Idaho Public Television is changing channels in the Bonners Ferry area, beginning Wednesday (August 15).
IdahoPTV engineers completed the installation of a new state-of-the-art translator on Black Mountain east of town Wednesday afternoon and set the new broadcast channel to 23. The IdahoPTV signal was off the air during the change-over.
The change to channel 23 from the previous channel 59 is to accommodate federal requirements for television stations to use channels 2 through 51, according to Rich Van Genderen, IdahoPTV director of technology.
"Right now the new translator is sending an analog signal, the familiar signal we have been watching since television's beginnings," says Van Genderen. "When we are told to no longer send an analog signal, which now is scheduled in 2009, we flip a switch and the new translator is digital-ready."
Viewers should notice improved picture quality and better sound immediately, he says.
The statewide public television system is in the process of bringing all its translator channels, which must be approved by the FCC, into a range below 51. The higher numbers are to be auctioned to other users by the federal government in anticipation of television switching to digital channels.
The work at the Bonners Ferry site is made possible through a 2006 U.S. Department of Commerce Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP) grant and matching funds from the State of Idaho. It is part of the IdahoPTV effort to upgrade the 37-translator system throughout the state to be ready for digital broadcasting statewide.
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