By KRIS REILLY
Lucerne Valley has begun the transition to digital television.
Those who watch over-the-air TV have already noticed a change: Three analog channels are off the air and have been replaced by digital channels. In order to see digital channels, viewers must have a digital conversion box (available at most stores that sell electronics) or a digital-ready television.
Satellite television customers are not affected by the changes.
The change to digital television has been mandated by the Federal Communications Commission and must be completed before Sept. 15, 2015.
“For each new digital channel, we have to sacrifice an analog channel for the FCC,” said San Bernardino County Special Districts official Tim Millington at last week’s Municipal Advisory Council meeting.
Analog channels 41 (KCAL), 43 (KCET) and 48 (KABC) have been replaced by new digital channels, which can offer the same networks plus additional programming because each digital channel offers multiple program streams. For example, channel 41 will offer three different programs: 41-1 (KCBS), 41-2 (KNBC), and 41-3 (KCET).
Four of the old analog channels (15, 17, 19 and 50) are still available but will eventually be removed to comply with FCC regulations.
During their presentation at the MAC meeting, Millington and County Service Area 29 employee Scott Fritz said digital is a big improvement over analog — even if some people aren’t happy with the change right now.
“The advantage with the digital system is, you’re going to get a perfect picture and perfect sound, or nothing,” Fritz said.
Fritz added that the digital signal is very strong and should deliver high-quality sound and picture to the far reaches of the CSA 29 area.
Viewers can use their digital-ready TV or converter box to scan for available channels. Anyone with questions about the conversion is asked to call (760) 248-7048.