The DTV Transition at Idaho Public Television

DTV logo
Idaho Public Television is very excited about the transition to digital television. DTV broadcasting allows us to bring you more outstanding programming, as well as offer better sound and picture quality, on four distinct channels, including one devoted to HD (high-definition) programming.

DTV In-Home Installation Assistance has a list of businesses that have contracts to help Boise area citizens with in-home installation at no charge. Please be aware, this is ONLY for those people that get their TV over the air, not those that use a pay service like cable or satellite. The customer is also responsible for obtaining the equipment to install.

One of the listed companies will do installs state-wide and have locations throughout the state.

You can view the list of businesses at, by putting in your zip code.

DTV Answers logo

DTV is finally here. Still have a question about digital television and how it will affect you? Watch one or more of the four DTV Answers shows below.

Join host Joan Cartan-Hansen, IdahoPTV General Manager Peter Morrill, and members of our technical staff as they do demonstrations, explain concepts, and answer calls and emails from viewers about TVs, converter boxes, antennas, and other details of the DTV transition.

View the DTV Answers show from June 12, 2009.

More DTV-related video video

The DTV Transition

What is the digital transition?
After June 12, 2009, all TV station transmitters must cease analog service and broadcast exclusively in a digital format, also known as DTV. Note: The current federal mandate does not include translators and low power television transmitters; they are permitted to continue analog service.

What is analog television?
Analog television service is the traditional method of transmitting television signals. It has been the standard broadcast technology since the beginning of television.

Why is this transition happening?
Congress mandated the conversion to DTV for two important reasons. First, analog is not as efficient as digital television; it uses up more valuable spectrum than digital does. The explosion of wireless devices — particularly cellphones and computers — and new uses, from public safety communications to commercial applications, has created stiff competition for scarce spectrum. Moving television broadcasting to digital will free up spectrum for new devices and uses.

Second, Congress realized that the competition amongst wireless devices made the freed-up spectrum extremely valuable. So it required the FCC to auction it off, with proceeds going to the U.S. Treasury to reduce the federal budget deficit or to fund other priorities.

So what's in it for me?
DTV provides higher quality picture and sound and more programming options through multiple broadcast streams. With the right equipment, DTV really can look and sound better than analog television. And high definition television (HDTV) looks even more spectacular.

"Multiple broadcast streams" — what does that mean?
Basically, under one channel number, you get up to five different streams of programming. The tables below show what Idaho Public Television currently makes available around the state. Note: the channel numbers refer to signals from our over-the-air transmitters; they may differ for cable, satellite, or rural translator services.

DTV Channels

Idaho 4-1 12-1 26-1 10-1 13-1
Plus 4-2 12-2 26-2 10-2 13-2
Learn/Create 4-3 12-3 26-3 10-3 13-3
World 4-4 12-4 26-4 10-4 13-4
Kids     Cable-only

View the IdahoPTV digital schedule

Will I be able to continue to use my current television?

Yes, if you . . .

No, if you . . .

Again, this federal mandate does not apply to viewers who receive an over-the-air signal from rural translators or low power television transmitters.

For more information on ensuring you have the equipment needed for the digital transition, please visit the following sites:

How can I get a low cost converter box?
You can consult the Converter Box Retailers page at for help with equipment choices. To help consumers defray the cost of this new equipment, the federal government has created a coupon program that will significantly reduce the cost of a set-top box. The coupons will be redeemable at select retailers.

TV Converter Box Coupon ProgramTo learn more about the coupon program, including how and when to request your coupons, coupon value, and redemption instructions, please visit Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program. You can also download the brochure and/or fact sheet from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration:

   * Brochure (.pdf, 244 KB)
   * Fact Sheet

Consumers may also call a toll-free number, 1-888-388-2009 (1-888-DTV-2009), or visit the Coupon Program Update website for updates in English or Spanish.

What if I do nothing?
If you:

your television will not work after June 12, 2009.

What if I get my TV from a rural translator?
Currently, the federal mandate does not include rural translators or low power television transmitters, though operators of these systems may voluntarily switch to digital if they so choose.

Idaho Public Television operates 40 translators and relays across Idaho, and we plan to continue offering analog service from most of them. At the same time, we are closely monitoring what other translator districts and commercial TV stations with translators are doing. Where market and technical conditions warrant, Idaho Public Television will convert translators from analog to digital service. Below is a list of IdahoPTV translators and relays currently broadcasting a digital signal.

Digital Translators

Service Area Site Name Guide Channel RF Channel Source
Cambridge Cambridge 4 11 KAID
Cascade Cascade 4 9 KAID
Council Council 4 5 KAID
Crouch Crouch 4 41 KAID
Garden Valley Grimes Pass 4 51 KAID
Hagerman Hagerman 13 47 KIPT
McCall Brundage 4 5 KAID
McCall No Business Peak 4 41 KAID
Burley Beacon Hill 10 14 KISU
Challis Grouse Peak 10 12 KISU
Driggs Targhee 10 13 KISU
Georgetown Georgetown 10 15 KISU
Lava Hot Springs Lava Hot Springs 10 14 KISU
Malad City Malad 10 35 KISU
Malta Albion Ridge 10 23 KISU
Montpelier Montpelier 10 23 KISU
Preston Preston 10 27 KISU
Rexburg Menan Buttes 10 43 KISU
Rockland Rockland 10 19 KISU
Salmon Salmon Baldy 10 49 KISU
Soda Springs Soda Point 10 51 KISU
Swan Valley Swan Valley 10 13 KISU
Bonner's Ferry Black Mountain 26 23 KCDT
Grangeville Cottonwood Butte 12 46 KUID
Juliaetta Juliaetta 12 43 KUID
Kellogg Wardner Peak 12 49 KUID
Lewiston Lewiston 12 51 KUID
Coolin Priest Lake 26 42 KCDT
Sandpoint Sandpoint Baldy 26 16 KCDT
St. Maries St. Joe Baldy 12 23 KUID
Holbrook Holbrook 10 45 KISU

DTV vs. HDTV: what's the difference?
DTV (digital TV) and HDTV (high definition TV) are both digital technologies, but HDTV has some important advantages:

Because DTV and HDTV are both digital formats, you can view an HD program on a standard digital TV. However, you won't get the benefit of the higher resolution or the complete wide screen effect. In other words, because of equipment limitations, an HD program on a standard digital television set won't look much different from what's called a "standard definition" (standard def) version of the program. To really see what HDTV is all about, you'll need to view an HD program on a special HD television set or an HD display attached to a digital tuner box.

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