If you’re confused about the transition to Digital TV (DTV), Time Warner Cable and KCPT public television will answer your questions from 8-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6. That’s when PBS’ “Getting Ready for Digital TV” will air and 40 specially trained Time Warner Cable employees will man a phone bank to answer callers’ questions about the transition to all Digital TV.
The DTV readiness event is part of a partnership between Time Warner Cable and KCPT public television, which broadcasts over-the-air on channel 19 and on Time Warner Cable channel 11.
“We believe that we can best serve the public through this combination of an excellent, informative TV program and personalized information,” says Damon Porter, director of public affairs for Time Warner Cable’s Kansas City system. “Viewers will be able to call and speak to knowledgeable staff who will be ready to answer each person’s questions about their specific needs and explore solutions.”
Porter says he wants to assure everyone who receives their TV picture via cable that – no matter how old their TV is – the transition will not impact their ability to receive programming. “We are taking part in the November 6 event as part of our on-going commitment to ensure that the 123,150 Kansas City households that rely exclusively on over-the-air TV will still get a picture on February 18,” he says.
On Feb. 18, 2009, the television industry will complete its transition from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting. Congress mandated that the entire nation switch to all digital TV because digital signal takes up less broadband and will free space to accommodate new technologies.
Once all TV signals are delivered in digital format, viewers who use an antenna to get their programming and don’t have a newer digital TV will no longer get a picture. The Nov. 6 KCPT program is designed to help those TV viewers understand their options and how to take steps to implement a solution before Feb. 18.
“Relatively speaking, a significant percentage of our KCPT viewing audience watches TV using over-the-air antennas,” says Kevin Worley, vice president of public information and special events for KCPT. “We hope that this DTV show and the Time Warner Cable phone bank help them understand their options as we approach the switch-over in early 2009.”
The Nov. 6 "Getting Ready for Digital TV " special features PBS personalities from “This Old House”, “The New Yankee Workshop” and “Now”. The show provides information about the various DTV solutions, including a segment showing how to use converter boxes, which convert the picture much like a cable box does. The government has set aside $1.5 billion for a coupon program to help cover the cost of converter boxes.
In September, Wilmington, N.C. became the first city in the U.S. to switch to digital television signals. When all five of Wilmington’s TV stations switched, affecting the 7.4 percent of residents who rely solely on over-the-air signals, residents made more than 1,000 calls to report problems. If the percentage of callers reporting problems is replicated throughout the country in February, this would translate to about 1.7 million Americans unable to access programming on their televisions.
While only 7.4 percent of Wilmington residents relied on over-the-air broadcasting, more than 13 percent of Kansas Citians rely solely on over-the-air TV reception.
“We hope that everyone who has an older analog TV will tune in to KCPT on Nov. 6 and call the phone bank where they’ll find informed staff ready to help them evaluate their situation and find the best possible solution,” says Time Warner Cable’s Porter. “We want to do everything we can to assure that, on February 18, Kansas Citians still will be able to watch their TVs.”
In addition to the November 6 phone bank and TV special, Time Warner Cable and KCPT offer a joint program -- Get the Picture: Understanding the Switch to All-Digital TV -- in which they send speakers to retirement complexes, community centers, churches and other organizations to explain the switch to all digital and answer questions. The program is available in English and Spanish. To schedule a speaker, call 816-222-5800.
About Time Warner Cable—Kansas City System
Time Warner Cable in Kansas City (NYSE: TWC) offers the most advanced cable television, high-speed Internet service, Road Runner and Digital Phone to more than 600,000 homes and businesses in the seven-county Kansas City metropolitan area. Time Warner Cable employs 1,000 people in its various Kansas City locations and provides free service to more than 550 schools. Time Warner Cable Metro Sports is Kansas City’s only 24 hour all sports network. Time
Warner Cable Business Class offers a full complement of business communications tools to small and medium-sized businesses and enterprise-sized companies. Its data, voice, video and
security solutions are enhanced by award-winning customer service and local support teams. Time Warner Cable is on the Web at www.twckc.com and www.kcondemand.com.
About KCPT Public Television
KCPT is an award-winning, nonprofit, community-owned television station serving the greater Kansas City area that provides programming and services that entertain, educate and enrich the community. For more information about KCPT’s programs and services, go to www.KCPT.org.