Wilmington, NC becomes the first to go digital

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Wilmington, North Carolina, is the first television market in the country to make the switch to digital-only broadcasting.

The city's mayor and the head of the Federal Communications Commission flipped a giant, symbolic switch at noon to mark the moment that commercial broadcasters voluntarily cut off their old, analog signals.

Wilmington volunteered to be the test market for the national conversion. The rest of the nation's television stations will make the conversion on February 17th.

Viewers who receive programming through an antenna and do not own newer-model digital TVs by that date will have to buy a converter box to get any channels.

The government is providing $40 coupons to help defray the cost. Viewers who subscribe to a cable or satellite service won't be affected.

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