My transition to digital terrestrial television

On Friday, December 3, in my region there was the switch off with the move to digital terrestrial television. In Italy the various regions, sometimes provinces on their own, have been switching to DTT during this year, my region is one of the last to do it.

I prepared during the last months: I had a twelve years old TV-set and even if it was possible to connect a digital terrestrial decoder I reckoned it wasn’t worth the expense due to the TV-set age. The fact that it was a 21″ TV-set so widescreen pictures would make it more or less equivalent to a 19″ one certainly influenced my decision.

During the year I kept an eye on the special offers proposed by the various resellers, including the Internet shops, ending with buying an LCD model with no frills but with Full HD channels support to have a TV-set suitable for my needs for the next years.

Last weeks were a bit chaotic because new digital channels appeared while some disappeared including a few of the ones just appeared, others changed their frequencies so to find them again I should have done a new frequencies scan or a manual store knowing their technical data. I didn’t want to spend some time every day tinkering with the channels so I decided to wait and do the job all at once.

When the switch off day arrived I just had to do a new channels scan with automatic store to reorder them. During the morning though I noticed that in some moments the signal for some channels was intermittent.

I did the same operation for my mother TV-set. She had to buy a new one at the beginning of this year because her old one broke down after more than twenty years of honorable service. In her case there were some problems because some channels weren’t recognized during the frequencies scan but I redid it after a couple of hours in case there were still some broadcasting issues and everything was OK.

During the morning I went to do the same operation for an uncle of mine, an 88 years young man who had to buy a new TV-set because he had an old one without a SCART socket so he couldn’t connect a digital terrestrial decoder.

My uncle lives on the other side of our hometown and during the frequencies scan his TV-set didn’t recognize some national channels. His zone is served by a repeater different from the one that serves the zone I live in so I thought they were still working on it and I adviced him to make a new scan later or during the week end, when my cousin would have more time to help him.

On Facebook I discovered that around my hometown other people had the same problem as my uncle so I thought that there were still problems in switching the broadcasting to digital terrestrial.

On a local newspaper I read that many people went shopping for a digital decoder or a new TV-set at the last minute. I wonder how much they paid and what’s the quality of the device they bought in a hurry. On another newspaper I read about people paying something like 50 Euros to have the channels memorized, an operation that’s supposed to be well explained in every TV-set or decoder manual and can be launched in a few seconds.

During the afternoon I couldn’t see some national channels from my home and on Saturday morning they were still missing. I tried a new channels scan and I noticed that about 200 digital channels were found while the morning earlier about 170 were found. On the other hand the missing national channels weren’t even scanned anymore.

During Saturday morning I discovered that at my uncle’s home the channels he was missing had been recognized and stored during a new scan done by my cousin and later on my mother’s TV-set they were back too, even if a bit disturbed.

Evidently the switch off wasn’t painless and it’s going to take a little while for the situation to stabilize. During the next days I’ll try new channels scans to check the evolution of the situation: for the people who got ready in time it wasn’t such a big deal and the appearance of many new channel in my opinion compensates for the little problems.

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