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High definition TV comes to Fairbanks

Submitted by Ann Dowdy
Phone: 907-474-1890

06/07/04

KUAC TV 9 Alaska One is pleased to announce the official sign-on of KUAC-DT effective June 1, 2004. KUAC-DT is the over-the-air Digital Public Television Service located on Channel 24.

Initially, KUAC-DT will be broadcasting both the PBS-HD Channel in High Definition as well as a standard definition version of the current Alaska One programming. KUAC-DT is currently only available in Fairbanks. The project was funded in part by a grant from the US Department of Commerce and a capital grant from the State of Alaska.

"We're pleased to be able to offer this new service to the interior of Alaska" said Greg Petrowich, General Manager and CEO of KUAC. "This marks yet another first for KUAC and the University of Alaska--signing on the state's first digital public television service."

Viewers with a high definition set with a digital tuner will be able to watch KUAC-DT on Channel 24. Those with a digital tuner and a regular set can watch the signal in standard definition. Digital television is the new standard for television, transmitting a television signal using digital code similar to computers. DTV technology not only improves the quality of television's picture and sound, but also makes possible the over-the-air delivery of several simultaneous services to viewers. New services available include high definition television, multicasting, data transmission and CD-quality surround sound.

High Definition Television refers to the resolution quality of the picture being broadcast. This is determined by the number of picture elements (pixels) across the screen and the number of rows down the screen. HDTV can have up to six times as many pixels as the resolution of a regular television picture. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had originally set 2006 as the year when broadcasters will end analog broadcasts. While this timeline seems uncertain today, at some point consumers will either have to own a digital television or a digital converter box for their analog sets, or receive the digital broadcast through other means, such as cable or satellite.

In February, KUAC was awarded an equipment grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the amount of $703,000 which will eventually fund digital translators and digital television distribution equipment to aid in the conversion to digital broadcasting.

Serving Interior Alaska, KUAC 89.9 FM/Alaska One TV 9 KUAC-DT 24, is a multiple-media organization with a mission to provide quality noncommercial programming and services that enlighten, inspire, educate and entertain. KUAC is licensed by the FCC to the University of Alaska.

Contact: Ann Dowdy at (907) 474-1890 or fnajd@uaf.edu.