Does the FCC require the stations to send out CORRECT clock time? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I've got both Zinwell Zats and DTVPals that have the timer-record feature.

My local CBS affiliate is sending out the wrong clock time. They're almost ten minutes slow, and it's been like this all day.

Naturally, their signal seems to override the time signals other stations send out, so even if I change channels, the correct time never appears, even if the newly tuned station might be sending it.

I've notified the station by way of their website, but WHY does stuff like this happen, and aren't they REQUIRED to do this correctly?
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 05:28 PM
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Now that is the broadcaster's responsibility
to provide accurate PSIP time code data.

And seeing as most equipment now
automaticly sets clocks themselves.

I have written the FCC HERE,
from the contact page HERE.

In the event they actually answer
(with even mildly usefull info)
I will post it to this thread then...


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post #3 of 19 Old 12-06-2009, 08:13 PM
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Well, it's one of two things; either it's an FCC requirement and they don't enforce it, or it's not a requirement. Which do you think it is?

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post #4 of 19 Old 12-06-2009, 08:26 PM
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I've been after WHAG, WWPB, and WJAL to fix their clocks, ever since I purchased my first CECB. I even called the FCC about it. Granted, WHAG & WJAL told me (quite awhile ago now) that they have equipment problems. I've never received a response from WWPB. My contact with the FCC didn't produce any results either. The person I talked to didn't even realize that the FCC requires "CORRECT" time transmission. What was even more troubling, was that they didn't think it was important enough to be worth their time or energy.

I was just looking at trying to contact the above stations again, when I saw this thread.

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post #5 of 19 Old 12-07-2009, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Well, it's one of two things; either it's an FCC requirement and they don't enforce it, or it's not a requirement. Which do you think it is?

The NTIA final rule specifies what's mandatory, optional, and not allowed on CECBs

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/frnotices/20...ual_090413.pdf

Perhaps an NTIA point of contact may be more responsive.

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post #6 of 19 Old 12-08-2009, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nony View Post

The NTIA final rule specifies what's mandatory, optional, and not allowed on CECBs

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/frnotices/20...ual_090413.pdf

Perhaps an NTIA point of contact may be more responsive.

nony

The NTIA Manual of Regulations and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management (Redbook) may be downloaded from this page:

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post #7 of 19 Old 12-09-2009, 12:21 AM
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And I thought the "Bills" sailing through
Congress UNREAD were obscenely obtuse !

PDF = 22.9 MB (24,023,178 bytes)
896-Pages + diagrams, Pictures, Charts, Etc.

Over 460 Instances of the word "Time"
in only the first half of the document.
(Got tired of counting...)

With phrases like these being popular
Maritime
Time of war
Space and time (LOL)
Coordination not required at this time

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post #8 of 19 Old 12-10-2009, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Well, it's one of two things; either it's an FCC requirement and they don't enforce it, or it's not a requirement. Which do you think it is?

11/13 Update: The FCC has incorporated the A/65C version of the spec into their rules but also mentions that licensees may consult A/69 - in their Third DTV Periodic Report and Order - http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_publi...C-07-228A1.pdf

Looks like its a requirement that the PSIP System Time Table has to be accurate to within a second per A/65C

Due to the visibility of the CECB program, one would think that a Federal Agency, presumably but not necessarily the FCC, could take an enforcement action for noncompliance by the broadcasters considering that the CECBs are designed to sync off of the STT transmission.

One can search the above docs for "system clock" to quickly pull out the references.

I would contact Stephen R. Martin - one of the FCC experts - who recently evaluated the compliance of CECBs with the spec, and get his perspective.

http://www.fcc.gov/oet/info/document...TestReport.pdf
The appendices in this report include additional clarifications on the CECB specs that were issued after the NTIA final rule.

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post #9 of 19 Old 12-10-2009, 11:40 PM
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Honestly,
I think that until broadcasters are fined
like when they miss station identification
at required intervals by the FCC.

They just won't give a damn...

It simply MUST cost them money,
or they won't respond the the need.

I mean really,
look what passes for good programming ???

Anyway, it has been seven days since I wrote them.
So I wrote again requesting a ruling on responsibility.

[Rant]

In this day and age of atomic time sources
available in multiple communication mediums.

It is just insulting to the intelligence
of these broadcast engineers to NOT
be on a syncronized time standard !!!

I mean, my friggin:
Car
Watch
Alarm Clock
sets by atomic time !

Not even the cable EPG is close !
Satellite companies are pure idiots !

But local broadcasters that can't even
start a show on time kill me...

And it destroys the trust of viewers.

You know that all the commercials
are scheduled by computer's now,
right?

That's how they inject local advertising.
(Can you say: "Weather Channel" ?)

Not done talking Mr Announcer?
to bad...

