TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: What Happened To Channel 1

Re: What Happened To Channel 1

Garrett Wollman (
Wed, 23 Mar 2005 23:00:55 UTC

In article <>, Brad Houser
<> wrote:

> The channel is the range of frequencies allocated to that broadcast
> station. NTSC (analog TV) and ATSC (digital TV) still use the same
> channels. Most of the new DTV channels are UHF, and the broadcasters
> are allowed to continue to use the older analog channels (the best
> ones being VHF) during the transition. Once the FCC tells them to shut
> off the analog broadcasts, the original channels will be put up for
> auction.

Not entirely correct ...

1) Digital television has "virtual channels". Stations which have an
existing brand identity based on their analog channel in most cases
have chosen to PSIP with that channel rather than their new digital
channel (even when the analog channel is going away permanently).

2) Stations have the opportunity to choose which of their two channels
they will use for their "permanent" DTV operation. The cost
advantages to being in VHF-high are so significant that almost every
station which has had the opportunity so far to make that choice has
chosen the VHF channel. Most stations on VHF-low have chosen to leave
the band (particularly if the channel in question is the very
undesirable channel 6). Stations with analog channels 52 and higher
do not get a choice, unless their DTV channel is also above 51, in
which case they get their pick of technically feasible channels after
the stations that had a choice have chosen.

3) It's not clear to me whether the FCC will seriously auction
channels below 52 for new services, or simply open them up to the
usual competitive process for new TV applications, or do both and have
TV and other services competing in the same auction.


Garrett A. Wollman    | As the Constitution endures, persons in every | generation can invoke its principles in their own
Opinions not those    | search for greater freedom.
of MIT or CSAIL.      | - A. Kennedy, Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. ___ (2003)

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