I'd Like my HDTV for Free - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

I'd Like my HDTV for Free

KIII-TV will cease analog operations on June 12, 2009 at 12:00noon.

KIII-TV has been broadcasting in HD since June of 2006. The mandated FCC mandated cut-off of analog operations has come. In order to continue receiving over the air TV, viewers will need a TV with a digital tuner (also referred to as ATSC Tuner). For older TV sets that do not have an ATSC tuner, it will be necessary to purchase a digital converter box. The converter box will receive the over the air digital signal and convert the signal so that your conventional TV can receive it. There is a converter box coupon program, www.dtv2009.gov , that will give you $40.00 towards the purchase of a converter box. Go to www.dtv2009.gov for more information.

It will be necessary to re-tune or do a channel search after 12:00 noon on Friday June 12, 2009 to pick-up and channels that have changed. This will be the case for ATSC TV's as well as converter boxes.

Converter boxes are available locally at HEB Plus, WalMart, Best Buy and Radio Shack as well as other stores.

Go to www.dtv2009.gov to apply for a converter box coupon or call 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009).

If you want to watch HDTV for "FREE". Use an over-the-air antenna. If your TV includes a built-in ATSC tuner, then you can simply plug your existing antenna cable into your new HDTV, go into the TV's set-up menu to "auto-tune" or "auto add" new channels, and your HDTV will do the rest, tuning in whatever analog and digital signals it can find. The same for the converter boxes. Simply hook up an antenna to the converter box, connect the converter box to your TV and do a channel search.

We are currently passing all programs that ABC sends in HDTV directly to the transmitter for retransmitting in HDTV. Local news, syndicated programs, and network programs that are not sent in HDTV will be upconverted until these shows become available.

This guide will provide background information along with useful tips to set-up an antenna and configure a television set for over-the-air reception of KIII-HD

Television signals are strongest when there is a line of sight between the transmitting tower and the home-receiving antenna. The signal is weakened when buildings and trees block the line of sight. Signal strength also decreases as the distance from the transmitter is increased. Careful attention to the selection of a reception antenna can overcome many of the problems.

You should not need a fancy (and expensive) "HDTV antenna" in order to pull in HDTV signals broadcast over the air. If you have any additional questions please call KIII-TV (361) 986-8300

HDTV Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find the answer to your question below? Visit http://www.dtvanswers.com/.

What is digital television?

Digital TV (DTV) is an entirely new television system that will ultimately replace the existing analog system, commonly known as NTSC. The term "DTV" refers to a television system that can transmit, receive, and display digital images. More information can be found at http://www.dtvanswers.com/.

What is HDTV?

High Definition Television "HDTV" provides significantly improved picture quality with more visible detail, a wide screen format (16:9 aspect ratio), and may be accompanied by digital surround-sound capability.

What is "wide screen" or "16 x 9"?

The wide-screen picture format is intended to provide a more realistic and compelling visual presentation. A wide-screen display is commonly referred to as a "16 x 9" format, meaning that the picture is 16 arbitrary units wide by nine units high. By contrast, a conventional display is 4 units wide by 3 units high, or "4 x 3." Thus, the 16 x 9 display provides a wider image area that more closely matches the relative dimensions, or aspect ratio, of the cinema.

How is digital television different from the existing analog television service?

With digital television, broadcasters are able to offer free, over-the-air television of higher resolution and better picture quality than is possible under the current mode of TV transmission. If broadcasters so choose, they can offer HDTV-television with theater-quality pictures and CD-quality sound. Alternatively, a broadcaster can offer several different TV programs at the same time, with picture and sound quality better than is available today from the analog broadcast service.

What equipment do I need to receive digital TV?

There are a number of ways to receive DTV signals. Some digital television sets have the digital decoding and tuning functions built into the TV - an integrated, one product solution. Others are a two-part system-a digital monitor, capable of displaying HDTV, EDTV, or SDTV signals-plus a tuner/demodulator/decoder in a separate set-top box. The two-part solution allows consumers to upgrade to DTV when they are ready. More information can be found at http://www.dtvanswers.com/.

Is my current television obsolete?

No. Analog television sets will continue to receive analog broadcasts through February 2009. After that, consumers will be able to hook up a set-top box to their existing TV to receive digital TV broadcast signals, but not in high-definition. Of course, current TV sets will continue to work with cable, satellite, VCRs, DVD players, and other devices for many years. To request a coupon for a digital converter box, visit https://www.dtv2009.gov/.

Which is better-the set-top box or integrated receiver approach?

