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Digital television arrives in Philipsburg; Drummond access planned for 2016

Philipsburg Mail of Philipsburg, Montana

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If your house has a clear view to the tower at Discovery Ski Area, you should now have access to digital TV.

The news comes nearly seven years after the Granite County Television District set out to make TV more accessible to residents.

Charlie Cannaliato, manager for the project, said that Digital TV, or DTV, has seven new television channels available to Pburg residents, four of these in high definition. Access for Drummond residents was expected by next spring, he added.

The new channels are KECI (NBC from Missoula in HD, Channel 13.1) KPAX (CBS from Missoula in HD, Channel 8.1), KTMF-AB (ABC from Missoula in HD, Channel 23.1) KTMF-FO (Fox from Missoula in HD, Channel 23.2) MeTV (channel 13.2) Movies! (channel 13.3) and the CW (Channel 8.2).

Cannaliato said DTV was a vast improvement over analog.

"... the further you were from the tower, the weaker the signals became; the picture got snowy. Even worse, the surrounding mountains caused the signals to bounce and reflect which produced ghosts and degraded the quality significantly," he stated.

With DTV "you either get the signal or you don't."

"If you get it should be pure in quality as it left the originating station," Cannalia to stated. Two other benefits are that the stations can broadcast in high definition and they can broadcast more than one program at a time.

A simple outdoor antenna should work-amplified rabbit ears would not work, he said.

The television district had been working towards getting access up and going since 2008, he said, with some significant challenges along the way. This included replacing expired licenses, getting construction permits, and having to change locations after the initial location was found to be inadequate.

Right now, the group was working on getting the same service to Drummond by early 2016. The current transmitter that is on Airport Road would likely be moved to a higher location northwest of Drummond, he said.

The service was important "because it allows people to get local television for free."

What do you need?

An outdoor antenna. A digital television or a DTV converter box a converter box will work with an television set no matter how old; it will not be able to receive high definition. The newer flat screen TVs are able to get DTV and also have HD.

How do I connect?

With a converter box, follow the directions that come with it. Connect the outdoor antenna to the input of the converter and then the output of the converter to your conventional TV set. Set the channel to three and follow setup instructions.

If you have connected everything properly, you should see a setup screen-follow the instructions.

With a flat screen TV, connect the outdoor antenna to the TV set. Go to the setup menu and follow the instructions.

With both the converter box and the flat screen, you will need to do a scan. This can be confusing. DTV stations can broadcast on a specific channel but the channels that appear to you are sometimes a different channel number. For example, in Philipsburg, KECI is broadcast on channel 17. During the initial scan, you TV set will find channel 17 and label it as KECI-HD, channel 13.1. It will also find channels 13.2 and 13.3. From this point onward, you will always tune into KECI by selecting channel 13 and then use the channel up button to get to 13.2 and 13.3.

Note: You must do a scan before you can select any channels. Trying to tune in a channel directly prior to a scan will result in a no picture. This applies to both converter boxes and flat screen TVs.

Where do I point the antenna?

The new stations serving Philipsburg are located at the top of Discovery Ski Area. Point your antenna to the top of Discovery. If you can see the tower at the top of Discovery, you will be able to get these channels When purchasing a antenna, look for UHF antennas, not VHF. They need to be directional and have a range of 30 miles or more.

Avoid amplified antennas unless you have a very long down lead or are going to feed more than one TV set.

Copyright 2015 Philipsburg Mail, Philipsburg, Montana. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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