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Boston sets digital transition info campaign

Wed, 12/03/2008 - 7:25am
Brian Santo

Over-the-air, cable and telco TV providers in the Boston area will spend an entire day next week running information about the imminent digital transition, hoping to educate consumers about the event. If successful, it could provide a model for broadcasters in other markets.

Most of the day on Dec. 9, WGBH-TV analog will re-run a 30-minute show on the digital transition. All Boston market broadcast television stations and cable providers will run intermittent crawls pointing viewers to the information on WGBH.

The stations elected to not run the crawls during primetime, however. The notifications will run only from 5:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

All Boston stations will run three, 2-minute 'Virtual Shutdown' readiness tests at 5:15 am, 6:15 am and 5:15 pm. The tests will alert television audiences whether or not their TV sets are ready for the DTV transition through a full-screen graphic alternating in English and/or Spanish that will inform them of any steps they must take, if necessary.

Backing the maneuver are Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee, as well as the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association (MBA).

"The coming transition to DTV will be revolutionary for television, while hopefully passing almost unnoticed by most consumers,” said Congressman Markey. “In order to ensure a smooth transition, I have been conducting extensive oversight of federal DTV transition efforts, and now I am pleased to join with the leadership of Boston's television media to better inform our local community through this unique 'DTV Day.' Our local stations are showing an impressive dedication to serving their viewers by cooperating on this DTV outreach effort. I am proud that the Boston market can be an example across the country."

Operators participating in Boston's 'DTV Day' include Beld Broadband, Charter Communications, Comcast, Duncan Cable, MetroCast, RCN, Southern VT Cable, TDS Cable, Time Warner Cable and Verizon.

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