The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has partnered with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to co-produce AntennaWeb.org, an online antenna mapping program designed to help users determine the proper outdoor antenna to use in order to receive free local broadcast channels.
The CEA-created and operated site has been in existence since 1999; however, the two organizations have now partnered and upgraded the site.
"The tool is particularly valuable to consumers as the U.S. approaches the Feb. 17, 2009, deadline for the transition from analog to digital television," the organizations said.
The site is an online interactive database where users can input their home addresses to determine what over-the-air broadcast signals are available and which outdoor antenna they should use. According to a joint statement, the program's database accounts for obstructions such as hills, trees and buildings between the transmitter and the receiving antenna that can interfere with a broadcast signal and affect picture quality.
"With the proper antenna, consumers can receive free, over-the-air digital broadcasts with higher picture and sound quality and access to multiple channels of free programming. Broadcast viewers can also access interactive video and data services that are not possible with traditional analog technology, including enhanced closed captioning," said NAB president and CEO David Rehr in a release announcing the partnership.
A CEA spokesperson told TWICE that the site is already one of the organization's most popular Web sites. As a result of the partnership, she said, the site had upgraded its infrastructure with the addition of a new server company to help it better accommodate the expected influx of visitors. She also said that it's possible that the site's interface may be upgraded to make it even more user friendly.
News of the partnership comes less than a week after market research firm Centris released a study showing what it called "serious gaps" in digital TV signal coverage across the country, which it said could interfere with the successful completion of next year's digital transition.
The study was hotly contested following its release. (See story on www.TWICE.com.)
According to a report by John Eggerton at TWICE's sister publication Broadcasting & Cable, the study inspired a line of questioning during a recent hearing in the House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee.