Wilmington, NC Lives the DTV Future Now
The city's four network affiliates, plus a Trinity Broadcast System station, joined the mayor in a ceremony on Monday, gathering around a seven-foot-tall fake cardboard switch and flipping it. As you'd expect, "dozens of calls" flooded into local TV stations when Wilmington flipped the switch. Actually, are dozens a flood? Maybe more of a trickle. There is also a toll-free number manned by staffers of the Federal Communications Commission.
The local volunteer fire department is helping residents hook up the set-top boxes that allow old analog sets to go on working with the new digital signals. However, some residents are having trouble getting them to work. That's why the FCC decided on this isolated rollout--to gauge the problems and coordinate solutions.
Wilmington's metro area has 14,000 households that rely on antenna signals, or eight percent of all local viewers, according to Nielsen. Nationwide, 13 million homes need analog signals, according to the latest Nielsen figures (other estimates have been all over the place).
Ninety-seven percent of Wilmington households knew about the transition when local officials flipped the switch, presumably thanks to a volley of public service announcements that preceded the big event.