The Big Switch - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

June 18, 2008

The Big Switch

Are you ready? Most of you are, but how do you know? I'm talking about "the big switch", when the government has mandated that all analog TV broadcast signals from stations like KHNL and K5 will disappear from the airwaves. If you are a cable or satellite subscriber, which accounts for 95% of the TV households in Hawaii, you are covered. But for the other 5% of TV homes in Hawaii, and for countless homes with second or third TV sets not hooked up to a service provider or unable to input a digital signal, you need to make sure that you are ready. Because on February 17, 2009, all television stations throughout the country will turn off their analog transmitters and provide a digital-only signal.

Analog TVs receiving over-the-air programming will still work after the February date, but owners of these older TV sets will need to get a paid service or buy a converter box to change digital broadcasts into analog format. Converter boxes are available locally from consumer electronics retailers, and the federal government is subsidizing most of the purchase price of these boxes- up to two per household. Still confused? A bit unsure? To alleviate the angst, go the "the big switch" box at khnl.com to find out more.

Not getting a TV signal might be simply discomforting for some, but it could be disastrous for anyone should an emergency situation occur locally- and you simply can't get the relevant information from KHNL or others. You have eight months to make the switch if you are not ready, so get yourself educated now before the screen goes blank in your house. Think about it...

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