Consider This: Digital TV - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Consider This: Digital TV

By now you've undoubtedly heard about digital television. Local TV stations around the country are transitioning to digital, but what you might not know is that, by law, all TV stations must give up their current analog channel, ours is channel 6, on February 17, 2009. That's less than two years from now.

WECT is currently broadcasting on two channels: 6, our analog channel where you've found us for 54 years, and 44, our digital channel where some NBC programs are in high-definition. HDTV is required to receive those programs in high definition.

After February 17, 2009 or, as we refer to it, "The Big Switch", analog TVs receiving over-the-air programming will require special converter boxes to change TV digital broadcasts into analog format. Those converter boxes will be available from consumer electronic stores and the federal government is going to make discount coupons available to help defray some of the cost. If you subscribe to a cable or satellite service, their converter boxes will allow analog TVs to continue to receive local channels after "The Big Switch."

Confused? So were we. That's why we're launching a major on-air and online effort to answer your questions and make "The Big Switch" as painless as possible. Be aware that many consumer electronics stores are still selling analog TVs. Those TVs are required to be properly labeled and will not work after "The Big Switch" without a converter box, cable service or satellite service. So if you don't want a big surprise on the day of "The Big Switch", ask the right questions if you're buying a new TV.

That's what we think. Tell us what you think.

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