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Early converts to digital are fuzzy about benefits

Some report getting worse reception and fewer stations, at least for now

February 17, 2009|Jim Puzzanghera

Broadcasters dismissed the Centris study as flawed. A poll by the National Assn. of Broadcasters last month found that 76% of people receiving digital TV said their reception had improved. The poll did not ask the others if their reception had gotten worse or simply stayed the same.

New acting FCC Chairman Michael J. Copps, a Democrat who had been critical of government preparation for the switch under his Republican predecessor, said last week that he hoped the four-month delay would allow the agency to "get a better grip on coverage and reception issues that so many consumers are struggling with."

Schauer and her husband, Eric Treat, a resident physician, don't watch much television. But the 1970s-era set they received from relatives picked up all the local stations in analog, even if some were a bit snowy.

The troubles began when they hooked up the $55 Apex converter box they bought with the help of a $40 government coupon last month.

Stations such as KNBC-TV Channel 4 came in clearly. But they no longer get KABC-TV Channel 7 clearly, and KCBS Channel 2 and KTTV-TV Channel 11 don't come in all.

She now watches her favorite program, "Grey's Anatomy," on the Internet. That's not an option for ABC's live Oscar broadcast, so she'll watch at a friend's house.

"I'm not going to get a new antenna, and I'm certainly not going to buy a whole new digital television right now," she said. "I'm just going to wait and see what happens."


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