News
18-Mar-2009 Introducing Interactive Maps (NEW!)

We're pleased to announce the introduction of a brand new feature for our site called Interactive Maps!

This tool is somewhat of a cross between our Radar Plot reports and our online coverage map viewer.  It lets you enter a location and then dynamically view the transmitter stats and coverage maps in the area.  If you want to adjust your location because the address lookup wasn't so good, just drag the marker to a new location and the transmitter data will automatically get updated.  You can even generate our regular Radar Plot reports with the click of a button.

Just a few notes:

- You'll need to have a Javascript enabled browser
- A fast internet connection will be needed to fetch all the map graphics
- A high resolution display will help fit more information on the screen (1024x768 or higher recommended)

We'll have a more detailed write-up of this tool and some of its features later, but for now, we wanted to make it available so that everyone can start using it.  We look forward to hearing your comments and feedback on what we hope will be a fun and informative new way to learn about broadcast television.

If you'd like to get started with it right now, you can click here.

 
12-Mar-2009 Updated Google Earth Coverage Maps
We're pleased to announce the availability of updated Google Earth coverage maps!  These maps are similar to ones available before, but have been updated as follows:
  • Updated to latest snapshot of FCC database.
  • Includes information regarding "early" transition stations that switched on or before February 17th.
  • Both Pre- and Post- transition sets are available.  This is based on a snapshot of the FCC database plus the final allotment data that's been published.  The information for low power (LP) and Class A (CA) transmitters is still very limited, so the post-transition coverage maps will still mostly show these as analog broadcasts.  If / when better information becomes available, we will try to incorporate that into future simulations and maps.

The list of available metros and their download links are available in the Coverage Maps section.

 
26-Feb-2009 Migration to New Servers Complete

We're pleased to announce that we just completed migration of our online tools to a new computing cluster.

This migration has been taking place over the past two days, and some of you may have noticed that we hit a few speed bumps along the way.  If you encountered any site outages, sluggish responses, or other strange behavior over the past two days, please forgive us.  We're making improvements to keep up with the growing popularity of the site and to support more online processing tools currently under development.  The change was not as transparent as we would have liked, but we're glad it finally got done.

Now that the new cluster is in place, the site should return back to normal behavior (if not better than before).  If you still notice any site quirks due to the migration, please let us know and we'll fix it ASAP.

 
18-Feb-2009 1/3 of Broadcasters Go Full Digital on Feb 17

February 17th has finally arrived, and in a way, this signifies the beginning of the end for analog broadcast television.  Congress and the President have moved the analog cutoff date to June 12th, but due to the tremendous planning that has gone into the February 17 date, approximately one third of the major broadcasters have decided to go ahead with their plans as originally scheduled.

A quick run down of the numbers is as follows:

In the "final allocation" list released by the FCC on March 6, 2008, there were 1,814 broadcasters scheduled to shut down analog broadcasts on February 17.  This list only includes "major" high-power broadcasters, and does not include low power stations, Class A stations, translators, boosters, or other types of licensed TV transmitters.

On February 11, 2009, President Obama officially signed the DTV Delay Act into law, which extended the cutoff date until June 12, 2009.  The new law does not prohibit "early" shutdown (before June 12), and the FCC acknowledges that it would be difficult for some broadcasters to change their February 17 plans on such short notice.  New guidelines from the FCC allowed some broadcasters to proceed with their original February 17 plans, but others would have to be delayed in order to avoid channel conflicts and to serve the best interests of consumers.

In a report released on February 16th, the FCC indicated that 220 broadcasters (12%) already made plans for an early transition prior to February 17, and an additional 421 stations (23%) will go ahead with their original February 17 transition.  This means that by this morning, 641 stations (35%) should be done with their switch to digital.

Out of those 641 stations, about 147 of them (23%) have indicated that they will also operate an analog transmitter in "nite lite" mode.  These transmitters will serve as a "pointer" to more information about the digital conversion.  These channels might have limited programming value, but they will continue to be signals occupying the airwaves, nonetheless.

The remaining two thirds of broadcasters will continue their full analog and digital operations.  Many of them have indicated that they will keep their analog broadcasts going until June 12 in the spirit of the DTV Delay Act to help the remaining unprepared consumers make the transition to the digital era.

 

We've updated our databases to reflect these latest changes so that the online Signal Analysis tool will depict today's transmitter environment to the best of our knowledge.  We'll also retain the analog records for those stations operating a "nite lite" transmitter since these signals might cause adjacent- or co-channel interference, and should also be checked for signal overload conditions if they happen to be very close.

The Signal Analysis reports will reflect these changes immediately.  The online coverage maps and downloadable Google Earth coverage maps will take some time to re-process, so they will be updated in due course over the next few weeks.

As always, if anyone has any corrections, updates, questions, or comments, please let us know.

 
9-Feb-2009 Updated Transmitter Icons available for download

The Transmitter Icons file has been updated to reflect the following changes

 - Updated to the latest FCC database snapshot (9-Feb-2009)

To download the latest file, go to the Transmitter Icons area
 
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