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Guide

DTV Transition and LPTV - Class A - Translator Stations

Background

The FCC has established September 1, 2015 date for the termination of all analog low power television service. After that date, analog television will no longer be broadcast in the United States. Until that time, low power television stations may continue to operate their analog facilities.

Low power television stations have the opportunity to seek either an on-channel digital conversion of their existing analog facilities (“flash cut”) or may construct and operate a second digital companion channel during the remainder of the digital transition. However, all low power television stations will be required to decide a single digital channel to continue to operate after the September 1, 2015 transition date.

If you have an analog-only television that receives free over-the-air programming (with a roof-top antenna or "rabbit ears" on the TV), you will need to purchase a digital-to-analog (“D-to-A”) converter box in order to watch digital broadcast television. If you purchase a D-to-A converter box to watch digital broadcasts on an analog TV and also wish to continue watching analog LPTV, Class A or TV translator stations, you should purchase a converter box with "analog pass-through" capability, which allows analog broadcast signals to pass through the converter box to be tuned by your analog TV. Converter boxes are still sold at some department and electronics stores and online. When shopping for a converter box, check to make sure the converter box you are purchasing has analog pass-through capability.

If you purchase a digital-to-analog converter box without analog pass-through capability, you can use an "A-B switch" and/or a "signal splitter" and some extra cable to route the analog signals around the converter box in order to watch analog channels. A set-up guide is available at www.fcc.gov/guides/digital-analog-converter-box-setup-viewing-analog-and-digital-broadcasts. Alternatively, you can disconnect the antenna from the converter box and re-connect it directly to the TV to watch analog broadcasts. Check with the manufacturer of the digital-to-analog converter box and your retailer if you need additional instructions on how to connect the box to view broadcasts from both analog and digital stations.

For More Information

For information about this and other communications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer website, or contact the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

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DTV Transition and LPTV - Class A - Translator Stations Guide (pdf)

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