Digital Television (DTV) Transition Information
The federal government mandated that all major television stations cease broadcasting their programming in analog format on June 12, 2009 and begin broadcasting exclusively in digital format. If a household uses an over-the-air antenna to receive television signals, either a digital-to-analog converter, a digital television, or cable or satellite service must now be used to continue to receive television signals. One or two $40 federal coupons redeemable towards the purchase of a digital-to-analog converter box(es) are available to most households, if the requests are made by July 31, 2009.
DTV questions? Call the federal government’s DTV Help Line at 1-888-225-5322. If your questions are not answered, then call Fairfax County’s Department of Cable and Consumer Services at 703-324-5900.
Are Some of Your Digital TV Stations
The FCC has reported that some viewers in the metropolitan area encompassing Fairfax County have been unable to receive signals on channels 7 and 9. Because these two channels originally were broadcasting their digital signals in the UHF spectrum, the converter box or the digital television "memorized" the frequency locations for those two channels. When channel 7 and channel 9 changed their digital signals to the VHF spectrum on June 12, some televisions and some makes of converter boxes could no longer "find" channels 7 and 9. See our Channel-Selection Trouble-Shooting Guide for information on how to receive channels 7 and 9 if they are "missing" on your television.
List of Broadcast Television Stations Available in Fairfax County
Televisions in the Fairfax County area with an over-the-air “rabbit ears” or roof-top antenna may receive the following stations:
4 – NBC – WRC
*Channel 30 actually consists of two closely-related
Actual reception of the above channels depends on the distance of the viewer’s residence from the broadcast stations’ transmission towers, where the antenna is located within the residence, whether the antenna is properly “aimed,” antenna height, proximity of an indoor antenna to a window, and the quality of the antenna. Other factors that can impact reception include interference due to nearby buildings and trees, hilly terrain and low elevation, materials used to construct the residence, inclement weather conditions, and airplane over-flights.
Adjusting the placement of an existing antenna can help bring in more stations. Reception can often be markedly improved by using either a rooftop / attic antenna or an indoor “amplified” VHF/UHF antenna. After making any antenna adjustments, viewers should be sure to “re-scan” all channels, as follows: (1) Remove the old antenna; (2) perform a re-scan, which erases the memory; (3) turn off TV and converter box, if any, for least 1-2 minutes, then turn back on; (4) connect the new antenna; (5) if there are one or more “gain” controls on the amplified antenna, be sure to turn the gain up; and (6) perform another re-scan to pick up signals from as many television channels as possible.
Quick Consumer Guide to the Digital Television Transition
Households that receive television signals over-the-air -- using a rabbit-ears or rooftop antenna -- must make adjustments now that all TV broadcasts are digital ("DTV"). Learn more about digital television, the federal coupon program, how to set up converter boxes, recycling older televisions, and many other topics:
Additional Digital Television Resources
More information about the digital television transition is available on the following topics:
- Are All of the Televisions in the Household DTV-Prepared?
- Applying for $40 DTV Coupons
- Expired or Lost DTV $40 Coupons Can Now Be Replaced
- Purchasing a Converter Box
- Reviewing Converter Box Features
- Antennas and Reception Issues
- Cables or Other Equipment Needed?
- Portable and Large Projection TVs; S-Video and Composite A/V Cables
- Setting Up a Converter Box
- Channel-Selection Trouble-Shooting Guide
- Setting Up a VCR or DVD
- Recycling Older Televisions
- Additional Information and Resources
- Alternative Formats
- Digital Transition Assistance for Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities