The FCC will test how well the analog shutoff is going to do by enticing stations in Wilmington, N.C. to shut off their analog transmitters early and go all-digital in September.
As some of you know already (or don't know), the government will shut off analog television on February 17, 2009, and all television broadcasting is going to digital. To continue watching, you must have a TV with a digital tuner, or a converter box to receive digital signals (digital cable and satellite viewers won't be affected.)
Wilmington is the 136th largest television market in the U.S., and is home to five over-the-air stations: NBC affiliate WECT-TV, ABC affiliate WWAY-TV, CBS affiliate WILM-LP, Fox affiliate WSFX-TV, and PBS affiliate WUNJ-TV, which is part of the University of North Carolina's statewide network (WUNJ has declined to take part in the test.)
Meanwhile, Dish Network is offering Wilmington residents digital-to-analog converter boxes for $39.99. The boxes should arrive in time for the switchover on September 8.
Updated 4:55 p.m. on 2008-05-09 - added CBS affiliate and link to Dish Network story