Hawaii TV to go All Digital January 15, 2009

KITV 4 and....

Hawaii will convert all of its full power over the air TV stations from analog to digital broadcasts on January 15, 2009. The new deadline will put the state one month ahead of the rest of the nation which is mandated to make the switch by February 17, 2009.

The digital switchover will affect all full power broadcast TV stations and those viewers who get their TV reception over the air through a rooftop or “rabbit ear” antenna. The changeover for cable TV and satellite TV subscribers will be transparent and unnoticeable. There will be no need for cable or satellite TV customers to buy a digital converter box. Cable TV and satellite TV subscribers already have digital boxes supplied by their service providers.

For antenna users with standard analog TV sets, a converter box will be required to accommodate the change. The federal government is subsidizing converter box purchases with a coupon program. Digital converter boxes are available at most major electronics retailers.

Antenna users can also buy a new TV set. All new TV sets ranging from low end CRT models to high end flat screen HDTV sets now come with built in digital tuners. Antenna using consumers who already have a TV with digital tuning or who are going to buy one by January 15 will not have to get the converter box.

Hawaii’s local TV stations will be launching a public information campaign over the next 120 or so days to inform the public about the switch. The P-R campaign for the February 17 deadline is now a moot point in Hawaii.

The switchover from analog to digital is being hastened in Hawaii mainly in an effort to move Maui’s TV transmitters from the top of Haleakala to a new location a few miles downslope from the present place near the mountain’s summit. This is being done to accommodate the nesting habits of some rare birds on Haleakala.

Over the air consumers will be impacted by this switchover for all islands except Kauai, who get their analog signal from low power (LP) transmitters not currently mandated by the digital change.

Some Maui and neighbor island antenna viewers who will get their over the air signal from the new digital transmitters at the new Maui location may get a weaker signal or no signal at all since some of the digital channels on Maui were relocated from the VHF portion to the UHF portion of the dial.

Hawaii Radio & Television Guide will be updating its TV channel grid in the next few weeks to accommodate the change.

Links to more information

This was originally posted to the Hawaii Radio & Television Guide website.


Melvin Ah Ching is a photographer, consultant, blogger, desktop publisher, and computer enthusiast living and working in Hawaii. The Hawaii Files have been online since 2006.