DISH Weighs in on Wilmington Test

The Federal Communications Commission made it official Thursday, saying Wilmington, N.C., will be the first market to test the transition to digital TV in advance of the nationwide DTV switch set for Feb. 17, 2009.

Commercial broadcasters serving the Wilmington market have voluntarily agreed to turn off their analog signals at noon on Sept. 8, 2008, to allow regulators and industry leaders to gauge how the transition would work among consumers.

When that news surfaced, DISH Network put out a statement that praised the move, saying it "supports advance testing to identify any operational issues and raise consumer awareness of the transition."

The company said its DTVPal, an NTIA-approved converter box, would be available in the Wilmington area well in advance of the Sept. 8 switch. DISH Network also said it will coordinate with local broadcasters to ensure a smooth transition for its satellite TV customers receiving locals in the market.

Subscribers will not need any additional equipment to receive local news, sports and entertainment given that DISH serves the market with local TV service.