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    Jun 15 2009

    We Did It! A Successful Digital Transition: One down, one more to go!

    Published by at 10:37 pm under Energy & Technology Committee

    Similar to the Y2K bug almost a decade ago, the switch at 9:00 A.M. on June 12th from analog to digital television passed by without any significant issues. This switch to digital was the biggest change to television since color television in the 1960s. We are only a few weeks removed from the transition and there are still a few folks out there who still need our help. But the lack of calls requesting help coming into the City is a sign that Seattle was ready for the digital television transition. The outreach and coordination by my office in the last 500+ days with local community groups, the City’s Office of Cable Communications, federal agencies, and my colleagues on the Council proved to be significant and successful in making sure that the ten percent of households in this area that receive over-the-air broadcasts made the appropriate preparations to continue receiving their over-the-air television signal. Access to TV is not just about watching the Price is Right in the morning or Jeopardy at night. It is about being able to receive the news, weather, community information, current cultural events, and emergency information. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the countless individuals who made this transition go smoothly.

    Now, while I would like to say we are done with the words digital and transition, there is another upcoming digital transition occurring separately from the federal digital television transition. In October, Comcast will upgrade a set of channels to digital and will provide digital transport adapters to those affected in the Seattle area. Comcast began their digital switch in our state back in March. This change will affect approximately 50,000 households in the Seattle area. Similar to the digital television transition, the rationale for the Comcast digital conversion is to free up bandwidth. Customers with the Comcast Standard cable package (standard, expanded, digital standard) who have the cable connection running directly into the television set without going through a Digital-Set-Top-Box will be impacted. In order to continue receiving channels 30-70, each television will require a Comcast digital adapter (DTA). If you subscribe to only Limited Basic Cable, channels 2-29 will not be affected. Those channels will stay as analog and no adapters are required. Comcast is currently in the process of sending out notices to customers who are affected and you may take action now before the October date. Bottom line is that Comcast will offer 2 digital adapters at no additional monthly cost.

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