Status of the DTV transition in markets 6,000 miles apart

From the two furthest-flung television markets in America come updates on their respective transitions to DTV. One is being expedited for environmental reasons, and the other will remain on schedule with monthly shutdown tests.

Today, it was announced that Hawaii's mandatory transition to digital broadcast will be completed a month ahead of the scheduled February 17 deadline to accommodate the nesting season of the Hawaiian Petrel, an endangered sea bird.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that the analog broadcast towers near Haleakala volcano on Maui be dismantled early so the Petrel will not be disturbed when they begin nesting nearby.

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Senator Daniel Inouye told Honolulu's KHNL NBC 8, "I am pleased that Hawaii's broadcasters have volunteered to lead the nation in the transition from analog to digital television."

The first major market to go all digital was Wilmington, North Carolina in September. Individual stations are reportedly switching over early as well, such as MyTV in New Hampshire, which last week announced it would be switching over two months early because nearly 95% of its viewers are cable, satellite, or fiberoptic customers.

Six thousand miles away from Hawaii, in the opposite corner of the US, all thirteen of Maine's local stations will begin testing their DTV readiness on Monday, November 17. The test will be a brief 60 second shutdown of all analog signals at 6:28 pm. A message will be shown alerting viewers what is happening and will include a toll-free hotline sponsored by the Maine Association of Broadcasters.

These tests will continue once a month until the February 17 shutoff date.

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