With the deadline for the transition to digital signals now less than a year away, a survey found that broadcasters in the U.S. expect to meet the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) mandated deadline of Feb. 17, 2009.
The survey, released by Harris Corp., also found that most broadcasters plan to upgrade their facilities in order to provide viewers with local programming and news that originate in high-definition (HD), as well as to provide local TV content via the Internet and mobile devices, including cell phones, PDAs and laptop computers.
“The survey shows that U.S. broadcasters are fully embracing the conversion to digital and HDTV and the additional revenue opportunities it will provide,” said Tim Thorsteinson, president of Harris Broadcast Communications. “The transition to digital equipment and supporting software systems is not only allowing broadcasters to offer expanded services, but also to create a seamless workflow and reduce costs.”
On Feb. 17 of next year, all over-the-air analog signals will be converted to digital signals. Viewers who are not subscribed to cable, satellite or telco video services will have to pick up converters in order to view programming.
The survey’s findings include:
• 66 percent of broadcasters plan to provide consumers with more programming in HD, with its significantly superior picture and sound quality.
• 55 percent of broadcasters said they would use the additional channels resulting from digital TV’s superior spectrum efficiency to multicast more local news, sports, weather, traffic and other community interest programs.
• 50 percent of broadcasters expect to broadcast live programming over the Internet and derive additional revenue from their station’s Web sites.
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