Digital Television FAQ
What is DTV Broadcast Television?
Digital Television, or DTV, is a much improved way of broadcasting free TV pictures and digital surround sound over-the-air via antenna. With DTV, you'll receive amazingly sharp pictures and quality audio to match. KXLY-TV is now able to transmit multiple programs simultaneously over one digital channel, including ABC network's High Definition feed and memorable MeTV programming. Ghosting images and snowy pictures no longer exist with DTV technology.
Q: I have an existing analog TV set. What do I need in order to receive Digital Television?
A: The new digital television format allows viewers to not only watch more free, over-the-air television programming, but an option to watch the programming in true, wide-screen HDTV high definition as well by purchasing a new flat screen HDTV. These new flat screens also offer improved closed captioning and internal channel program guides. However, if you wish to keep your older TV set, you will need a small, inexpensive digital to analog converter set top box. They are available from several outlets, such as: Best Buy, Huppins, Acme TV, Circuit City, Wal Mart, Fred Meyer, Radio Shack, Target, Sears and several other local outlets. Most are running in the $40 to $60 range.
Q: I now have an older television antenna on my roof. Will this work with my new digital converter box?
A: The answer is, "maybe". There is no difference in the bands of signals that digital television uses and former VHF and UHF channels are still utilized in DTV broadcasting. However, for the best stability in reception of the new digital signals, your antenna should not be rusted, bent, mis-aimed or more than fifteen years old. If so, you should seriously consider having a professional installer replace it with a new unit and fresh coaxial cable. Acme Integration, Huppins HiFi and Monaco Enterprises are some of the companies providing this service. Old, flat two-wire down leads cannot be used with digital signals.
Q: I have my new digital-to-analog set top converter box next to the TV. What are the next steps?
A: Generally speaking, the easy-setup guides which come with the converter boxes are well written and fairly easy to follow for your installation. The following steps are not specific to any brand of box, but for general review:
1. Disconnect the current 75 ohm coaxial antenna lead from the TV.
2. Attach that lead to the converter box's ANTENNA INPUT jack.
3. Connect one end of the provided short coaxial cable to the converter box's TO TV, or ANT OUT jack. Plug the other end of this cable into your TV's antenna terminal.
4. Set the converter box's output to Channel 3 with the little switch on its back panel, or with its setup menu.
5. Turn on the TV set. Set the TV's channel to Channel 3.
6. Plug in and Turn ON the digital set top converter box.
7. At this point, if your wiring is proper, you should be seeing a SETUP screen on your TV. If not, re-review your antenna connections and TV channel number until you see the SETUP screen.
8. Follow the setup screen and manual. Usually, there will be a language question, followed by an automatic SCAN mode. It is important to know that, unlike analog television, the new digital set and converters do not have any pre-existing channels in them. In order to see any digital channels, one must first allow these devices to "FIND" the local digital signals, one by one.
9. Once the CHANNEL SCAN is complete, you should see a listing of all the Spokane broadcast signals, as follows:
- KXLY as 4.1 ABC HD format and as 4.2 for memorable MeTV
- KREM as 2.1 and 2.2 CBS
- KHQ as 6.1 and 6.2 NBC
- KSPS as 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 PBS
- KSKN as 22.1 CW
- KAYU as 28.1 and 28.2 Fox
- KGPX as 34.1, 34.2 and 34.3 Ion
10. If one of the stations listed does not show up on your converter channel guide, you will need to re-aim your antenna, pull the converter box power plug for 15 seconds or so, plug it back in and use the CHANNEL SCAN function again. This process make take several tries especially if your home is at a low point in a valley, heavily treed, or surrounded by hills.
11. Once all the channels are found, you may have to "turn off" the CLOSED CAPTIONING function, if you see black boxes blocking the picture, or text running through.
12. From time to time, your converter box may need to have its power unplugged for a minute or so to cure an audio lip sync or tiling pictures issue. Most of the time this will return all channels to proper operation. If not, you may need to re-aim the antenna for better reception. Antennas almost always perform best when they are outdoors, or near windows. The best possible TV antenna placement is on the rooftop.
13. KXLY continues to operate some analog translator signals. This is because Congress has not yet mandated when lower power transmitters should be turned off. If you have additional analog TV sets in your home, you may wish to tune them to the following KXLY analog channels: Channel 11 in Spokane, Channel 40 in Whitman County, to Channel 45 in the LC Valley and Channel 43 in Grant County. If your set does have a digital converter box attached, turning the converter box off via its remote control will allow the KXLY analog translator signals to pass straight into that older analog television set. The set then simply tunes to the above analog channels according to where you live. Since these translated signals are less-powerful, an outdoor antenna is often required.
Q: What is High Definition Television (HDTV)?
A: HDTV offers up to 5 times the picture detail and 10 times the color information of current signals for amazing realism. With the movie-like viewing format of 16:9 aspect ratio, the picture has been likened to looking out a picture window to the world.
Q: If I subscribe to a paid TV cable or satellite service and tune to Channel 4 with a new HD TV set, will I automatically receive an HD picture?
A: You may not. You will need to make certain that your service provider has set your home up with an HD set top and programming package. Additionally some cable systems will "stretch" standard definition picture to make it appear to be an HD wide screen presentation when in fact it is not true HD. Many cable system's place their true HD channel offerings up in the 100 to 700 channel range. You will need to check the channel guide card from your service to determine where to search for the HD channels. In limited cases new HDTV wide-screen sets may connect directly into a digital cable wall receptacle and scanned for HD channels without the need for a cable set top box. Contact your provider if you have any doubt.
Q: What KXLY TV HDTV Programming Will Be Available?
A: All of our local news and special programming is now produced and available in HD wide screen format. All ABC shows are now being produced in HD widescreen format.
How Much Will an HDTV Set Cost?
Right now prices start at about $149 for a DTV-capable television set. High-quality HD panel TVs are currently being sold starting well under $400. For more information regarding the latest regulations and current pricing, check out www.DTVAnwsers.com, DTVFacts.com, http://www.dtv.gov/ and www.CNet.com .