WNIT, a PBS station in South Bend, is asking the FCC permission to broadcast only in digital after the station’s broken-down analog transmitter sputtered out for good on Wednesday.
The transmitter broke down last month, when one of two tubes which fed the station’s audio and video feeds stopped working. The feed was rerouted to the station’s other tube, which forced the station to operate at reduced power. When that tube broke down, the station’s analog signal was forced to go off the air (WNIT’s digital signal, which is carried by cable and satellite providers, wasn’t affected.)
With the digital switchover taking place on February 17 of next year, WNIT felt fixing the analog transmitter (which would be obsolete by then) wouldn’t make sense. Viewers without cable can still get the station’s signal by buying a digital converter box, which is sold in most electronic stores. Government coupons can help cut the price down to next-to-nothing for consumers in most cases.