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DTV Information


DTV Consumer Education Reports (FCC Form 388)

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2009 - Quarter 1

2008 Quarter - 4

KAFT-13 / Fayetteville

On March 1, 2010, KAFT signed on at a new full power level having completed work on transmission equipment to increase the broadcast power strength by nearly double.  This was a completion of the overall digital transition, when on June 12, 2009, the KAFT analog 13 transmitter was shutdown.  Nearly all over-the-air viewers and cable companies in northwest Arkansas are able to receive the KAFT digital signal provided that they use a digital converter box with their analog TV or use a new digital TV with tuner.  Some viewers may need to raise the height of their outdoor antenna to receive a reliable signal.

KETG-9 / Arkadelphia

On February 27, 2010, KETG signed on at a new full power level having completed work on transmission equipment to increase the broadcast power strength by nearly double.  This was a completion of the overall digital transition, when on June 12, 2009, the KETG analog 9 transmitter was shutdown.  Nearly all over-the-air viewers and cable companies in southwest Arkansas are able to receive the KETG digital signal provided they use a digital converter box with their old analog TV or use a new digital TV with tuner.  Some viewers may need to raise the height of their outdoor antenna to receive a reliable signal.

KEMV-6 / Mountain View

On June 4, 2010, KEMV signed on at new full power level having completed work on transmission equipment and the replacement of a small broadcast antenna with a new, larger antenna.  This project increased the KEMV digital broadcast power strength by about three times and coverage area by nearly double.  This completion of work has been part of the DTV Transition when on June 12, 2009, the KEMV analog 6 transmitter was shutdown.  Most over-the-air viewers and all cable companies in north central Arkansas should be able to receive the KEMV digital signal now provided that they use a digital converter box with their analog TV or use a new digital TV with tuner. Some viewers may need to raise the height of their outdoor antenna to receive a reliable signal. 

KTEJ-19 / Jonesboro

Work is underway at KTEJ in northeast Arkansas on transmission equipment to increase the broadcast power strength by nearly six times.  This is a maximization project that is part of the overall digital transition, when in February 2009, the KTEJ analog 19 transmitter was shutdown.  This work is expected to be completed in mid-2011.  Until then, most over-the-air viewers and cable companies in northeast Arkansas are able to receive the KTEJ digital signal provided that they use a digital converter box with their analog TV or use a new digital TV with tuner.  Some viewers may need to raise the height of their outdoor antenna to receive a reliable signal. 

KETS-2 / Little Rock

Since late July 2009 KETS-DT/Little Rock has broadcast at full power from the KASN broadcast tower near Redfield south of Little Rock with reports that all is working well with a strong signal from this area. 

KETZ-12 / El Dorado

KETZ/El Dorado has continued the broadcast of its digital channel since the end of analog broadcast on June 12, 2009.  All is working well with a strong signal from this area. 

Loss of Coverage Area Notice

In early Spring 2009, viewers of KEMV in north Arkansas and KETG in southwest Arkansas (who in the past, received a snowy analog picture from AETN) were notified that they might have no reception after the analog shutoff date of June 12, 2009.  However, since the completion of the power maximization projects at KETG on February 27, 2010, and at KEMV on June 7, 2010, viewers in the southwest Arkansas counties of Howard, Little River, Miller, and Sevier counties as well as viewers in north central Arkansas counties of Boone, Newton, Pope, Fulton or in southern central Missouri should no longer be affected. 

Reception within any of AETN's broadcast areas may be obstructed by hills, buildings or electrical lines resulting in picture or audio problems.  Viewers may still need an outside antenna or to raise the height of their existing antenna. All viewers should be sure that their antenna or "rabbit-ears" are designed for both VHF and UHF. For more information, contact the FCC's Call Center (1-888-CALL-FCC), the TTY number (1-888-TELL-FCC) or go online to www.dtv.gov/maps for the online digital reception mapping tool. Or viewers may contact AETN (1-800-662-2386) or visit online at www.aetn.org/dtv or go to www.dtv.gov/dtv_made_easy.pdf for an easy to read "DTV Made Easy" booklet.

 

AETN Digital FAQs:

Q. How do I get AETN on DirecTV or DishNetwork?  And can I see AETN in HD on those satellite systems?

A.The two satellite companies use the Nielsen Designated Market Areas (DMAs) to divide up the country to provide their services.  Currently, the law allows a satellite company to offer "local service" in a DMA meaning that all local broadcasters that sit in that DMA will be included in their "local channels" package. 

DishNetwork includes AETN as a local station in northwest Arkansas (Fort Smith-Fayetteville DMA), central Arkansas (Little Rock-Pine Bluff DMA) and south Arkansas-north central Louisiana (Monroe-El Dorado DMA) and announced in March 2010 that local service is planned for northeast Arkansas (Jonesboro DMA). 

DirecTV also offers this local service in northwest Arkansas (Fort Smith-Fayetteville DMA), central Arkansas (Little Rock-Pine Bluff DMA) and south Arkansas-north central Louisiana (Monroe-El Dorado DMA). 

Satellite subscribers in other parts of Arkansas will not have AETN included in their "local channels" package at this time. However, DishNetwork currently does offer AETN as a "statewide station" for areas where AETN is not part of a "local channels" package.  This special service, which customers have to specifically request by name ("Statewide Channel: Arkansas Statewide PBS-KETS") for a small additional cost per month, allows AETN to be received by DishNetwork customers regardless of whether there is a "local channels" package available or what channels are included in those local packages.  DirecTV does not offer this special service at this time.

