Multichannel: The Evolution of ARCS
The State of Alaska is in the process of converting all of the ARCS
stations to digital. As of November, 2016, more than 50 ARCS sites have been converted. This is an
exciting and historic advancement in rural Alaskan television service. With digital will come improved video and
audio quality, plus additional public service channels such as PBS, 360 North and
To view the new digital ARCS you will need a digital
TV, or a digital “converter box” attached to your analog TV. Some people purchased converter boxes in 2009
when the nation’s large stations went digital.
If you are in need of a converter box they are readily available, usually from $30 to $45, at electronics stores such as Best Buy or Radio Shack, large stores such as Fred Meyer, Target, or WalMart, and online from sites such as Ebay, Amazon, Google and others.
The ARCS transmitter in your community will be
converted using the “flash cut” method.
This will allow the new electronics to replace the old stuff, but
continue to use the existing tower and transmit antennas. As a result, the analog system in your community
will be shut down at the same time the digital system is turned on. After that moment viewers in your community
will only be able to use digital TV receivers to view ARCS.
There are many different kinds of digital TV sets and
converters. Most use a similar function
for tuning into local channels. Once you
have attached an antenna to your set or box, use the search or find
function. This process may take a few
minutes as it looks at all the possible frequencies to find the one carrying
ARCS in your town. Once it completes its
search you will see the ARCS channel as well as the additional sub channels.
Occasionally DTV receivers “forget” their local channel lineups and the search
function must be repeated. Your
experiences may vary depending upon which make/model of receiver or tuner you
If you run into problems, ARCS Technical Support will
try to help you with ARCS reception. We
have a toll-free troubleshooting line, 888-840-0013. You can call this number to set up an
appointment with a technician to help set up your digital receiver. When you call, be sure to give us a call back
number, and remember to tell us the make and model of your TV or box so we can
research how it works before calling you back.
You can also contact us by using the form below. Please include information about your ARCS service, such as community, channel, and what type of receiver you are using, and provide some contact information for you so we can get in touch.