WMUR, N.H. Public TV to simulate switchover on Friday

WMUR-TV and New Hampshire Public Television will conduct a simulated shutdown of their stations’ analog television signals o Friday, Jan. 16, fro 5:30 to 6 p.m., to help viewers who have questions about the digital television transition that is scheduled to occur Feb. 17. Many stations in the Boston television market conducted a similar shutdown test last month.

During “The Analog TV Shutdown Test,” a special live half-hour program airing on WMUR-TV and NHPTV January 16, 2009 from 5:30-6:00 p.m., viewers will see if the February 17, 2009 federally mandated analog TV shutdown will affect them. During two 90-second test periods, viewers watching the show who are not ready for the digital transition will see a message on their screens urging them to take action. The television stations also will present background information about the transition.

A phone bank of experts will be available from 5:30 – 9 p.m. that night to answer questions about digital television, converter boxes, antennas, reception and more.

“This is probably the simplest way for viewers to determine if they will have a reception problem with any of their television sets because of the switch to digital on February 17th,” said WMUR General Manager Jeff Bartlett. “And by having a phone bank of experts, viewers who are affected can get their DTV questions answered immediately and take action.”

“We know there are many viewers in the region who still have questions about whether or not they will be affected by the DTV transition,” noted NHPTV President and CEO Peter A. Frid. “Even if the date of the analog transition is changed, we know it WILL happen, and we want people in New Hampshire to be ready for it. This special will assist those who have specific questions about what the DTV transition means for their television viewing.”

WMUR-TV, NHPTV, Comcast, Metrocast and Time Warner Cable have partnered to hold DTV town hall meetings around the state this month. Experts are available at these meetings to answer questions. For a schedule of these town hall meetings, go to www.wmur.com/digital or www.nhptv.org/dtv.

Televisions connected to cable or satellite service WILL NOT be affected by the digital broadcast transition. Those who have older TVs not equipped to receive digital signals or not connected to a cable or satellite service have three options to get digital TV: (1) acquire a TV equipped with a digital tuner; (2) purchase and install a converter box that, with an antenna, will receive digital broadcast signals; or (3) subscribe to a cable or satellite service.