Rural Pitkin County TV won’t go digital just yet |

Rural Pitkin County TV won’t go digital just yet

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

PITKIN COUNTY ” Rural Pitkin County residents who rely on the county’s translator system for television reception don’t have to worry about the nationwide digital conversion just yet.

Seven Colorado stations were to convert to digital transmission on Tuesday rather than waiting until June 12, the new deadline set by Congress, but the county’s translator system will convert the digital signals back to an analog broadcast. That means TV viewers without cable television or a satellite dish don’t yet have to buy a digital converter box for the their television sets, said Dan Chicoine, communications site manager for the county.

However, the county will be converting its translator equipment over the next two summers, he said. By the fall of 2010, residents who rely on the translator system will need to hook up a digital converter box, just like anyone else in the country who isn’t getting their television reception via satellite or cable.

Nationwide, more than 400 TV stations were go to digital on Tuesday, while 191 other stations had already switched.

The Colorado stations making the switch Tuesday were: KBDI (PBS), Denver; KREG (CBS), Glenwood Springs; KRMZ (PBS), Steamboat Springs; KFQX (Fox), KKCO (NBC) and KREX (CBS), Grand Junction; and KREY (CBS) in Montrose.

Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver delayed the switch, as did most Denver and all Colorado Springs stations.

The Pitkin County translator system receives signals ” including KREX (CBS) out of Grand Junction ” at its main site on Sunlight Peak outside of Glenwood Springs. The system has nine translator sites in all, bouncing broadcast signals around the nooks and crannies of the county to provide TV reception in places like Marble, Redstone and the upper Fryingpan Valley.

The county believes roughly 200 to 500 residents rely on the system, Chicoine said.

“The only way we’d know is if we turned it off,” he said, jokingly.

Some users of the translator system have no other option to get TV reception; others simply don’t care to pay to have more than the five channels the system provides.

“There are a lot of people who don’t think TV is that big a deal,” Chicoine said.

As the county begins converting its equipment this summer, it will publicize the switch so those who need digital converters this year will know it, Chicoine said.

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