Searching for Digital

Posted by Thoughts and Ramblings on Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My parents got a new HDTV. Good ol’ Walmart had their 6am sale on black friday, so we all piled in the truck early in the morning to pick up a good deal. Got it home and started to test it out. It seemed to work just fine.

We started testing out the HD part of the TV. Problem, my parents don’t live too near a big city, so all the stations are distant. As a result, picking up the digital channels can be painful. To make matters worse, when one does a rescan on the TV, it forgets all the previous digital channels it found. Here enters the method by which digital channels work. The digital channel for channel 5, for instance, is not on channel 5. It is somewhere else. My dad discovered that if one manually enters in the location for a digital channel, the TV can figure it out and pick it up. So, does one can play the guessing game to find them? Not quite. Government regulation to the rescue. The FCC has a database of all the stations and their licenses. So, simply look up the station by its call sign, location, and/or channel, and it list the info about them. Click on the engineering data, and there is the list of all their broadcast rights, including the channel where their digital transmission is hidden. So, simply tune it in, pray that the set can receive the weak signal, and then add it to the list. Ought to keep my parents busy for the next few weeks, assuming they aren’t still picking up signals from a few states away.