Techs make DTV house calls

By Aaron Gilchrist - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - As TV viewers across the country have problems receiving digital broadcast signals, the federal communications commission has thousands of contractors visiting people's homes trying to get them reconnected.

43 companies have been contracted to send technicians to provide DTV help. We followed a sub-contractor from TG Works here in Richmond on what's becoming an overwhelming task.

Robyn Webb from TG Works says business has been booming since the digital television switch last Friday and most of the customers have been folks like Ann Shannon. They love to watch television but hate to struggle with the technology.

"I had everything with instructions and I just couldn't get the channels scanned right," said Ann Shannon.

Webb says TG Works is the only company in the area that accepted the call to go and get viewers connected to digital TV. Ann has three sets in the house and Webb was able to get them all working but the government is paying for a very specific set of tasks to hook you up.

"We'll install the box and antenna, hook it up to a television and perform a scan. We'll find all the available channels in the area," said Webb.

That's what you can expect after you open the door but before you let a contractor in, make sure it's the person you expect. When you call the FCC call center, make sure they give you all the available information about who they're sending to your house and when that person arrives, don't be afraid to ask for identifying information.

In Webb's case, the company's name was emblazoned on a shirt. And when Ann's job was done, Webb even walked her through getting the new technology to work. If you plan to go it alone...

"Experiment with the positioning of your antenna. That's about the best you're gonna be able to do," Webb said.

And if you do call for help, expect to wait a while for a visit. Even as Webb worked on Ann's job more work was rolling in.

"I think I have 5 or 6 of them scheduled for tomorrow," said Webb.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.