As for HD (high definition) service on satellite, DirecTV tells us that they launched AETN-HD in their HD package in Fall 2009.  DishNetwork says it launched AETN-HD in their HD package in mid-2010 for their customers.  In either case, satellite customers must sign up for the HD package and have an HDTV set in order to actually watch HD programming in HD.  Otherwise, viewers will see HD programming that has been down-converted to SD (standard definition at a lower resolution).  Satellite customers should talk to their provider for more information about HD services available in their area. 

Over-the-air viewers of AETN already receive AETN's primary channel (AETN-PBS) in HD as well as the secondary channels (AETN PLUS and AETN Create) in SD (standard definition at a lower resolution) -- for free -- if they have an HDTV set with built-in digital tuner. 

Note:  AETN's secondary channels are not carried by either DishNetwork or DirecTV and there are no plans by either to ever do so until required by law.

Q. Will I still be able to receive the analog broadcasts from AETN?

A. No.  Now that the analog shutdown date has come and gone, all full-power analog broadcast stations in the United States have been shut down except for a few that will serve as "night-light" stations for another month.  Thus, AETN shut down its remaining analog broadcast service from KAFT/Fayetteville in northwest Arkansas, KEMV/Mountain View in north central Arkansas, and KETG/Arkadelphia in southwest Arkansas on the morning of June 12, 1009.  Viewers who rely on an antenna or rabbit ears and who have not done so must connect a digital converter box to any analog TV they wish to use or purchase a new digital TV with tuner to enjoy free, over-the-air television.

Q. What is the latest concerning AETN's digital broadcast service?

A. Since mid-June 2009, AETN has been broadcasting at the fullest power allowed by the FCC at all six transmitters:  KAFT/Fayetteville in northwest Arkansas, KEMV/Mountain View in north central Arkansas, KETG/Arkadelphia in southwest Arkansas, KETS/Little Rock in central Arkansas, KETZ/El Dorado in south Arkansas and KTEJ/Jonesboro in northeast Arkansas.  Any problems that may occur should only be weather-related or due to temporary technical problems because of equipment or power failure.

Work to increase broadcast power strength and coverage area has been completed (as of early March 2010) at KAFT and KETG as well as at KEMV (as of early June 2010) with other work currently being done at KTEJ, which should be completed in mid-2011. 

Q.  Why can I still not receive AETN now that analog broadcast has ended?

A.  It is possible that some cable have not made changes in their equipment to again receive AETN or that they cannot receive a reliable signal due.  Viewers should contact their provider to find out the situation and when that will be remedied.  It is also possible that some viewers and cable companies have their antennas sitting where they receive too much interference, have their antennas aimed in the wrong direction, do not have an antenna for both VHF and UHF, have old equipment or wiring, or are sitting too far away from a transmitter to receive a reliable signal.  These areas are known as "dead-spots".  The only remedy at this time is to eliminate anything that might interfere with reception (see next question below) or to raise the height of the antenna.  Viewers are reminded to re-scan their convertor box or digital TV regularly after any adjustment.  And, some viewers may need to "double rescan" -- see this section under "DTV Information".

Q. Is there anything else I need to know or remember about digital TV?

A. Where you live may also affect whether you receive the new digital signal.  Such things as hills, tall buildings and structures, high-power electrical lines, storms, dense foliage, and even interior venetian blinds or large appliances can affect the reliability and quality of the signal.  Viewers who used to rely on rabbit-ears or antennas in their attic may need to have an antenna on the roof of their home or on a tall pole beside their house.

Viewers who rely on over-the-air digital reception are encouraged to occasionally rescan their channels as local stations have changed frequencies and/or are increasing their broadcast power that may allow viewers to receive them for the first time or with a consistent signal.  For an easy to read booklet called "DTV Made Easy", go online to download a copy at www.dtv.gov/dtv_made_easy.pdf.

Viewers who are not connected to cable or satellite and who wish to continue to use their analog TV sets will need a digital-to-analog converter box for each analog TV they wish to use.  A coupon to help purchase a DTV converter box was available through the end of July 2009.   Unless a viewer already has a coupon, any future purchase of a converter box will be a full price.


Digital TV versus Analog TV

Analog television service is the traditional method of transmitting television signals to consumers. Analog transmission has been the standard broadcast technology since the inception of television. Most current television transmissions are received through analog television sets. Analog signals vary continuously, creating fluctuations in color and brightness. TV stations can only transmit one program on a channel with analog signals.

Digital Television, or DTV, is a new type of broadcasting technology that enables stations to provide clearer pictures and better sound quality. DTV can also offer multiple programming choices, interactive capabilities and data services, such as enhanced closed captioning.

DTV is more efficient and less restrictive than analog for broadcasters. For example, DTV makes it possible for AETN to broadcast multiple streams of programming instead of broadcasting only one program at a time.

The DTV transition has been the switch from analog to 100% digital broadcasting of free television programming. The transition from analog to digital television represents the most significant advancement of television technology since color TV.

Why the switch?

All-digital broadcasting frees up parts of the broadcast spectrum for public safety communications (police, fire, rescue, first responders) and advanced wireless services. Digital also allows stations to offer improved picture and sound (High Definition) or multiple standard definition channels of programming at the same time (multicasting).

Who has been affected?

Consumers who receive free television signals through antennas on TV sets that are equipped with analog tuners and who do not subscribe to cable, satellite or other service providers.

