TODAY'S TMJ4 Ends Analog Broadcasts
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MILWAUKEE - After more than 60 years, TODAY'S TMJ4 HD has stopped broadcasting. We made the switch to solely digital broadcasting on live on TV on LIVE at Noon. With Scott Steele at his side, George Kasdorf actually hit the button.
Click Here to watch our live coverage of the switch.
You probably don't know George, but he worked here behind the scenes for years. He was the second engineer ever hired at WTMJ-TV. In fact, he was working here in 1947 when the station first went on the air.
George remembers a time when TODAY'S TMJ4 signed off the air daily. "At ten o'clock they'd have a little bit of news and then they'd go off the air."
Stations like TODAY'S TMJ4, along with television and cable networks, are switching from analog to digital, turning off their analog signals.
Friday's big switch to digital television could leave more than a million unprepared homes stranded without TV, despite years of stations and networks informing the public.
"It is the largest public service campaign ever mounted by broadcasters," said Journal Broadcast Group Executive Vice President of Television and Radio Operations Steve Wexler.
"There are some folks whom, I'm sure, are going to be unprepared, or this might be news to them. There are some who are ready, who have got the digital converter, or have cable, or some other delivery system so they're ready for the digital switch. Most people, I think, believe they are ready. When the analog signal goes off, they may find that some of their TV sets are not."
The function to follow on your new TV system if you have to program a new converter: the scan.
"The biggest thing that we're finding when we get calls from people is that they have their digital TV, they've got an antenna and they've purchased their digital converter box, but what they've neglected to do is the scan feature.
"The biggest note we're trying to get out to folks is if you feel like you're ready with all your television sets, just make sure that you have operated that 'auto scan' or scan feature with your remotes. That will capture all your digital signals, the primary signals and all the secondary signals which are all free, over the air signals being offered by broadcasters."
The FCC has thousand operators standing for calls from confused viewers.
New Channels Available
TODAY'S TMJ4 HD is now more than just TODAY'S TMJ4.
If you check out 4.2 digital, you'll see it's a 24-hour weather channel.
On other stations you can also find Wisconsin Department of Transportation traffic updates and radar in digital.
So how do you get there?
"Now, what we want to do is hit 'ok' and scan for channels, and that's going to start picking up our new digital channels," explained TV installation expert Jeff Polzin.
When you use the remote to start scanning, it will take a couple minutes to initialize.
The converter goes through all the digital channels. You'll see a flash when it finds something.
When you're done, merely hit the "up" or "down" channel key to navigate.
"This now becomes the tuner for your TV," explains Polzin.
"You are now changing the channels within this converter box. You are no longer changing the channels on your TV."
If you're still not ready, there are DTV clinics scheduled in the area for the next week.
FCC officials will be on hand to show you how to hook up a converter box. The clinics will continue through the weekend.
You can call the FCC hotline with any questions. That number is 1-888-CALL-FCC.