It all depends on what you are looking for, how much you want to pay, and when you want to make your purchase. If the local stations in your area are broadcasting DTV, an integrated set is probably the set to buy. However, if the stations in your area are not yet broadcasting DTV, you might consider buying a high-definition monitor now-to get improved pictures for your regular television programs (via satellite, cable, or through your antenna) and your DVD-and then add a set-top box once stations in your area are on the air with digital programming.

Will my VCR and DVD player work with DTV?

Yes. VCRs and DVD players will work with digital television sets. However, the picture quality will only be equal to the best of what current VCR and DVD players can deliver. DVD player is 480P (progressive-scan output). Newer Blue Ray or HD DVD systems have higher resolution 1080p and secure special DVD players.

To receive off-air DTV signals, will I need to install a rooftop antenna?

This is a bit of a complicated issue. In many instances, a simple indoor (rabbit-ear-type) antenna will suffice. In other cases, a rooftop antenna will be necessary. As a general rule of thumb, if you need an outdoor (rooftop) antenna to receive conventional (analog) TV signals, you will need one for DTV signals. For help in selecting an antenna for DTV use, check out a special Web site developed by the Consumer Electronics Association: http://www.antennaweb.org.

Will I need an antenna rotor, and if so, what type?

You may need an antenna rotator if the DTV stations are in different directions. In its simplest form the control unit for these has a knob on a box by the TV that you turn manually to the direction of each station to give the best reception. More sophisticated rotators have a remote-control that is linked to the channel selector for the TV or set-top box, so when you select a given channel, the rotator turns the antenna to the direction that you have previously set it to. Some DTV sets in the future will be able to control the antenna rotator automatically using a new control system. Also, a new type of steer able antenna without any moving parts, referred to as a "Smart Antenna" will be able to be controlled by the DTV set. These are just coming into the marketplace and may not be available in your locality.

What sources of digital TV programming are available?

There are a number of ways to receive television programs of improved quality. Digital TV programming is available throughout the country via home satellite systems, and-in many areas-over the air and by cable. To receive an over-the-air signal, you will need an over-the-air antenna. The type of antenna required - be it rooftop or indoor-depends on your location relative to the local broadcasters and the local terrain.

Does the DTV system support services other than entertainment programming?

Yes. Broadcasters, if they so choose, are able to transmit - in addition to entertainment programming - a variety of information through the data bitstream to enhance TV programs or to provide entirely new services. For example, TV programs can be broadcast with a variety of languages and captions, and sports programs can be broadcast so that the individual viewer can call up player statistics, game scores, or other information. Broadcasters could also, for example, transmit to your television an entire edition of a newspaper, sports information, computer software, telephone directories, stock market updates, interactive educational material, or any other information that can be translated into digital bits. The ATSC DTV system is a 19.4 Mb/s pipeline that can be used for the delivery of a wide variety of digital services.

Will I still be able to watch my favorite TV programs?

Digital television is simply a new way of transmitting program material. The programming carried depends upon the broadcaster. The programs themselves will not necessarily change, except to the extent that the pictures and sound will be better, and a greater variety of effects and enhancements will be possible. Each broadcaster will also be able to offer several programs at the same time through their expanded DTV channel capacity. There is a trade-off between using digital transmission capacity for improved pictures and sound, and using it to transmit additional programs. Also, broadcasters will be able to devote some capacity to offering a variety of other information services. The determination of how much capacity to devote to improved pictures and how much to devote to additional programs or other services is up to each broadcaster and their response to viewer demands. Broadcasters can change the service provided on a time slot-by-time slot basis. In any event, digital broadcasters are required by the FCC to carry - at a minimum - one video programming stream of visual quality that is equal to or better than what is now available on their analog channel.

What does it mean when you look at the listings for KIII and it says "Channel 8 or 3.1"?

There is a new numbering system for DTV channels. The system, called the "DTV virtual channels," gives a number for each DTV program service, and almost always uses the analog NTSC channel number (3) as the first number for that station. The use of virtual channels allows stations to use the same channel number "brand" for both NTSC and DTV. The printed listing services have not yet changed their format to show only the DTV virtual channel numbering system. So in the example, the station is using RF Channel 8 for DTV and is transmitting DTV programs with virtual channel numbers 3.1.

3.1n is short hand for 3.1, and 3.2 and 3.3, etc., as there can be more than one DTV program lineup from the station. So, 3.1 is the first DTV program lineup, 3.2 is the second, 3.3 is the third. Some DTV stations may have only one virtual channel, others perhaps as many as six. Transmitting HDTV on one of the channels usually means few other channels are on the air at that time as the HDTV takes most of the DTV channel capacity.

What is simulcast and how does it affect the DTV transition?

