Big Switch Minute: Viewers' concerns

WILMINGTON -- The big switch should pay off for TV viewers in the long run with a better picture and more choices.

There are bumps in the road and those are reflected in calls to our big switch hotline.

Beth wants to know if she will be able to listen to WECT at 87.7 on the radio.

The answer, sadly, is no.  Due to the technological change, that channel goes away on the day of the switch, and we don't have a choice in the matter.

John in Pine Valley, and several other callers say, "I can get all the stations except WECT with my converter box.  Why not?"

We know about the problem and the fix is in the works.  We should have a much stronger signal long before the actual transition date.

In the mean time, having the correct UHF antenna and adjusting it for the best signal is very important.

April says, "We're curious about battery operated TV's during storms.  We're told we would need a special convert box.  Is that true?"

There are several options.  At least one company offers a battery operated converter box.  Others are selling digital ready portable TV's for about $200.

By next year, both products should be cheaper and easier to find.  You can also use a generator or a low cost battery powered inverter to power your DTV equipment.

Finally, Brandon in Whiteville wants to now when people in his town will go digital.

The answer is: most of the local stations, including WECT, are already broadcasting digital, but we will turn off our analog on September 8.  So, you must have a DTV set or converter box by then in the Wilmington area.

Reported by Jim Hanchett