LIVE VIDEO: Status of the Digital TV Transition - 252 Days and Counting - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

LIVE VIDEO: Status of the Digital TV Transition - 252 Days and Counting

The House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet in Washington, DC is conducting a hearing today on the status of the Digital TV transition.

The hearing is entitled, “Status of the DTV Transition: 252 Days and Counting.”  Live video of the hearing will appear in the player to the right of this story.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin will lead a lineup of eight witnesses set to testify.  Also in attendance will be Mark L. Goldstein, director of Physical Infrastructure Issues at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, who will discuss a recent GAO report indicating the progress and challenges ahead for broadcasters.

Lawmakers also plan to discuss the transition test market of Wilmington, N.C.

At the hearing, Bernadette McGuire-Rivera, associate administrator in the Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, will discuss the NTIA’s converter box coupon program.

A second panel of witnesses is set to include Paul McTear, president and CEO of Raycom Media, which owns and operates more than 40 television stations; John Ripperton, senior vice president for supply chain management at RadioShack; Tom Romeo, director of federal services at IBM, NTIA’s main contractor in the coupon program; Kim Cannon, vice president, and general manager for the Fayetteville/Wilmington markets for Time Warner Cable; and Eric Rossi, senior product manager of the Nielsen Co.

The switch from analog TV (the traditional TV system using magnetic waves to transmit and display TV pictures and sound) to digital television (the new TV system using information transmitted as "data bits"to display movie-quality pictures and sound), is referred to as the Digital TV (DTV) transition.

In 1996, the U.S. Congress authorized the distribution of an additional broadcast channel to each TV broadcaster so that they could introduce DTV service while simultaneously continuing their analog TV broadcasts. In addition to improved picture and sound quality, an important benefit of DTV is that it will free up parts of the broadcast spectrum for public safety as well as other valuable uses. This is possible because the modern technology of DTV is more efficient than analog TV technology.

DTV allows the same number of stations to broadcast using fewer total channels (less of the broadcast spectrum) which will free up scarce and valuable spectrum for public safety and new wireless services.

Click here for more information on The Big Switch.

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