UPDATE 7/22/2013 – Analog stations along the border are now off the air, apparently permanently after elections.
UPDATE 5/13/2013- Analog stations along the border are back on the air today after electoral candidates complained about lack of exposure ahead of July 7 elections.
Eight Tijuana TV stations went dark May 28, 2013 as the first broadcast market in Mexico to go all-digital, delayed a month from the previous target date of April 16. Those stations included:
- XHTJB channel 3, affiliated with Once TV, public/educational
- XETV channel 6, Televisa O&O, affiliated with Canal 5
- XEWT channel 12, Televisa O&O, affiliated with multiple networks
- XHTIT channel 21, TV Azteca O&O, affiliated with Azteca 7
- XHJK channel 27, TV Azteca O&O, affiliated with Azteca 13
- XHAS channel 33, Entravision operated, affiliated with Telemundo
- XHBJ channel 45, Cadena owned and Televisa operated, affiliated with Galavision
- XHUAA channel 57, Televisa O&O, affiliated with Canal de Estrellas
Notably, XETV had just celebrated 60 years of broadcasting, having signed on with English language broadcasting in 1953 and continuing to do so until last year, when it switched to Televisa’s Spanish-language broadcasts of Canal Cinco. XETV-DT was the first digital TV station to broadcast in Mexico in 2000, and likely the inspiration for having Tijuana selected as the first market to shutdown its analog TV.
Mexico’s EFE indicates that over 192,000 free digital TV converters were passed out to Tijuana area residents as part of the transition. Unconfirmed statistics have 48% of Tijuana residents receiving their TV via free over-the-air broadcasts.
Interestingly, Entravision-operated XHDTV on Cerro Bola near Tecate remains on the air on channel 49. The next shutdown date, November 26, 2013 is supposed to include Mexicali, but it is not known whether XHDTV will shutdown at that time.
What is not yet known is how the empty channels will affect FCC-mandated repacking of TV channels along the border. There’s likely to be a scramble on both sides of the border to occupy the empty lower UHF channels.