Not Getting ARCS TV? Signal Probably Switched To Digital.

by Anna Rose MacArthur on March 30, 2016

Photo by Ryan Merritt courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo by Ryan Merritt courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Public television signals across rural Alaska are switching from analog to digital. You’ll know when your signal has changed when you turn your TV to the Alaska public television station ARCS, or Alaska Rural Communications System, and you see what looks like snow.

“It will be as though the channel is off the air,” said Steve Hamlin, Technical Manager for Alaska Public Broadcasting.

That fuzzy image means the transmitter beaming your TV signal has transitioned from analog to digital, and to continue watching public television, your TV needs to do the same.

There are two ways to do that Hamlin says. You can get a converter box for your analog TV.

“And those range from $30 to $50, and you can get them at most electronic stores or department stores,” Hamlin said.

Or you can get a TV that plays both analog and digital.

“Which is any TV that’s been purchased new in the last five or so years has got both analog and digital receivers inside it,” Hamlin said. “If they have one of those, they just need to tell the TV to find the new digital channel.”

The digital signal should offer a higher quality picture and audio, Hamlin says, and instead of receiving one public television channel, viewers will receive four—ARCS, PBS, 360 North, and the University of Alaska channel.

Hamlin says the change is happening in anticipation of the FCC, or Federal Communications Commission, mandating an all-digital system. The FCC,which regulates public broadcasting, had set a deadline for the conversion last year but postponed the change to an undetermined date.

For technical assistance on navigating this change, call the ARCS troubleshooting line at 888-840-0013 or visit

Yukon Kuskokwim communities that have switched to digital:

Aniak, Chevak, Holy Cross, Kwigillingok, Kalskag, Holy Cross, and Mountain Village.

Yukon-Kuskokwim villages expecting a digital conversation:

Crooked Creek
Goodnews Bay
Hooper Bay
Lime Village
Nelson Lagoon
Pilot Statio
Pitka’s Point
Red Devil
Russian Mission
Scammon Bay
Toksook Bay

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