By most accounts, the nation's transition to an all-digital television broadcast last week went smoothly -- except for people like David Zentz and Glenn Englebrecht.
Zentz, a 30-year-old photographer in Venice, found that he had lost reception for ABC, CBS and Fox when he tried to tune in this weekend to catch the Lakers game.
Englebrecht, who watches local news, lost seven out of nine broadcast channels.
"It's either spend a couple of thousand dollars on all new equipment or live with very poor quality TV viewing," said the 54-year-old insurance salesman from Rowland Heights, who tried everything short of climbing on top of his apartment building to adjust the rooftop antenna.
Zentz and Englebrecht were among tens of thousands of Americans who lost channels or received choppy video after 971 TV stations on Friday shut off their analog signals and migrated entirely to digital broadcasts.
A digital-TV help line -- (888) 225-5322 -- run by the Federal Communications Commission fielded 18,500 calls from Los Angeles -- 0.3% of the city's 5.7 million TV-viewing households.
Broadcasters hailed the transition as a success.
"Millions of households are enjoying dramatically better pictures and sounds," said Jonathan Collegio, vice president of the National Assn. of Broadcasters.
But that wasn't the case for Wally Grotophorst in Hamilton, Va., who got a digital antenna for his digital TV last year. On Friday he lost two stations, ABC and CBS, even though he could pick them up digitally before the transition.
That's because those stations, like dozens of others, switched the frequency of their digital signals from the UHF band to the VHF band Friday.
Grotophorst's antenna, like many others sold as "digital" in the last few years, was designed only for UHF stations. Some TV antennas can receive both UHF and VHF signals. Those models include indoor versions that have extendable poles -- "rabbit ears" -- for VHF signals and a loop for UHF.
The FCC has been advising viewers experiencing trouble to have their converter boxes rescan the airwaves for digital TV signals that moved to new frequencies last week.
For those not helped by that, the FCC put out an advisory Monday on its website, www.dtv.gov, recommending "double rescanning": disconnecting the antenna from the TV, rescanning, unplugging the converter box for a couple of minutes, turning the converter box back on, reconnecting the antenna and scanning one more time.
The Associated Press was used in compiling this report.