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Under Digital TV Scheme, Central Columbus Loses PBS

I’m one of those people who don’t subscribe to cable television. I can’t afford it lately, and even if I could afford the expense I wouldn’t take it on. I’m impatient at cable television when I’ve encountered it: there’s so much noise, and so little content of interest, to me at least. To compensate for low volumes of information, for-profit documentary channels stretch their delivery beyond my capacity for patience.

I have enjoyed PBS, though. My kids get a cackle from Word Girl, NOVA programs can be really informative, Frontline gets me upset and more than occasionally delivers new reporting, and my daughter picks up phonics from Between the Lions. Or picked up, rather. Past tense. As of today, there’s no analog signal for PBS TV in my home. And no matter how I fiddle with the positioning of my antenna, there’s no digital signal for PBS either.

I live right smack dab in the inner city of Columbus, Ohio, the 15th most populous city in the nation (right below San Francisco), so this is not a problem of rural living. It’s not that I’ve hooked up my digital converter equipment incorrectly; I get clear digital reception of NBC (boring), CBS (boringer) and FOX (ack). When I tried to get digital PBS reception last year and failed, visitors reassured me that when the analog signal was cut, digital broadcasting power would be boosted. No dice. What’s happened is the disappearance of good PBS television from central Columbus. This “improvement” isn’t an improvement at all from where I’m planted; a public good is gone. What makes this an advance? My government tells me:

An important benefit of the switch to all-digital broadcasting is that it will free up parts of the valuable broadcast spectrum… some of the spectrum will be auctioned to companies that will be able to provide consumers with more advanced wireless services (such as wireless broadband).

Now I get it. It’s an “improvement” for the telecoms. Forward!

16 comments to Under Digital TV Scheme, Central Columbus Loses PBS

  • qs

    Yes it seems like a sham to me, but we’ll see how it goes.

    What you have to do? There is still some sort of anolog signal over that gets converted with the digital box?

    • Jim

      Well, no. It’s a digital broadcast signal, and the weakness of the digital signal is that its bits are either successfully communicated or not. In my case, not. I could get the old PBS analog channel acceptably because even if the reception wasn’t perfect, it was good enough to get the picture with a bit of snow.

  • qs

    I loved the sci-fi channel on cabal since they got that Battlestar Galatica show on it, but that show ended. Not sure what I need cable for now…maybe history channel and sports. Not much else I think.

  • rachel Diez

    Here, from the Bronx (NY), I would like to report identical situation as Jim in Ohio: There’s no digital signal for PBS either. And PBS is the only channel I am interested in. I feel duped but have not lost all hope -as of yet.

  • Chris

    It’s PBS, welfare for millionaire broadcasters. The US taxpayer should not be funding PBS.

    Where I live, with the digital switchover my PBS station is now broadcasting 3 stations (a city smaller than Columbus), the main station and two dot stations under it.

    You know what? Now there 3 stations, begging for money in order to play old concerts of the grateful dead so the 60’s throwbacks can dust off their archaic chants and get wasted yet again.

    Since when is a PBS station MTV Lite for the geriatric wing of the local VA?

  • Jacob

    Same problem in Kansas City… We no longer get PBS which is mainly what we watch. Cable TV is out of the question so I am not entirely sure I need a TV at all any more if I cant get PBS. Digital did add a few extra channels for me but they are absolutly worthless extra channels that I would put watching them up with about as much fun as being waterboarded. This is not helpful to the public. I did also find that when it stormed last night I have almost no TV. On anaolog when it gets bad I can still watch the snowy version to se if a tornado is coming for me. With digital I get blocks with no sound and spotty movement. This change is the biggest crock…

  • Jen

    I’m thinking about giving up on TV. Some days I get a channel and some days I don’t. Some days the images are clear and others little blocks fill the screen. I like the idea of being unplugged, but haven’t been able to do it. Digital TV is making it easier for me. I think I’ll keep my fancy TV for watching movies on, but I don’t want to have to struggle to watch TV. Digital TV Sucks. Not sure the frustration is worth it.

  • Kevin

    I moved to an apartment and left my TV behind with my wife and son. I left the DVR programmed to The Daily Show.

    I don’t have a TV now for 6 weeks. When I go see my son we watch bleeping Jon Stwart…

    not much else left to watch…

  • najee

    Same here down in colorado springs colorado pbs is shot.. Its like they fell off of the face of the earth along with all our favorite shows… now I don’t watch tv period… its a shame and a waste of a converter box

    • Jim

      My converter box is also in some corner, unused, and my TV is off. Even though my home is in the same exact spot from which I got analog PBS reception, if I want to get PBS now I need to purchase it through a cable company. “Progress…” for the cable company.

  • ken wade

    I am in downtown Manhattan and have always enjoyed a crystal clear signal from Channel 13 (PBS), as I am in direct line from the Empire State Blding’s broadcast signal. Now that I have installed the box I get only NBC, CBS, ABC, fox, and a few other commercial stations I do not wish to watch, but a ‘No signal’ from all PBS stations. WNET, WNJ etc…the spanish speaking stations all come in like amazing…do I simply need a new indoor antenna? Why some and not other stations?

  • Bliss Doubt

    I just want to add my two cents to the rest. I live in an inner city apartment in San Antonio TX. I bought a new TV and an expensive antenna in anticipation of the switch to digital only. I continued receiving PBS, a little snowy, until they stopped analog broadcasting. Now I get no PBS at all, so the only value of my TV is as a DVD screener.

  • Harold Hilliard

    Greensboro, North Carolina

    Looks like PBS is a thing of the past, What a shame we cant watch it anymore here.

  • duped

    Again big money from telecommunication companies bought our congressmen and gave us the shaft running their lies on their lies to force all of us into cable,direct,satalite etc. The only good outcome would be if broadband wireless allowed us to bypass these companies with real competitively priced delivery of the signals to our pc’s. Oh wait, who owns the they own broadband too!

  • John

    Try this : Dust off your old VCR and set its program channel to 03. Then run your antenna into the input of the analog to digital converter, the output of the converter to the input of your VCR, and the output of the VCR to the antenna connection of your TV.
    I’ve found that the VCR’s reception is better than the TV for most of the weaker local channels. I receive all three WOSU PBC stations fairly well.
    I also use an AMPLIFIED antenna. You can buy them at any electronics store.
    Hope tis helps.

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