Is Digital Television (DTV) the same as High Definition Television (HDTV)? No. HDTV is the highest quality of DTV, but it is only one of several forms: SDTV (Standard Definition): the most basic form that delivers a picture without interference at a resolution slightly higher than that of analog. HDTV (High Definition): provides the highest resolution and picture quality and is the only TV option that includes digitally enhanced sound. Consumers who have high definition TV sets may receive free high definition programming over the air using an antenna. All HD programs are digital, however, not all digital programs are HD.

Will all programming be broadcast in HD?

No. HDTV uses more of the allotted digital signal to provide superior picture. Broadcasters who multicast convert all picture resolution to SDTV quality, allowing two to four separate programs to be broadcast on the same digital channel at the same time. It is also possible to broadcast an HDTV signal along with one or two SDTV signals on the same digital channel.

How can I learn more about DTV?

You can also learn more about how to prepare for DTV at DTV Answers.com or download a free copy of the booklet "DTV Made Easy".

 


What do I need to do about Digital TV?

What does the digital transition mean for me?

Analog TV sets with rabbit ears or rooftop antennae without a digital converter box are not able to receive over-the-air programming after midnight on June 12, 2009, when the nation completed its conversion to 100% digital broadcasting. The switch enabled television stations to offer clearer pictures, better sound quality and more programming choices and is a result of legislation passed by Congress the Digital Television and Public Safety Act of 2005.

What do I need to do?

You have three options:

  • Purchase a DTV converter box for each analog television used to watch over-the-air broadcasts (don't forget RVs, vacation homes, deer camp, etc.)
  • Purchase a new digital television set with a built-in digital tuner
  • Subscribe to a cable, satellite or other provider that carries the channels you want to watch, including AETN.

What is a DTV converter box?

A DTV converter box is an easy-to-install electronic set top device that plugs into your analog TV and over-the-air antenna or rabbit ears and converts the DTV signal into analog. It enables you to continue watching free television on analog sets.

Do I need a DTV converter?

Yes, unless:

  • You subscribe to a cable or satellite service and don't want to watch television over the air.
  • You recently bought a TV that has a built-in digital tuner.

Is there any kind of discount for DTV converters?

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued up to two (2) free coupons per household, each worth $40, to reduce the cost of a DTV converter through July 31, 2009. Those coupons are no longer available now that the July 2009 date has been passed.

What is a ?digital-ready? television set?

Some televisions on the market are called Digital Ready, especially those sold a few years ago. These are sets that do not have a built-in digital tuner and will require a digital tuner box to receive and view any digital television programming.

What if I use a satellite dish with a digital, digital-ready or analog television?

No action is required providing you don't want to watch television over the air using an outside antenna or inside rabbit-ears. You should receive digital television signals on your analog TV just as you were prior to the end of analog broadcast, and you will receive AETN's primary program service and other over-the-air broadcasts in your local-into-local program package where available. You will not need to purchase additional equipment because you already have a special receiver to view programming from a satellite provider. Just to be sure, check with your satellite provider.

What if I use cable with a digital, digital-ready or analog television?

No action should be required provided you don't want to watch television over the air outside of your provider's offerings.

For three years starting on June 12, 2009, all cable providers are required to provide a converted digital-to-analog version of all over-the-air broadcasters that the cable company can receive. There is no provision in this requirement for anything other than over-the-air broadcasters and their primary program service. If you are satisfied with those services, then nothing more is required for those three years.

You should not need to purchase any additional equipment, but check with your cable provider to be sure you know how digital will affect your viewing. You will need to subscribe to the cable provider's HD package if you wish to see any HD programming in HD on your HD television set.

What if I use an outside antenna or rabbit ears with a digital, digital-ready or analog television?

If the TV has a built-in digital tuner, no action is needed. Televisions purchased after May 2007 most likely have a built-in digital ATSC tuner even if they are Standard Definition (SD) digital television sets. If you have one of these digital SD televisions, you should not need to take any action and can use a VHF/UHF antenna to receive digital signals over the air.

With a digital-ready or analog TV set, action is required! Since your analog television does not have a digital tuner, you have three options:

  • Purchase a DTV converter for each analog television used to watch over-the-air broadcasts (don?t forget RVs, vacation homes, deer camp, etc.)
  • Purchase a new digital television set with a built-in digital tuner
  • Subscribe to a cable, satellite or other provider that carries the channels you want to watch, including AETN.

Will I need a special antenna to receive DTV over-the-air?

In general, dependable reception of DTV will require the same type of signal reception equipment that you used to receive analog TV. If you needed a roof-top antenna to receive television in the past, the same antenna typically will be needed to receive DTV.

There is no such thing as a "digital" television antenna. A good, VHF/UHF outdoor antenna will maximize your DTV reception.  Just be sure that it is designed for both VHF and UHF.

Generally speaking, you should not expect to receive a reliable digital signal with rabbit ears if you are more than 10-12 miles from the broadcaster?s transmitter. An outside antenna will likely be needed for anything beyond that short distance.

What are some reasons that I may have trouble receiving AETN?s digital signal via my antenna?

Unlike the old analog signal where you could receive a snowy picture or a fading picture on the fringe of the broadcast area, digital transmission will provide you with either a clear picture and sound or nothing at all.

Tall buildings, large hills or mountains, dense tree foliage, electric lines and even interior venetian blinds can also affect the ability to receive a digital signal. It is possible that where you previously received a marginal analog picture, you will get no digital signal. You may find that a TV set in one room using rabbit ears receives a signal and another TV set in a different room does not.

What things do I need to know when considering what kind of digital TV to buy?

