It has been one year since over-the-air television stations in the United States turned off their analog signals and went completely digital. Since then, there have been improvements in reception from some stations. However, some stations are still having problems getting their digital signal out in places where their analog signal once existed. For others such as low-power and repeater stations, it’s hard to switch to digital since their current analog allotment ranges between channels 52 – 69, (a section that was auctioned off by the FCC)  while the digital allotments (channels 7 – 51) are already being filled up.

A few stations in my area suffer from these scenarios. One station can’t broadcast their digital signal as far as their analog once did because of possible interference to a distant station on that same frequency. Relocating back to their original analog frequency is impossible since that will also cause interference with another distant station, and finding a frequency that won’t interfere with a distant station may cause interference to a local adjacent station.

The other station is a low-power analog station which was recently turned off because its frequency fell in the channel 52 – 69 allotments. They currently have an application for a digital signal on the low VHF band.

The problem is that the FCC made the digital transition too confusing for TV broadcasters. The digital allotment is already crowded, making it hard or impossible for stations wanting to upgrade their transmitter power or go to digital.

In my opinion, this is what that FCC should have done on June 12, 2009. First, the FCC should have kept a few more channels for digital broadcasting. Instead of channels 7 – 51, how about channels 7 – 59. Second, when the June 12, 2009 switch took place, stations broadcasting on channels 7 – 59 should have moved their digital signals back to their original analog frequency. Analog stations that fell between channels 2 – 6 and 60 – 69 should have been relocated to an available digital channel between 7 – 59, possibly a pre-transition channel another station was using. This would have made digital television less confusing, less conflicting, and less crowded.

Note: The FCC does not want stations broadcasting digitally on channels 2 – 6 (low VHF) because they are very sensitive to electro-magnetic interference. Also, low-power stations were not required to turn off their analog signal after the switch to digital.

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