I can't count how many announcers
I've seen "cut off" mid sentence
by the "Commercial Servers" !!!

And I have seen an onslaught of
commercials cutting off commercials.

I knew it ws a cut throat business,
but wow.

It IS over 50% of EVERY hour !

They can do that,
but CAN'T keep time ?

Go figure...

[/Rant]

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post #10 of 19 Old 12-11-2009, 12:36 AM
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TY nony,
that is good cannon fodder.

What is being refered to is
THIS
from
HERE

Page 124 offers this humorous quote:

"In PSIP,
time of day is represented as the number of seconds
that have elapsed since the beginning of GPS time,
00:00:00 UTC 6 January 1980."

"GPS time is referenced to the Master Clock
at the US Naval Observatory
and steered to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
UTC is the time source we use to set our clocks."

"UTC is occasionally adjusted by one-second increments
to ensure that the difference between a uniform time scale
defined by atomic clocks does not differ from the
Earth's rotational time by more than 0.9 seconds."

"The timing of occurrence of these leap seconds
is determined by careful observations of the
Earth's rotation; each is announced months in advance."

"On the days it is scheduled to occur,
the leap second is inserted just following 12:59:59 p.m. UTC."

Yeah, right !

Dream on ...



OK, (To myself) deep breath...

I am in my 50's.
I have hated this topic
since I set my first VCR clock.

Yes, it WAS bigger than a breadbox...

Can you say video "reel-to-Reel"?

Let me ask all of you,
am I being to critical?

Really?

Is it to much to ask for conformity
by the very people that serve us
over 50% revenue programming per hour?

(Thats code for "Commercials"
in case you need clarification)

Add to that those that (HAVE to)
PAY outrageously ridiculous prices
to get it delivered on top of that.

To be able to set a recorder's timer
and have confidence of success ???

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but head over heel
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-11-2009, 08:31 AM
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Indeed! (all of it).

And besides the CECBs, how about all of the DTVs? (nony - sync off of STT TX).

I wonder if this sloppiness might explain why some boxes 'go off in the weeds*' out of the blue, requiring a reset?

[*RF guy phrase when RF stuff goes unstable ]

Cellphone infrasture could never work like this, requires extreme accuracy and correlation. Makes me wonder if they had made DTV mobile-capable.

Speaking of content, anyone notice how those Public Service Messages last about a second? (ex: Bush Sr. and Clinton and I only hear one word). Of course it could just be in my market but I doubt it. Somehow I suspect it's a requirement to show these and this is how the broadcasters cheat; I hope they're not getting funds for this nonsense, whether directly or indirectly (ex: FCC licensing rqt).

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post #12 of 19 Old 12-11-2009, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

Indeed! (all of it).

And besides the CECBs, how about all of the DTVs? (nony - sync off of STT TX).


Of course DTVs, and mostly everything else in the world needs accurate clock. But when your'e getting stonewalled by a bureaucrat who may not write with the sharpist pencil, logic doesn't always prevail.

Mr. Martin could provide his perspective and a strategy for getting the appropriate folks in his organization to perform - something that needs to be done by an outsider.

The back door approach is to play dumb- "gee my converter box is messing up the time and creating major headaches", see for yourself" -

A complaint of this nature would be high on the radar of FCC, NTIA, and the other stakeholders. So they would check it out. Of course they would shortly discover that the problem has nothing to do with the box, but now a whole bunch of non-technical management people will have to take ownership of the problem and may throw their weight around.

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post #13 of 19 Old 12-11-2009, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeThePeople View Post

TY gastrof,
that is good cannon fodder...


Huh?

I haven't posted since the opening of the thread.
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post #14 of 19 Old 12-11-2009, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof View Post

Huh?

I haven't posted since the opening of the thread.


Quote:
TY nony,
that is good cannon fodder.

What is being refered to is
THIS
from
HERE

Page 124 offers this humorous quote:
..................................................



I meant nony of course,
I was referring to that PDF that I
linked to in the very next sentence.

Followed by the site it came from
in later in the same sentence.

You must not have clicked those to catch on.

I sort threads oldest at bottom to newest at top.
I most likely hit the END button
when I meant to hit the PAGE DOWN
to get the poster's name for that sentence.

Sorry 'bout that...

I went back and edited it to be correct, TY.

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post #15 of 19 Old 12-12-2009, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeThePeople View Post

Quote:
TY nony,
that is good cannon fodder.