First, consider your options for different types of digital TVs

  • LCD
  • Plasma
  • DLP
  • Stand alone sets
  • Sets only a few inches thick that can hang on the wall
  • Sets with up to 60-diagonal inch screens
  • Flat Panel sets
  • Sets with Picture tubes
  • Rear projection
  • Front projectors

Next comes quality. Digital television signals can be broadcast in many different formats. All television pictures are comprised of a series of horizontal lines scanned across the picture. SDTV sets will have about the same number of lines of resolution as analog sets around 480 lines. HDTV pictures are broadcast in 720p, 1080i and 1080p. This means that there are either 720 lines or 1,080 lines comprising the picture. The ?P? and ?I? stand for how the picture is refreshed per second. The ?P? stands for Progressive, which means that all lines are refreshed sequentially. The ?I? stands for Interlaced, which means that the odd and even groups of lines are interleaved together to form the picture. All of this helps determine the ultimate quality of the picture you see and the cost of the set.

Finally, take into account such things as:

  • The size of your room
  • How far you are away from the TV set
  • How bright or dark the room is
  • If you watch mostly directly in front of the set or also from an angle
  • The size of the screen you want
  • How much you are willing to spend

All of these factors will help you decide which type of TV is best.

Why do I see the picture freeze into tiny little boxes?

This freezing is called pixilating or "tiling". It occurs when the digital data stream is interrupted. The television set cannot continue to receive the required information needed to recreate the pictures being broadcast. When this loss of information occurs, the digital equipment may freeze until more information is received to continue. This pixilating may last for a second or two or indefinitely. Occasionally when the program stream is interrupted you may see a blue screen on your TV set with a message indicating that there is no signal.

Why do I see the picture squeezed or have black bars around it?

The picture looking squeezed is generally only seen when an HD widescreen (rectangle) picture is down-converted to a standard digital or analog (square-looking) picture.  This is an option that broadcasters and cable companies have to allow you to see the entire picture.  AETN strives to not squeeze a picture before it is broadcast.  Another viable option to make this conversion from  widescreen (16x9 format) to the more square (4x3 format) picture is to do what is called "letterbox". This is where the entire widescreen picture is maintained, but the addition of black bars above and below the wider picture is required to fill out the traditional square frame of the TV set.  This is AETN's desired option for cable companies to use when downcoverting the 16x9 HD picture into a standard 4x3 picture.  A final viable option is to "center-cut" (or pillar-box").  This means that the outside left and right quarter portions of the widescreen picture are eliminated leaving only the center half visible.  This is the alternate option preferred by AETN for cable companies to use if they have the equipment to do so.  A final option for this conversion is to "postage-stamp" the picture with black bars all around the picture.  Only occasionally will this happen and only because this is the way the picture is received from an outside source.  In these cases, AETN will attempt to resize the picture just enough to eliminate as much of the black bars as possible without distorting the picture. 

What?s this about Scan & Rescan?

What Is Scanning?

When you first set up your digital TV or converter box, you must take steps to find the digital channels in your area. This process is called "scanning" or "searching for channels." If you did this prior to June 12, 2009, you need to do this again ? called ?rescan? to be sure you have all of the digital broadcast channels available.

How Do I Scan?

Your digital TV or converter box knows how to scan. To begin scanning for channels, use your remote control and the menu function.

If you have a converter box, you need to scan for channels using the converter box remote (NOT your analog TV remote).

If you have a digital TV and no converter box, you need to scan for channels using your TV remote.

Look for the menu button on the remote and consult your digital TV or converter box owner's manual for instructions. The up/down and left/right buttons move you through the on-screen menu.

Once you start, don't press any buttons until the screen says the scan is complete. This process can take a few minutes.

When Do I Rescan?

Sometimes digital channels have changed frequencies. For example, some TV channels, including AETN?s KETS and KETZ, changed digital frequencies during the final digital switch. Digital TVs and converter boxes retain old channel locations until they are rescanned ? so you must go through the scanning process again to update your TV or converter box with the new channel locations. Anytime you lose a channel that you used to receive, always remember to rescan!

Since the switch to all-digital broadcasting on June 12, 2009, some viewers are having difficulty receiving AETN and other local channels. According to the FCC, this problem may occur if converter boxes do not pick up the new frequencies for the digital TV channels. To resolve the situation, try this quick fix:

Initial Scanning and Double Rescanning

Any new digital TV or converter box will always need to first scan for digital channels it may be able to receive. After that, it may be necessary to ?rescan? from time to time or if changes occur due to power outages. This is necessary because scanning searches for and ?remembers? the available digital broadcast channels. But in some cases where stations moved their digital frequencies on June 12, simple scanning may not be enough. There is a procedure ? sometimes called ?double rescanning? ? that can clear your box?s memory of saved channels. These earlier scans may have saved channel information that is now incorrect. There are five simple steps to a double re-scan for a converter box or digital TV, which are as follows:

  1. Disconnect the antenna from the box or digital TV.
  2. Rescan the box or digital TV without the antenna connected. (As with any scan follow the on-screen instructions or owner?s manual for your device.)
  3. Unplug the box or digital TV from the electrical outlet for at least one minute.
  4. Reconnect the antenna to the box or digital TV and plug the unit into the electrical outlet.
  5. Rescan the box or digital TV one more time.

Rescanning should resolve the problem. If not, then you may have a reception problem that may mean an adjustment with your antenna.

