TV to make digital transition on Friday

June 11, 2009

Subscribers of Sunflower Broadband and other pay-TV services still have nothing to worry about when it comes to the approaching digital transition, set to arrive Friday.

“You’re fine,” said Rod Kutemeier, general manager of Sunflower Broadband. “You don’t have to do anything.”

But as Topeka stations switch frequencies and Kansas City-area channels drop analog for digital signals, viewers who use older TVs that remain unplugged from cable, satellite or converter boxes still have some basic work to do, he said.

Step one: Either get a converter box or sign up for cable or satellite-TV service. It’s that, or lose access to over-the-air channels you’ve come to rely on for entertainment and information.

And if you already have a converter box, be sure it’s hooked up and ready to go, Kutemeier said. When Topeka TV stations made their switch from analog to digital signals back in February — the original deadline for the transition, which was since pushed back — many calls from viewers involved people who hadn’t yet hooked up their boxes.

“That was the main concern,” Kutemeier said.

One more note: Anyone using a converter box or in-TV tuner to grab over-the-air signals — signals that are not delivered by cable or satellite providers — likely will face some easily resolved inconveniences come Friday, the steadfast deadline for stations to comply with the government-mandated transition.

Folks in that situation simply need to set their converter box or TV tuner to “rescan” for channels, Kutemeier said. That’s because some stations will be switching their digital signals over to different frequencies.

Such viewers who go to bed tonight without rescanning could wake up Friday morning to “snow” on their screens, he said.

Lawrence-based Sunflower has customers in Lawrence, Eudora, Linwood, Tonganoxie, Basehor, Piper and portions of Bonner Springs and Kansas City, Kan.

Unlike some other providers in the area, Sunflower offers broadcast stations from both Kansas City and Topeka markets. Sunflower is owned by The World Company, which also owns the Journal-World.

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