation
(310) 834-5215
St. Peter and St. Paul Parish
1015 Lagoon Ave.
Wilmington, CA 90065

DTV Clinics

L.A. Urban League Milken Family Literacy and Youth Training Center
Open Monday ? Friday until 5 p.m.
Not open this weekend
5414 S. Crenshaw Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90043
(323) 292-8111

AVO General Service, Inc. Main Number: (888) 652-9128 Open Monday-Sunday, 12 p.m.? 8 p.m. at the following locations:

Moreno Valley Mall
22500 Town Circle Suite 1206
Moreno Valley, CA 92553

Montclair Plaza
5060 E. Montclair Plaza Lane
Montclair, CA 91763

Northridge Fashion Center
9301 Tampa Ave.
Northridge, CA 91324

Stonewood Center
251 Stonewood St.
Downey, CA 90241

Westside Pavilion
10800 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Lakewood Center
500 Lakewood Center
Lakewood, CA 90712

Los Cerritos Center
239 Los Cerritos Center
Cerritos, CA 90703

In-home Installers

Installs, Inc., LLC
(800) 582-4250
dtvhelp.installs.com

Apollo Industries, LLC
(800) 504-5677
ApolloDTV@inbox.com

Deployment Essentials, LLC
(866)550-4388
expertdtv.com

Best Buy Co. Inc.
(877) 229-3889

Koring Group, LLC
(866) 431-4388
freetvconverterinstallation.com

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