Converter Box Rescan Steps

* Everyone with a Digital TV or a Digital Converter Box connected to an antenna may need to rescan for channel and reception changes.
* Anytime a digital TV station previously received is suddenly gone -- rescan to be sure.
* The up/down and left/right buttons on your TV or Converter Box remote control moves you through the on-screen menu.
* Below are simple scanning steps for the most common digital converter boxes. Consult the owner's manual for your Digital TV.

       
Manufacturer Model Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Access HD 1010 Menu Auto Channel Search OK Button
AirLink ATVC 101 Menu Scan Auto-scan
AMTC AT2016 Menu Auto-program OK Button
Apex DT250 Menu Auto-program OK Button
Artec T3APro Menu Channel Channel Scan ?OK?
Avion ATB7707 Menu Channel Scan Terrestrial ?OK?
Casti CAX-01 Menu Channel Channel Scan
Channel Master CM-7000 Menu Channel Scan Terrestrial
Coship N9900T Menu Channel Channel Scan
Daewoo DAC-100 Menu Setup Menu Channel Scan
Daytek CAX-01 Menu Channel Channel Scan
Digital Stream Menu Channel Auto-scan
Dish Network DTVPal Menu System Setup Find New Channels
Dolby Menu Right arrow Down 2X to Auto-tuning OK 2x
Energy Star Menu Right arrow to Channel Down to Auto-scan OK 2x
GE Menu Channel Auto
GMI DTA1000 Menu Channel Auto-scan
Gridlink GTL-200 Menu Easy Install Auto-scan
Insignia NS-DXA1 Menu Setup (Right arrow to) Auto-tuning
Jiuzhou DTT9001 Menu Channel Channel Scan
Magnavox TB100MW9 Setup Channel Auto-scan
MicroGem MG2000 Menu Auto-program
MicroProse MPI-500 Menu Channel Channel Scan
Philco TB100HH9 Setup Channel Auto-scan
RCA DTA800 Menu Settings (Press 5) Scan for channels (1) Begin (1)
Tivax STB-T9 Menu Auto-program  
Venturer STB7766G1 Menu Channel Channel Scan  
Winegard RC-DT09 Menu Channel Channel Scan  
Zentech DF2000 Menu Scan Auto-scan  
Zenith Menu Right arrow to Channel Down 2X to Auto-tuning
Zinwell ZAT-875 Menu Channel Auto-scan  

 


Antenna and Reception Information

What do I do about Reception problems?

If you subscribe to a cable or satellite service, always check with them first if you have any sort of reception problem.

The FCC has a Digital Reception Map that will give you a good idea of what your reception should be if you provide your zipcode.

If you use rabbit-ears or an outside antenna, you will need to make adjustments to that antenna. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Try connecting your antenna cable directly to your converter box if you are using a splitter or looping through a VCR or DVD. That configuration will cut down the strength of the signal reaching your converter box.
  • Your DTV reception can be affected by nearby moving vehicles, such as cars, trucks, trains and airplanes. In some instances, shadowing or reflections from these vehicles may cause your digital picture to temporarily break-up or even disappear completely. If this occurs, you should try moving or reorienting your antenna to find a position that provides the most reliable reception. If you are using an indoor antenna, switching to an outdoor antenna system which may include a directional antenna or rotor could improve reception. In severe cases it may not be possible to completely eliminate the effect of nearby traffic.
  • Your DTV reception can also be affected by severe weather conditions such as storms and high winds. These reception issues can result from fluctuations in the broadcast signal that can be caused, for example, by moving leaves and branches on trees. You can minimize the effects of high winds or storms by re-orienting your antenna to obtain the strongest available signal. If this does not work, a better indoor antenna or an outdoor antenna may help. In addition, make sure that outdoor antenna mounts are secure to minimize any movement caused by the wind.

 

Are there any things to remember about Antennas?

There is no such thing as a digital antenna. Any quality indoor or outdoor antenna will work for digital television sets or converter boxes. But be advised to following these six suggestions:

  1. Safety is first. Always be sure to carefully and completely follow the manufacturer?s antenna installation instructions that came with your antenna, especially pertaining to installation around power lines, working on ladders, lightning protection, grounding, etc.
  2. Outdoor is generally better.  Outdoor antennas have a better view of the transmitting station, with no building-induced signal loss. They receive less interference from other household electronic/electrical appliances.
  3. Higher is better.  The higher an antenna is, the more direct signal it can receive from the TV transmitter, while at the same time reducing the reception of interfering signals from other household electronic/electrical appliances. The higher the better, but any antenna should be at least four feet above the structure to which it is mounted, and ideally above the roofline.
  4. Direct is better.  If a position above the roofline is not possible, the antenna should at least be on the side of your building facing the TV signal broadcast tower. In many cases, you may need a rotor connected to your antenna so that you can rotate the direction of your antenna to be sure that you are pointed in the correct direction as not all broadcasters are located at the same site. Some may be in opposite directions.
  5. Bigger is better.  The larger an antenna, the more signal it receives. This is especially important on channels 2-6, where the longer wavelength requires a larger antenna in order to be efficiently received. Larger antennas also become directional which reduces ghosting caused by reflected signals coming from the side and the rear of the receiving antenna.
  6. Combo is a must. You must have a combination VHF/UHF antenna to receive all broadcast stations in Arkansas as there are stations broadcasting on both VHF and UHF. All digital television sets and converter boxes have round screw on type antenna inputs that only accept coaxial lead in wire. Some antennas have terminals or output wires that will require the use of a matching transformer or "balun". This is true of older indoor antennas with flat wire, about a half inch wide, with two fork type connectors. Outdoor antennas with terminals that look like two bolts with wing nuts will also need a balun.

