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ROCH — KAAL, KIMT set for digital switch

By Sarah Doty

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

The digital transition is just hours away, and Heather Holmes, marketing director for KAAL, said that so far the transition is going smoothly.

KAAL, the Austin-based ABC affiliate, AND KIMT, the CBS affiliate, based in Mason City, Iowa, are the last two area stations to switch to digital. They will cease analog broadcasting Friday afternoon. KTTC and KXLT, the Rochester-based NBC and Fox affiliates, converted earlier this year.

Jim Budd is a television broadcast engineer and has been helping people with the transition. He said the response he has heard has been mostly positive.

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"People are usually happy after we show them what to do," he said. "They find their old TV sets now have a program guide and banner every time you switch to a channel, and they never had this. So it’s a nice thing once they know how to hook it up."

But as with any transition, there have been a few glitches that stations around the country are all working to eliminate. There are residents who have found themselves in gaps where the signals aren’t as strong.

"Some of the stations have had problems with the picture, but they are working on them," Budd said. "To get the range that they had before, they had to increase their power quite a bit, a lot have doubled their power. It’s going to be a learning experience for all of us."

Holmes stressed that consumers who have problems should call the station for help.

"They can all us at any time, with any issues our viewers are having," she said. "We can walk them through any problems and we have a ton of information on our Web site to help them navigate this as easy as possible."

For more information, visit Postbulletin.com/weblinks.

The Digital TV Transition: Reception Maps http://www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/

AntennaWeb http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx

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What you need to know about DTV http://www.dtv.gov

DTV Coupon http://www.dtv2009.gov

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