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Digital-only TV broadcasting starts Friday

By: Tim Cuprisin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The analog TV era ends Friday, with a daylong transition to digital-only broadcasting.

If you don't know about this, you haven't been watching TV - or reading this column - for the past couple years.

But despite the regular updates - including innovative TV spots that featured Milwaukee's competing TV anchors working together to spread the word - it's still unclear just how smoothly this will go.

There's really no reason why the minority of TV viewers who only watch over-the-air with an antenna won't be ready.

Digital TV has been available for years.

You just never know.

Viewers of pay TV services won't have to change their TV-watching habits on Friday, but they won't be getting all the sub-channels available to over-the-air digital viewers.

On Milwaukee's TV dial, Channels 18, 24 and 30 went all-digital back on Feb.12, the original deadline.

Here's the rundown for Friday (although times could change at the last minute):

• 9 a.m. - Milwaukee Public TV's two stations, Channels 10 and 36, and the Fox affiliate, Channel 6, turn off their analog signals.

Channel 58's programming begins to be simulcast on low-power Channel 63.

• Noon - Channel 12, the ABC station, shuts down its analog signal, while Channel 4, the NBC station, turns off its analog programming, replacing it with a graphic explaining the switch.

• 2 p.m. - Channel 4 switches off its analog signal.

• 11:59 p.m. - Channels 58 and 55 switch off their analog signals, completing the transition.

Among Milwaukee's stations, the first to launch was Channel 4. It's making its noon cutoff something of an event, with TV pioneer George Kasdorf turning off the analog signal he switched on back on Dec. 3, 1947.


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