SNOWMASS VILLAGE - Residents of Snowmass Village now have the option of free television service, thanks to the installation of $60,600 worth of translator equipment on Jack Rabbit Ridge, between Owl and Brush creeks. Pitkin County staff is waiting on a license to rebroadcast one channel, but otherwise the system is live as of June 15.
The new equipment and service is covered by the county translator property tax, which supports a system dedicated to the rebroadcast of television and FM radio signals in the valley. Up until now, Snowmass Village residents have only been able to get television by subscribing to a private service such as DirectTV or Comcast.
"We wanted to give Snowmass Village the same coverage" as other county taxpayers, said Jodi Smith, Pitkin County's facilities manager.
Residents who wish to use the free television in their homes need to purchase their own antennae - "no rabbit ears," Smith said - and cables and then point the antennae toward the ridge. The cost of an antenna averages about $60, Smith said, and everything else is covered by the tax, including assistance from county staff.
Homes within sight of Jack Rabbit Ridge should get reception. Smith tested eight different locations in Snowmass Village on June 13.
"It really worked well," except for one area near the animal shelter on Owl Creek Road, she said. "We also tested a couple of places that were able to get around the ridge."
The equipment rebroadcasts 15 channels, which include mostly local programming as well as a few Denver stations.
Some people might not want to give up their favorite channels by switching to the public service.
"But I think that's what's nice, is that people have a choice right now," Smith said.
For channel listings and more information on the equipment needed, visit www.aspen
pitkin.com and click on "TV/FM Broadcast Service" on the county department list.