Hawaii Attempts DTV Switch: Rocky but Weird and Entertaining

Even though our Savior-Elect is pushing back the DTV transition, his beloved Hawaii took a test drive this Thursday. The odder-than-expected story includes mass confusion, Grey's Anatomy, and the rare Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel.

Hawaii took the DTV plunge this past Thursday at noon, broadcasting a message with a looped announcement and a help line the legions of confused islanders could call. As expected, pretty much nobody understands what's actually going on, and many have left off buying a converter box until they were forced to do so. Angry phone calls streamed in about missing primetime Thursday shows like Grey's Anatomy (ugh.) and CSI (double ugh.). But why did Hawaii choose to go digital a full month before the original proposed date?

Turns out the endangered Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel, a small nesting bird, was the deciding factor in the change. The analog transmission towers on the slopes of Maui's Haleakala volcano obstruct their nesting grounds, and tearing them down before the birds' mating season is an attempt to buck up the dwindling population.

The story seems like a Carl Hiaasen subplot and unfortunately I don't think we can promise such entertaining stories from the nationwide transition. But with any luck, it'll be a little bit smoother. [Yahoo!]