During the transition to DTV, broadcasters will operate both analog (NTSC) and digital channels. Individual broadcasters will decide which programs to put on which channel, and they may decide to "simulcast" programs on both stations (that is, air the same program at the same time on both the digital and analog stations). FCC rules, in fact, require a certain amount of simulating during the transition period.

How does digital television benefit the public?

The conversion to DTV benefits the public because of the improved quality, and quantity, of free over-the-air television services to consumers. Furthermore, there exists the very real potential availability of much more information from the consumer's television set. In addition, another important benefit of DTV is that it will eventually free up parts of the broadcast spectrum and allow its return to the government for other important uses. A part of this additional spectrum has already been designated for public safety, police, and fire department usage, and other options will be available for business purposes. For additional information on the public policy issues involved in the DTV conversion, see the FCC's website: www.fcc.gov/mb/policy/dtv/#FAQ.

What is the timetable for completing the DTV transition?

The transition to DTV-only service is currently scheduled for February 2009. After the transition is complete, broadcasters are required to return to the government the spectrum currently used for analog stations.

Are the new DTV sets very expensive?

Just as color television sets were expensive when they were first introduced, new digital TVs were quite expensive at first, with manufacturers concentrating initially on "high-end" models. Now, several years into the transition, prices have dropped significantly. As with any consumer electronics business model, as more DTV sets are sold, the per-unit prices drop.

What are the main attributes of new DTV sets?

New DTV sets are typically widescreen models, allowing the pictures to be viewed more like those experienced in a movie theater. The wider picture, especially in larger set sizes, enhances sports and drama viewing, making you feel more involved in the action, as well as rendering more realistic pictures. As with current TV sets, a range of sizes is available, from 15-inch or so table-top models up through very large screen projection systems. It is important to remember that large screen size takes greatest advantage of the superb imagery of HDTV. Because the DTV signal is transmitted digitally, it means that the user will not longer experience noise ("snow") or ghosts on their displays.

Why turn off analog - couldn't we have both DTV and conventional TV?

Congress has determined that the broadcast television service must eventually convert completely to digital transmissions. In fact, the modern technology of DTV is far more spectrum-efficient than analog TV technology, meaning that it will allow the same number of stations to broadcast more program material using less radio spectrum. This will free up scarce and valuable spectrum for other communications uses. DTV and analog channels, however, cannot operate on the same channel in the same location at the same time. It would be highly inefficient, expensive, and wasteful to allocate spectrum for every broadcaster to operate two TV stations permanently. Therefore, exclusive service in one method of transmission is necessary, and a determination has been made by Congress to provide the public with the superior service possible with DTV.

What must a TV station do to convert to DTV?

The answer depends upon the individual circumstances of the TV station. All TV stations will need a new transmitter, antenna, and production facilities. Some TV broadcasters will have to modify their antenna towers or construct new towers for their DTV antennas. Before modifying or building towers, broadcasters may need to receive approval from state, city, or county governments regarding local zoning, structural engineering, construction, safety, and other issues. For more information on DTV in general, and tower issues in particular, see the FCC Web site, http://www.fcc.gov/dtv/.

Will DTV stations cause interference with any other technologies?

Certain medical telemetry devices, such as cardiac monitors, are allowed to use TV broadcast channels that are unoccupied in their geographic area. As they transition to DTV, however, television stations are now beginning to use these formerly unoccupied TV channels. When this occurs, the medical telemetry systems need to be shifted to a non-broadcast band. The FCC and the Food and Drug Administration are taking steps to avert such cases of interference before they happen.

What is the consumer electronics industry doing to help in the DTV conversion?

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has a number of initiatives underway. For more information, see with CEA DTV Web site, http://www.ce.org/dtv.

How do I know what stations are on the air in my area?

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) maintains a comprehensive list of DTV stations operating in the U.S. This list, updated on a regular basis, can be found on the NAB Web site, http://www.nab.org/newsroom/issues/digitaltv/ Another very useful resource is Titan TV, which can be found at http://www.titantv.com/. Note that these sites are not designed for consumers and accordingly use the RF channel number, not the channel shown on the DTV for tuning channels. ( See PSIP FAQs; major/minor channel numbers.")

What about EDTV and SDTV; how do they fit into the DTV picture?

EDTV stands for enhanced definition television. It is generally accepted to describe a system used to convey programs featuring pictures and sound that are superior to conventional (analog) television. EDTV programs can be transmitted by the DTV system. SDTV stands for standard definition television. It is generally accepted to describe a system used to convey pictures and sound that are equivalent to the best conventional (analog) signals possible today. As with EDTV, SDTV signals can be transmitted by the DTV system. SDTV and EDTV may be in wide screen format.

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