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At the November 18, 2008 meeting...
The Transition to DTV
A Panel Discussion

The SMPTE New England Section in conjunction with SBE New England Chapter 11 held a meeting entitled "The Transition to DTV: A Panel Discussion on the Benefits and Challenges of the Forthcoming DTV Switchover" on Tuesday, November 18th at WCVB-TV ch-5 Studio-B in Needham Massachusetts.

SMPTE New England meeting coordinator Martin Feldman brought together a panel consisting of chief engineers and representatives from television stations from the Boston area to discuss issues concerning the end of over the air analog television broadcasts in February, 2009.

The panel included:

  • Michael Foti, Director of Engineering, WGBH
  • Robert Yankowitz, Engineering Manager, WBZ-TV, SBE-11 Chair
  • Rick Zach, Chief Engineer, WCVB, SBE-11 Vice Chair
  • Karen Holmes Ward, Director of Public affairs, WCVB
  • Jim Shultis, Director of Engineering, WHDH and WLVI
  • Bill Holbrook, Chief Engineer, WFXT (Fox 25)
  • Greg Roehr, Chief Engineer, NECN

Karen Holmes Ward, Director of Public Affairs and Community Services at WCVB, began the meeting by articulating that "A Revolution in Television is upon us". Ms Holmes went on to speak about the cooperative effort taking place between Boston stations as they all prepare to participate in the upcoming virtual shutdown test. On December 9th at 5:15 a.m., 6:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m, virtual shutdowns, two minutes in length, will take place where all Boston television and cable stations will simultaneously broadcast a graphic informing the viewer whether they are not ready or ready for the digital television transition. Viewers still receiving analog over the air broadcasts will be informed that they are not ready and will be instructed to turn to WGBH-TV to view a program containing information on how to get ready for DTV, as well as a telephone number to call for help.

Moderator Peter Fasciano fielded questions for the panel from the audience and discussed with the panel their experiences, challenges, and unexpected hurdles and benefits that crossed their paths in preparation of the DTV switchover.

-Kevin Lessard.

Posted: 6 March 2009
Bob Lamm, SMPTE/New England Newsletter/Web Page Editor