What additional things might be helpful to know?

  • Some antennas are VHF or UHF only and will receive only stations 2-13 or 14-51, but not both. ALL television markets in Arkansas will require dual band VHF-UHF antennas in order to receive all possible AETN and commercial stations. Be sure your antenna is a combination VHF-UHF type.
  • Indoor antennas can come in various styles. Combination VHF-UHF antennas will have both a loop of wire or a piece of sheet metal in the shape of a halo or bow-tie, and two telescoping rods that can be extended to approximately 4 feet in opposite directions.
  • Most outdoor antennas will consist of a horizontal boom with cross members of varying lengths extending through it along its length. At one end of the horizontal boom there will be a "V" shaped section consisting of two shorter booms also with cross members of the same length extending through them. If your antenna does not have BOTH of these features, it is not a dual band VHF-UHF antenna. Check the specifications on the package to be sure.
  • Once the type of antenna you need is selected using this information, careful attention must be paid to its installation. While not difficult to install, antennas are sensitive to installation details. For wood-frame buildings where the antenna will be situated on the roof's peak, the antenna should be at least four feet above the peak. When installed above a flat metal roof, the antenna should be at least ten feet above the roof. For multidirectional antennas, allow for some mounting flexibility so that the antenna can be moved a few feet in each direction in order to obtain the best picture on all channels before a permanent mounting position is selected.
  • Outdoor antennas should have high quality coaxial wire connected between it and the television set or converter box. Any wire older than 10 years should be replaced. Depending on the market area, a power rotor should be installed on an outdoor antenna. Most Arkansas television markets have transmitters in various locations requiring antenna re-pointing to maximize signals from different stations.
  • All outside antenna installations MUST be grounded properly according to the manufacturer's instructions to prevent injury or fire caused by lightening. All outdoor antenna installations MUST be in areas safely away from power lines entering the home.
  • Antennas should be connected directly to the digital input of the converter box or digital TV set. Do not install splitters or connect multiple TV sets or converter boxes to a single antenna. Once a reliable signal is received, experimentation with signal splitters and other devices on a single antenna can be undertaken. If the signal strength falls below the minimum necessary to receive a broadcast station, the picture will disappear and the antenna may have to be connected directly to a single TV set or converter box to once again receive a signal.
  • Indoor antennas in rooms such as kitchens, or bedrooms with large mirrors may not receive a good digital signal. Large metal objects such as major appliances and copper backed glass mirrors can block or reflect signals.
  • Indoor antennas may need to be moved, rotated, raised or lowered around the room to receive a digital signal. Telescoping rods may have to be lengthened or shortened to receive different VHF channels. Loops or bow ties may have to be rotated to receive different UHF channels. Experimentation is the only way to find a good strong signal with an indoor antenna.

Can I put an antenna in my attic?

Generally, antennas do not perform optimally in an attic. Even when an antenna will perform well outdoors, reception of TV signals in an attic can be made very difficult by interference from other electrical devices. The building's construction can also hinder the entrance of the TV signal or cause reflection of the signal, which leads to ghosting. Depending on building construction, you can expect to lose at least 30% of the signal. In a house with aluminum siding, signal loss could be up to 100%. Outdoor installation is always best.

 


What will my programs be like in digital?

What changes will DTV bring to my favorite AETN programs?

To see for yourself, tune into one of the four digital channels we are already multicasting:

  • AETN-1 (AETN Local / PBS):  Quality programming from PBS and local productions about Arkansas from AETN -- in true or up-converted 720p HD 24/7.
  • AETN-2 (AETN Create): A lifelong learning channel featuring non-commercial cooking, painting, home repair, gardening, travel, crafts and how-to, and self help programs for adults.  This is SD 24/7.
  • AETN-3 (AETN Scholar / World): pre-K educational programming for young children, instructional programming for classrooms; professional development courses for educators; training seminars for state agencies and businesses during the daytime.  Evenings and overnight is non-fiction documentaries, culture and public affairs programs for adults.  This is SD 24/7.
  • AETN-4 (AIRSB Audio):  An audio-only service of the reading of local and national newspapers and magazines from the Arkansas Information Reading Service for the Blind for those who are blind or visually-impaired.  (For more information about this service, call (501) 852-5125).

These digital channels offer Arkansans clearer pictures and improved sound quality.

Where do I get an AETN broadcast?

AETN has been preparing for the DTV transition for years and now broadcasts digital channels alongside our regular analog broadcasts from:

  • KAFT-13 / Fayetteville - serving northwest Arkansas
  • KEMV-6 / Mountain View - serving north central Arkansas
  • KETG-9 / Arkadelphia - serving southwest Arkansas
  • KETS-2 / Little Rock - serving central Arkansas
  • KETZ-12 / El Dorado - serving south Arkansas
  • KTEJ-19 / Jonesboro - serving northeast Arkansas

Why is the digital TV screen wider than the old analog TV?

Analog television was broadcast with a picture in what is known as a 4x3 aspect ratio. That means the picture is four units wide by three units high.

High Definition (HD) digital television will be broadcast in a 16x9 ratio, or 16 units wide by nine units high. This change will allow for the viewer to see more of the picture, especially when viewing movies.  Standard Definition (SD) digital television is usually broadcast in the 4x3 aspect ratio.

Why do I see the picture squeezed or have black bars around it?

The picture looking squeezed is generally only seen when an HD widescreen (rectangle) picture is down-converted to a standard digital or analog (square-looking) picture.  This is an option that broadcasters and cable companies have to allow you to see the entire picture.  AETN strives to not squeeze a picture before it is broadcast.  Another viable option to make this conversion from  widescreen (16x9 format) to the more square (4x3 format) picture is to do what is called "letterbox". This is where the entire widescreen picture is maintained, but the addition of black bars above and below the wider picture is required to fill out the traditional square frame of the TV set.  This is AETN's desired option for cable companies to use when downcoverting the 16x9 HD picture into a standard 4x3 picture.  A final viable option is to "center-cut" (or "pillar-box").  This means that the outside left and right quarter portions of the widescreen picture are eliminated leaving only the center half visible.  This is the alternate option preferred by AETN for cable companies to use if they have the equipment to do so.  A final option for this conversion is to "postage-stamp" the picture with black bars all around the picture.  Only occasionally will this happen and only because this is the way the picture is received from an outside source.  In these cases, AETN will attempt to resize the picture just enough to eliminate as much of the black bars as possible without distorting the picture.


What do I do with my old analog TV set?

Recycle it! If you decide to buy a new digital TV and no longer want your old analog TV, look for opportunities to recycle it. Recycling TVs recovers valuable materials from the circuit boards, metal wiring, leaded glass, and plastics. Call your local household hazardous waste collection and recycling program to find out whether they will be sponsoring an upcoming event to recycle TVs and other electronics. But, do not just dump an old TV in a landfill as there are substances inside a TV set that can be toxic.

You can also check out the following Web sites to find a recycling program near you. Identifying resources and locations for electronics recycling does not constitute EPA?s endorsement of the services.

  • Earth 911 (www.earth911.com/electronics) Earth 911?s zip-code based search engine enables you to find recycling and reuse options in your community for a variety of products.
  • National Recycling Coalition (www.nrc-recycle.org/localresources). This page provides links to state recycling resources. Many communities have special collection and recycling days that are highlighted on their Web sites.  (
  • My Green Electronics (www.mygreenelectronics.org) On this Consumer Electronics Association site, you can learn more about purchasing ?green? electronic products and search for recycling opportunities.

For many working electronic products, donation is a good option because it facilitates reuse and extends the product life. However, with the switch to digital broadcasting, many charitable organizations may no longer be accepting analog TVs. Please check with the organization before you drop off your analog TV.  For more information, go online to www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/tv-challenge.htm.

 


Any other DTV Troubleshooting Tips?

Why does my audio vanish on some programs, but is fine on others?

The audio setting has probably been accidentally changed from its factory (default) setting or a power surge has caused the setting to be changed.

  • Check the audio settings using the using either the ?Audio? button on the converter box or digital TV remote or by going into the on-screen Menu to the ?Audio? Settings.
  • Choose the ?Audio One? or ?Main Audio? or ?Primary Audio? setting and not any secondary or later setting.

Not all programs have secondary audio channels for things like descriptive video for the blind or a foreign language translation, which is found on the secondary audio channel on AETN-1. AETN uses the secondary audio setting on AETN-2 and AETN-3 to air the Arkansas Information Reading Service for the Blind, which is also found on AETN-4 only as an open audio-only feed on the primary audio.

Why do I see Black Bars on the edges of my TV picture?

Programs are created using one of two different formats (called ?aspect ratio?) for the picture. These are either a ?4x3? or a ?16x9? ratio meaning that the picture is either 4 units wide and 3 unit high for a square looking "4x3" format or is 16 units wide and 9 units high for rectangle looking "16x9" format. Usually programs created in analog or standard definition (SD) digital use a ?4x3? format while programs created (or are up-converted) in high definition (HD) digital use a ?16x9? format.

  • Programs in different formats can appear on the same channel.
  • Since the formats of the TV screen itself are fixed, programs are sometimes ?re-sized? in an effort to standardize them.
  • Black bars may be added to the sides (or ?pillar-box? or "center-cut") or above and below (?letter-box?) the picture.
Sometimes the picture looking squeezed is generally only seen when an HD widescreen (rectangle) picture is down-converted to a standard digital or analog (square-looking) picture.  This is an option that broadcasters and cable companies have to allow you to see the entire picture.  AETN strives to not squeeze a picture before it is broadcast.  Another viable option to make this conversion from  widescreen (16x9 format) to the more square (4x3 format) picture is to do what is called "letterbox". This is where the entire widescreen picture is maintained, but the addition of black bars above and below the wider picture is required to fill out the traditional square frame of the TV set.  This is AETN's desired option for cable companies to use when downcoverting the 16x9 HD picture into a standard 4x3 picture.  A final viable option is to "center-cut" called "pillar-box".  This means that the outside left and right quarter portions of the widescreen picture are eliminated leaving only the center half visible.  This is the alternate option preferred by AETN for cable companies to use if they have the equipment to do so.  A final option for this conversion is to "postage-stamp" the picture with black bars all around the picture.  Only occasionally will this happen and only because this is the way the picture is received from an outside source.  In these cases, AETN will attempt to resize the picture just enough to eliminate as much of the black bars as possible without distorting the picture. 

Depending upon which of the above options a cable company may use, you can change the display format of your TV using the ?zoom?, ?format? or ?picture? button or similar setting on your remote control or in the on-screen menu.

  • An automatic or similar setting (usually called ?set by program?) will choose the ratio appropriate to each program, but that may not always be your preference.
  • Expansion of the picture to a full screen might either move part of the picture off-screen and out-of-sight, or stretch and distort the image. Cycle through the options and choose the one you prefer.
  • Check your television or converter box owners manual under ?display?, ?aspect ration? or ?settings? for more information.

