NBC’s agreement with WHDH-TV (Channel 7) as its local Boston affiliate terminates at the end of 2016.  NBC will be starting a new station, NBC Boston (WBTS), which will serve the Greater Boston area and Northeastern Massachusetts.  WHDH will continue as an independent station.

 

  1. What does this transition mean for consumers?

As a result of this transition, many consumers will see a change in their channel lineup and will need to locate the new NBC Boston station in order to find NBC-related programming including: local news, NBC Nightly News, the TODAY show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Sunday Night Football.

  1. When will the channel realignment take place?

On January 1, 2017; however, the new NBC Boston has launched the “Countdown NBC Boston” channel with news and entertainment programming and to allow viewers with a digital convertor box (antenna system) the opportunity to rescan their TVs or set-top boxes to add the new NBC Boston to their channel lineup prior to the change taking effect.

  1. Where can cable subscribers find the new channel?

This will vary for each cable provider, and may require consumers to re-scan their set-top box.  Consumers should receive advance notice from their cable provider (most likely in the form of a bill message) noting the new channel number at least 30 days prior to the change taking effect, unless the provider is actively negotiating to carry the new channel. 

Please see the new channel listings, as of December 29th, below:

Cable Providers:     

Comcast: 810 or 710 (HD), 10 (SD)
Verizon: 516 (HD), 16 (SD) [On or after January 6, 2017, NBC Boston (WBTS) will move from channels 516 HD/16 SD to channels 510 HD/10 SD]
Braintree Electric (BELD): 510 (HD), 10 (SD)
Norwood Light: 613 (HD), 13 (SD), starting 1/1/17
RCN: 10 (SD), 603 (HD), starting 1/1/17
Charter: 787 (HD), 10 or 17 (SD), starting 1/1/17
Shrewsbury Community Cablevision: 310 (HD), 10 (SD), starting 1/1/17
Time Warner Cable: 1204 (HD), 23 (SD), starting 1/1/17

*HD = High Definition, SD = Standard Definition

Satellite Providers:  

DirecTV: 10
Dish Network: 10

  1. Will non-cable subscribers be able to receive the new NBC Boston?

NBC Boston will be using three channels to deliver its signal across the region. Over-the-air consumers will want to tune to all three channels to determine which offers the best reception:

Greater Boston area: Channels 8.1 and 60.5
Northeastern Massachusetts: Channel 60.2

Again, in order to receive the new NBC Boston, consumers will likely need to rescan their TVs connected to a digital convertor box/antenna. 

  1. If I am not a cable subscriber, and cannot receive the new NBC Boston, can I file a complaint with the DTC’s Consumer Division? 

While the DTC is concerned about the possible loss of signal for this station to households that do not subscribe to a cable or satellite video service, neither the Commonwealth nor the DTC have authority over this transition.  This authority rests largely with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”).  The DTC will log any concerns directly related to this transition, but does not have the authority to take any action against the broadcast station owner. 

Consumers unable to access the NBC signal after January 1, 2017, can log a complaint directly with the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or through the FCC’s online portal: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us

  1. Can Comcast/NBC be contacted about this transition?

Comcast/NBC has made certain information available through a dedicated website, http://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/NBC-Boston-Frequently-Asked-Questions-400000031.html, and through a third-party Contact Center: 1-855-NBC-BOSTON (1-855-622-2678).