Hawaii makes historical big switch to digital TV - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii makes historical big switch to digital TV

A news crew from Japan's NTV was in the islands to cover the digital TV transition A news crew from Japan's NTV was in the islands to cover the digital TV transition
Felipe Dominguez Felipe Dominguez
John Fink John Fink
Earl Mostoles Earl Mostoles
Ben Char (right) experienced problems getting a signal at his Manoa home after the digital conversion was made Ben Char (right) experienced problems getting a signal at his Manoa home after the digital conversion was made

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Hawaii made the big switch to digital television Thursday. It's the first state in the country do it, and one media organization from Japan came here to document the transition.

Japanese TV stations don't make the switch to digital until 2011, but the NTV crew picked up a few pointers from Thursday's events.

The big switch to digital is finally here.

"One of the lessons they have to learn is that just like Hawaii, is very different from the mainland, Japan has many different regions with different dialects," NTV associate producer Felipe Dominguez said.

The Nippon Television Network crew made a special trip to the islands to cover America's first state to go digital.

"I think it's significant by itself that Hawaii is the first state to go digital but it also provides a litmus test and many lessons for the mainland whether they go digital in February or if it's delayed," Dominguez said.

"It seemed like this day was talked about for so long and to finally be here in the transition for KHNL/K5, having gone very smoothly, it's just nice to know that Hawaii will now be the template or the laboratory if you will, for the rest of the country," KHNL/K5 general manager John Fink said.

But for some, the transition was anything but smooth.

"You have this mountain range right near there, I suspect that's what's blocking your reception, so I think that's why you're not getting any signal now," digital transition technician Earl Mostoles said.

For Manoa's Ben Char, the big switch turned into a big headache.

"I expected to be just the same once I get the digital signal, but he says it doesn't work, so what's the use?" he said.

All analog signals shut down at noon Thursday. Some people, including Char, were left without any service because digital signals don't necessarily reach all the places analog broadcasts hit.

Although Hawaii is the first state to make the big switch, it's not the first area to do so. Wilmington, North Carolina made the digital transition last September. To learn more about Hawaii's "Big Switch," call 541-2388.

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