(Aspen, CO) An all-out community education effort about Pitkin County’s free digital TV service gets underway in mid-June. Pitkin County finished converting its free, over-the-air television service to digital this spring. With a simple antenna, many residents within “line-of-sight” of one of six translator towers, can receive ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS and local channels GrassRoots and CGTV (Pitkin County, City of Aspen, Town of Snowmass Village government programming), for free. Public education about free TV will include information on local radio, in newspapers and on the internet about TV coverage areas, equipment needed to tune in, a survey of TV and FM users and a free TV giveaway.
“We’re giving away a flat screen, digital television in a drawing as an incentive for everyone to take our TV and FM use survey later on this summer,” Bingham said. “Keep your eyes and ears open in June for more information about the survey and your chance to win a free TV.”
The digital conversion began last December. The new, digital signals are a noticeable upgrade from the old analog signals the county translators were sending. Residents receiving the new signal have been pleasantly surprised with the higher quality, according to county officials.
“The reason this is so exciting for Pitkin County is that now residents in the far reaches of the county can better stay in touch with what their local governments are doing,” said Community Relations Director, Pat Bingham. “Take the Sutey Ranch issue, for example. Instead of driving all the way to Aspen to sit in on a meeting about the land swap proposal, residents taking advantage of Pitkin County’s free TV service can watch from the comfort of their homes,” Bingham said.
“The County Translator System has served remote and rural residents beyond the reach of cable TV for years,” said Pitkin County TV and FM Manager, Dan Chicoine. “It can also benefit residents, within translator line-of-sight, who want basic television and the local public access and government channels but don’t want the expense of satellite and cable systems. The bottom line is, our translator system customers will be getting a much better, clearer digital signal,” Chicoine said.
To take advantage of Pitkin County’s free TV system, residents will need a digital-ready television or a converter box and/or antenna if they wish to continue using an older television. Ace Hardware in Aspen and Carbondale has the necessary equipment in stock. Customers can spend as little as $12 for an antenna in some cases to pick up the county’s signal.
Complete details of the conversion process, what residents can expect, and how they can prepare and equip for digital TV service are available on the county’s website: Free TV. Residents are encouraged to call 920-5395 if they need help determining whether or not their homes can pick up the free TV signal.