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Let's Get Digital: Wilmington N.C. Switches Off Analog TV

In preparation for what will be a national switch to solely digital broadcasting, Wilmington, North Carolina’s four commercial network affiliates stopped broadcasting an analog television signal at midday today, the Associated Press reported. However, for the residents of Wilmington it seems such a switch couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

Weekend weather reports for North Carolina predicted heavy storms and a hurricane. While preparations for the digital switch have been going on for months, many people are no doubt unprepared and have no alternative to analogue TV in place.

While normally, this may not present a huge issue, the fact that many people will be relying on the networks for weather reports and updates on the forecasted storms and hurricane could mean people will be left out of the loop.

A similar guinea pig test was done on a small town in England this time last year and worryingly, surveys showed that with just 100 days to go until the switch 6,000 out of an estimated 25,000 households had yet to switch their television for digital friendly equipment.

The digital switch for the rest of the U.S. is scheduled for completion by mid-February 2009.