Wally Grotophorst in Hamilton, Va., got a "digital" antenna for his digital TV last year. But on Friday, he lost the Washington-based ABC and CBS stations, channels 7 and 9, which he could pick up digitally before the transition.
That's because those stations, like dozens of others, switched their digital signals from the UHF frequency band to the VHF band as they cut their analog signals Friday. But Grotophorst's antenna, like many others branded as "digital" and sold over the past few years, was designed only for UHF stations. Nearly all TV stations were using the UHF band for the digital broadcasts until Friday.
"This moving down to the VHF spectrum was news. The stations didn't advertise the fact," Grotophorst said.
He's now regretting that he recycled his old rooftop VHF antenna.
"The station did warn viewers about this change but not everyone got the word," said Bill Lord, vice president of news at ABC7. "The station has made the switch and there is no going back."
There are TV antennas that can receive both UHF and VHF bands. In the indoor version, these have long extendable poles — the "rabbit ears" — for VHF reception and a loop for UHF.