Page 124 offers this humorous quote:

..................................................
I didn't cite the redbook - nor would I subject the reader to unnecessary pain and suffering (except for this post)

From A/69 (published 2002)

1.3 Just The Facts
The authors of this document recommended that it be studied in its entirety. The subject of PSIP is complex and a full understanding is facilitated by following the logical progression of topics provided in this Recommended Practice. However, in recognition of the practical time limitations faced by engineers today, the following must read sections are identified:
For television station engineers: Section 5, Section 6, Annex A, Annex B, and Annex J.
For PSIP manufacturers: Section 6, Section 7, Annex C, Annex D, Annex E, Annex F,
Annex G, Annex H, Annex I, and Annex K. In addition, manufacturers are referred to ATSC Standard A/65A [4]. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the genesis of the PSIP Standard and why it is important to broadcasters, the authors recommend that Annex A be read first as it provides valuable background information on the subject. As an additional aid to readers, specific recommendations in this document are noted by the graphic.


Also from A/69 -

6.6 System Time Table
The System Time Table is the simplest and smallest of the PSIP tables. Its function is to provide a reference for time of day to receivers. In addition, the STT provides daylight savings time information.

The STT bases its reference for time of day on Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) time, which is measured in terms of seconds since 12:00 a.m. January, 6, 1980. This count increments monotonically, and hence can be used as a reliable and predictable timebase for specification of future times of action.

A receiver needs one other piece of information to derive Coordinated Universal Time (UTC): the current count of the number of leap seconds that have occurred since the beginning of GPS time. The STT delivers this data as well. Leap seconds account for the difference between time based on atomic clocks (as is GPS time) and time based on astronomical events such as the earth's rotation.

The STT also provides daylight savings time status (whether or not daylight savings time is in effect), and indicates the day of the month and the hour that the next transition will occur.

A receiver needs two pieces of additional information before it can use the STT data to track local time of day: 1) the offset in hours from UTC (the time zone), and 2) whether or not daylight savings time is observed locally.

For a digital television, this information may be entered directly by the consumer via a unit setup function. For a cable set-top box, this information may be delivered by the system operator.

The System Time data is required to be no less accurate than plus or minus four seconds, but by locking it to the station master clock, the DTV receiver could be one of the most accurate timepieces in the household.

The value of the STT should be set to the next second and the packet containing this value should be sent to the multiplexer shortly before each second increments. The exact interval before the transition is station configuration dependent and may not be deterministic, especially with statistical multiplexers. Most PSIP generators convert local time to GPS time internally (for the STT and all other tables with time).

---

I think we can all agree that the authors of A/69 have demonstrated a sensitivity to the reader.

Perhaps the broadcasters should have been required to study A/69 in its entirety and to hold their suppliers accountable when their equipment didn't/doesn't deliver on the specs (A/69 does suggest that there were some technical/implementation issues with the getting the STT right - I'm not sure if this is a relevant factor today)

To be resolved - What are the current issues that may preclude broadcasters from providing an accurate clock?

As mentioned earlier, I would contact an FCC expert via phone (if possible) to get the 411 on this

OT Question - Which of our residential devices provides the most accurate clock?

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post #16 of 19 Old 12-12-2009, 08:49 PM
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This short note:

There have been prior FCC enforcement actions with fines for noncompliance with the PSIP standard. I'll cite one - http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_publi...-05-2078A1.pdf

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post #17 of 19 Old 12-12-2009, 10:38 PM
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"The System Time data is required to be no less accurate than plus or minus four seconds, but by locking it to the station master clock, the DTV receiver could be one of the most accurate timepieces in the household."

LOL

Anyway, I used the search engine on that site
concerning time standard issues.

There are quiet a few hits,
but nothing was allowed as publicly viewable.

Your OT answer might go something like this.

The GPS in yous car, hand, or boat,
then your PC if (Time) syncronization is active.

Then any appliance like a clock radio that
uses the time transmission to set itself.

After three very polite emails unanswered,
I'm thinking phone too now...

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post #18 of 19 Old 12-13-2009, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeThePeople View Post

[i]"The System Time data is required to be no less accurate than plus or minus four seconds, but by locking it to the station master clock, the DTV receiver could be one of the most accurate timepieces in the household."[/I

Here's what I got - using www.time.gov as my reference

Pots phone 9516CW synced to Verizon : 17 seconds fast
Blackberry 9630 synced to Sprint: 8 seconds fast
PC running xp sp3 synced to time.nist.gov: 2 seconds slow
8300HDC synced to TWCNY: < 1 second
Slingbox Pro HD /Sling Player: TBD

How about that. I knew my 8300HDC was good for something!

On FCC search - with all their search engines, it would be reasonable to expect that we can find the docs that we're searching for - perhaps it could use a major overhaul.

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post #19 of 19 Old 12-13-2009, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeThePeople View Post

After three very polite emails unanswered,
I'm thinking phone too now...

Martin, Steve OET (301) 362-3052 Steve dot Martin at fcc dot gov

You may want to read his paper before calling (or at least the executive summary and relevant appendices)

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