The digital test

Wilmington, North Carolina today became the first community in the country to experience digital TV transmission. The switch-over, which occurred at 11 a.m. CT, was expected to show whatever flaws exist in the plan to end analog TV signals next year. The biggest problem appears to be telling people analog transmissions are going to end. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed in Wilmington didn’t know that today was the day the old Zenith would stop working.

It’ll be 162 days before Minnesota’s TV stations turn off the analog signal. Most of those affected are those who use rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna to receive the signals. Cable TV and satellite TV customers may be mostly unaffected (but it wouldn’t hurt to call the company to find out).

Eighty-five percent of people in this country now get their TV from either cable or satellite. About 500,000 people in Minnesota get their TV “over the air.”

So how’s the big test going in Wilmington? There was a last-minute run on converter boxes, and some stores ran out.