More than 28,000 consumers called a federal help line Tuesday, after hundreds of television stations dropped their analog signals.
Even though the national deadline for television stations to switch from analog to digital broadcasting has been pushed back to June, 421 stations made the transition Tuesday, the date of the original deadline. The changeover prompted 28,315 people to call the Federal Communications Commission's DTV transition help line.
The number of calls Tuesday was 37 percent higher than on Monday, when 20,673 people called for help. However, most of the 421 stations that transitioned to digital broadcasting Tuesday did not do so until midnight, so the calls did not represent the full impact of the switchover. From midnight through 11 a.m. Wednesday, the FCC received 6,750 calls for help.
Between the 421 stations that made the switch Tuesday and the approximately 220 stations that transitioned earlier, about one-third of the country's television stations have now dropped their analog signals.
The FCC said the help line has been running smoothly, with calls being answered almost immediately. Most calls, the agency said, were from people who were unaware they needed to run the "scan" function on their digital televisions or converter boxes to search for changed channels.
Meanwhile, the European Union on Monday released a statement saying "Europe is leading the world in switching from analogue to digital television."
Five EU states have transitioned to digital signals (Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden and the Netherlands), and the entire EU is aiming to complete the transition by 2012.