Why do I see a Black Box covering the screen?

The closed captioning setting is improperly set. Be sure that it?s set to ?Off? or ?Service 1? or something similar. Or, the box is trying ? unsuccessfully ? to translate a secondary captioning service and the result is a black area of confusion. Check your owners manual.

Why doesn?t my Cable or Satellite Provider carry everything AETN broadcasts?

Cable and satellite providers are only required to carry the main channel from each of the local broadcasters they can receive. Every station would prefer to have all program services they broadcast carried, but the choice is up to the cable or satellite provider. Some providers do carry more than the main program channel, but most currently do not. You are certainly free to contact your cable or satellite provider and let them know your feelings.

Why does my convertor box turn itself off?

All converter boxes come with an energy-saving feature that turns them off if no button is pressed on the remote for four (4) hours. This setting can be change or disabled.

  • For Digital Stream: go to ?Function? > ?Time? > ?Power Down? to change the setting.
  • For Zenith or Insignia: Press the ?Sleep? button to reset.
  • For RCA: Press ?Menu?, then choose ?Settings? > ?Power Saver-3? to reset.

Why do I not receive channels that I used to receive?

  • First, you may no longer receive channels in digital that you used to receive in analog because of reception problems. If the old analog channel was slightly-to-very snowy in the pass, you may now be totally out of range to receive a digital signal which is much more precise.
  • Move your antenna to a higher location and use the ?signal-strength? meter on your digital TV or converter box after you rescan to see if you have a powerful enough signal.
  • Be sure that you are not trying to receive signals through a metal roof or heating ductwork in your attic if your antenna is located there.
  • For rabbit ears, be sure that metal objects such as window blinds, window bars, and large electrical appliances are not between the TV and the direction of the TV station transmitters.
  • Be sure that your antenna is designed for both VHF and UHF.
  • If adjusting your antenna and rescanning does not improve things, you probably need to upgrade to a different antenna situation or you may have to choose either cable or satellite for full reception.

Why does my picture seem to freeze into tiny little boxes?

This is called ?pixilation?. If the picture freezes, audio drops out or distorted colored squares appear on the screen, the television signal received by your antenna is not quite strong enough. These symptoms are the digital version of snow, ghosts and fluttering in the analog days of TV. Digital reception is less forgiving than analog. Try adjusting your antenna, relocating your antenna or upgrading your antenna if this is a constant problem. The CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) produced a large mapping project that covers every city in the United States. You can go to www.antennaweb.org for more outdoor antenna information and advice. You can even type in your address and determine the distance, exact direction and type of antenna you need for your situation. Another good place for antenna information and location maps is www.tvfool.com.

Why do I see ?Weak or No Signal? on my TV screen?

This will occur when your reception of an over-the-air signal is too weak to be reliably received or if the TV station is off the air for technical reasons. If it is the former, adjusting your antenna may help. If it is the latter, patience is required until the TV station makes its corrections.

I have cable or satellite and I can see all of my channels when I tune my TV set to Channel 3, but only a few on Channel 4. Why?

Your analog TV or converter box communicates to each other by being on the same channel. Normally, channel 3 is the channel both use. So, be sure that your converter box is witched to channel 3 (found on the back of the box) and your TV is tuned to channel 3. Once that is done, you only use your TV remote control to turn on and off your TV and adjust the TV?s volume. Your converter box remote control is used to change channels and make adjustments to the converter box.

How do I still use my old VCR with my converter box and analog TV set?

Simply connect your antenna to your converter box. Then connect the converter box to your VCR and then the VCR to your TV. That way the digital signal is converted to analog for your VCR (which is analog) and your analog TV.

Can my Homeowner?s Association prevent me from putting up an outdoor antenna?

In most cases, the answer is ?No?. As directed by Congress in Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the Over-the-Air Reception Device Rule concerning governmental and nongovernmental restrictions on viewers' ability to receive video programming signals from direct broadcast satellites ("DBS"), multichannel multipoint distribution (wireless cable) providers ("MMDS"), and television broadcast stations ("TVBS").

The rule is cited as 47 C.F.R. Section 1.4000 and has been in effect since October 14, 1996.  It prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming.  The rule applies to video antennas including direct-to-home satellite dishes that are less than one meter (39.37") in diameter (or of any size in Alaska), TV antennas, and wireless cable antennas.  The rule prohibits most restrictions that: (1) unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use; (2) unreasonably increase the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal. 

The rule applies to viewers who place video antennas on property that they own and that is within their exclusive use or control, including condominium owners and cooperative owners who have an area where they have exclusive use, such as balcony or patio, in which to install the antenna.  The rule applies to townhomes and manufactured homes, as well as to single-family homes. 

The rule allows local governments, community associations and landlords to enforce restrictions that do not impair, as well as restrictions needed for safety or historic preservation.  In addition, the rule does not apply to common areas that are owned by a landlord, a community association, or jointly by condominium or cooperative owners.  Therefore, restrictions on antennas installed in common areas are enforceable. 

On November 20, 1998, the Commission amended the rule so that it will apply to rental property where the renter has exclusive use, such as a balcony or patio.  The effective date of the amended rule is January 22, 1999. 

How can I learn more about DTV?

You can also learn more about how to prepare for DTV at DTV Answers.com or download a free copy of the booklet "DTV Made Easy" at www.dtv.gov/dtv_made_easy.pdf.