Unless you've shut down your TV for the past umpteen months, you've probably seen numerous ads/warnings about the upcoming - that would be Feb. 17, 2009 - swtich to digital television.
The pitches pretty much advise viewers if you've got "rabbit ears" (code for an ancient, analog TV) probably won't pass the digital test once the transition occurs.
So, to find out if you're equipped for DTV, KCRA 3 and KQCA MY58 TV are conducting Sacramento's first DTV tests so viewers can determine if their sets are tuned to receive digital signals. The tests wil occur on KCRA 3 during the 6:30 p.m. news tonight. Then, on Thursday, the test will take place on MY58 (Channel 4) at 8 a.m.
Just make sure all the TVs in your home are tuned to the stations either day to test the reception.
Here's how it will work: Viewers will get a warning from the stations' news teams that the analog signal will be turned off for 30 seconds. At that time, viewers will continue to see the newscast on sets that are adequately set up for the DTV transition.
In other words, those 30 seconds will either be no big deal or you'll see a giant graphic that informs your TV is not up to digital speed. Of course, if that happens, you'll get info on how to obtain more information and assistance.
According to Gene Robinson, creative services director for KCRA 3, other tests are on tap for Oct. 17, Dec. 17 and Jan. 17 - in case you miss the ones this week.
"Viewers who have recently purchased a new TV stand a good chance of having a TV that is capable of receiving digital broadcasts," Robinson says in a statement. "All television sets manufactured after March 1, 2007, are required to have digital tuners built in, but analog TVs are still on store shelves."
That's why the tests are important.
If your set doesn't pick up the signal, you'll need to purchase a converter box, which is available at most electronics retailers.
Make sure you do the test. Heaven forbid anyone miss whatever's on during the bleak days of February!