Wilmington goes digital

Here in Wilmington we’ve gone digital. Wilmington NC, my town was the first to switch to all digital TV broadcasting yesterday. You knew something was going on when you heard about the press representation. Of course the local Wilmington Star News was there but so was the Associated Press, L.A. Times, Washington Post. And then NBC Nightly News, four Japanese networks and C-SPAN!!!

Turns out that the Japanese are planning to make the all digital switch in 2011 so they were here to see how it went.

Wilmington announced back in May that they would be the guinea pigs for this project. Since then we have had television ads, newspaper articles, radio ads and every other medium you can imagine informing people about buying a converter as needed.

If you have cable already you didn’t notice anything. Nothing. They flipped some giant switch and that was that. Of course they had a symbolic big switch as well. 

If you did not have cable you need to buy a digital conversion box in order to receive a TV signal. The boxes are available at area electronics stores and, with a coupon obtained from the government by registering at http://www.DTV2009.gov, cost as little as $10.  There have been reports of about 100 calls from people in the area who have had problems with the switch over.

The only unfortunate part of the event was the mayor sounding like a hayseed. He was quoted as saying: “The effort and the outreach the FCC put into this was impressive,” he said. “You folks were at blueberry festivals, hog callings, everywhere.” Okay, that’s not so bad. But this one? Mayor Saffo summed it all up by echoing a phrase that has become ubiquitous in the area over the past few months. “First in flight, first in digital,” he said, “and we’re daggone proud of it.”

I’ve lived here for over 15 years and the only time I hear daggone is when someone is making a joke or from one of our long time local “seasoned citizens”.

Anyway, the switch is complete which should mean we don’t have to be reminded that we’re “getting ready for the switch” which is good because I have cable and there was nothing for me to do.

The good news was and is that it worked, mostly. The few glitches will be fixed and that will be the end of the story.

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