FCC-mandated Change Could Disrupt Local TV Service for Thousands of Hoteliers

  • LodgeNet Interactive Corporation
  • 11.14.08
LodgeNet Interactive Corporation announced a roadmap to prepare its U.S. hotel customers for the upcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-mandated transition from analog to digital signal transmission.

The digital transition which has a February 17, 2009 deadline, will affect all hotel properties with analog televisions receiving local stations via an off-air antenna.

"The FCC mandate to move local broadcast channels to a digital signal has significant implications for our hotel customers - specifically, the chance that their over-the-air free-to-guest channels could go dark if steps are not taken ahead of the final transition date," said Scott E. Young, president of hospitality and chief marketing officer for LodgeNet. "Our digital transition roadmap is part of the proactive initiative we have undertaken to help our hotel customers understand this issue, and to ensure that they maintain a superior guest experience during and after the February 17 transition."

Emphasizing the importance of planning and communication, Young explained that LodgeNet has been in contact with over 1,600 properties and will perform site surveys at these locations to assess the specific technical needs at each hotel. Once the impact to the hotel is determined (for example, scheduled channel and tower changes for UHF and VHF broadcasts), LodgeNet will propose a customized solution for that property. In addition, LodgeNet will help hotels retain their local network programming after February 17 by offering the delivery of local stations via DIRECTV, as well as local HD (high definition) stations via off-air antenna.

As a part of this program, LodgeNet is conducting an extensive communication campaign to reach hotel properties, corporate offices and ownership/management groups and ensure that all stakeholders understand the issues and to educate them about the complexities of this transition. For example, as Young explained, even properties already installed with digital televisions and signals may be impacted. "As part of this transition, many of the digital channels that are transmitted off-air today will move to a different channel/frequency," he said. "This may require an antenna relocation, or even antenna replacement if the channel changes from VHF to UHF, or from UHF to VHF."

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