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post #211 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by nickdawg View Post

What are the good sides of the splicer system? Other than it is supposed to help keep HD on the screen(a digital feed is always sent along with the analog and it is supposed to automatically show HD during network programming). It seems like this system is more of a PITA than helpful.

Cost. A station doesn't need to have HD digital infrastructure to air Fox in HD. I think Sinclair had a hand in this, as they own many stations and many of those stations are analog plants. I do not know the exact count. Our local Fox affiliate is 100% analog. If it weren't for the splicer, I doubt that Sinclair would have spent the money to get this station broadcasting in HD. We are low on Sinclair's radar.

Sinclair only needed to spend money for an HD encoder to take the SD analog and turn it into upconverted HD. Fox paid for everything else.

Fox doesn't send analog anymore. All of their feeds are digital, just like all of the other networks. One receiver gets the SD feed and sends it to another box that gives the analog station the analog that they need. The other receiver is the HD receiver and that ASI output goes directly to the splicer.

As for automatically switching to the network HD feed, that is still handled by the affiliate. A tally output from the master control board goes to the splicer, When "net" is punched up, the tally signal tells the splicer to switch to the HD.

The same type of automation is done at stations that are 100% digital. A tally outpur is used to control switchng from local content to "net" content. The splicer doesn't add anything of value there.

The other reason for the Fox system is that the local affiliate isn't re-encoding the HD video that is being sent to it. All of the encoding is done is LA. Turns out, IMHO, that has not worked out. Because there isn't enough bandwidth on the current digital mux, since it has 4-SD and 4-HD streams, macroblocking of the video is a common occurance. Especially during fades. Also, they set aside space for the affiliate to add an SD stream. Even if the station doesn't do that, everyone suffers with the same low bitrate. When SD goes away, that will give Fox more bits to work with and hopefully the video quality will improve.

It also gives Fox affilaites DD5.1 capability, for network shows. For those that aren't willing to spend the money, like Sinclair, we viewers still get DD5.1 audio.

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This also makes me wonder what will happen after February 2009 when the SD analog feed is no longer there to 'throw back to' for local inserted weather warnings. Will all stations have to make this upgrade before then? At a cost of 30K? Since the HD feed will also be used as the SD feed, I don't think they could go without broadcasting weather warnings.

At this point in time, Fox affiliates are not given access to use the HD video and centercut and downconvert to analog. While stations do have a monitor connection to the HD feed, it is not in the video format that stations can use. Then there is the problem with audio.

Stations like my local affiliate are either going to have to spend the bucks (Sinclair will kick and scream) or Fox will be forced to provide downconversion gear to provide NTSC video and stereo audio for those analog only stations.

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And that splicer system is also bad whenever local station decides to over ride it and show SD anyway. The entire evening was SD, even local news.

Local news in my area is SD. No one is doing HD news yet. If the local news was in SD and your news is normally HD, then something else was wrong at the station. The splicer cannot cause local content to be SD upconvert. Only the station can do that. There might have been something drastically wrong at your affiliate that night.

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post #212 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 01:56 AM
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The advantage of the splicer system is that it doesn't require a re-encode by the station. Stations can't reduce the network bitrate using the splicer system as designed (there are ways to get around that but Fox won't support it). Cascaded MPEG encoders require network distribution to be at higher bitrates which is less bandwidth efficient for satellite distribution. NBC's network bitrate is not as high as ABC and CBS, and there is much feedback in these forums regarding artifacts. Not requiring re-encoding allows more streams to be carried on a satellite transponder. This allows better regionalizing of programming and commercials. Network 5.1 audio is also inherent. Stations are not required to have any HD infrastructure other than an upconverter and a ATSC HD encoder.

There are disadvantages. Transitions from network programming to local is limited by a splicer cut. Stations can decode the Fox network feed to baseband and re-encode, but since the network feed is only at ATSC rates there can be significant degredation. Since the network needs to be an ATSC ready stream, advanced codecs like MPEG4 cannot be utilized. Delaying the network feed is an issue, although it has been done. Feeding other material for local intergration such as promos is not as easy.

I think the splicer was a useful methodology for the HD transition, but in the long run will outgrow its advantages. Most stations will be HD and will want the network feed as synchronized baseband within their system as they do now with SD. Newer codecs may allow more HD channels to be sent on a satellite transponder than ATSC streams. I think one technique that may be carried into mezzanine network distribution will be the ability to switch between streams within a single satellite transport stream with a splicer.
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post #213 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 02:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post


At this point in time, Fox affiliates are not given access to use the HD video and centercut and downconvert to analog. While stations do have a monitor connection to the HD feed, it is not in the video format that stations can use. Then there is the problem with audio.

Stations like my local affiliate are either going to have to spend the bucks (Sinclair will kick and scream) or Fox will be forced to provide downconversion gear to provide NTSC video and stereo audio for those analog only stations..

That's what I figured. There isn't going to be any in-house downconverting for SD viewers. All that happens at the cable or satellite company's head end. So the affiliate will either have to spend the money to go all digital or spend the money for extra equipment? I really can't wait to see how this transition is going to screw with the affiliates.
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post #214 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 02:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickdawg View Post

That's what I figured. There isn't going to be any in-house downconverting for SD viewers. All that happens at the cable or satellite company's head end. So the affiliate will either have to spend the money to go all digital or spend the money for extra equipment? I really can't wait to see how this transition is going to screw with the affiliates.

Stations can continue with what they are doing now - upconverting their SD and HD encoding it. If they need a downconvert of the HD network feed they can buy an IRD to do that such as a Tandberg RX1290.
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post #215 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 02:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD View Post

Stations can decode the Fox network feed to baseband and re-encode,

Affiliates are not supposed to have access to the ASI output of the HD receiver, The only connection that is supposed to happen is between the HD receiver and the splicer.

Is Fox no longer being strict about that?

And as you mentioned, re-encoding the low bitrate MPEG-2 video will cause image quality issues with the viewers.

NBC's new MPEG-4 mux is a little improvement over the current MPEG-2 mux. Unfortunately they are right back where they started because they ended up adding to many HD streams. I wish I knew why NBC doesn't believe in the 2:1 re-encode rule.

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post #216 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 02:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD View Post

There are disadvantages. Transitions from network programming to local is limited by a splicer cut.

Yes, and it's not a frame-accurate cut either, since they are splicing during an MPEG stream. It can be fudged around with config settings to get it close, but it's never 100% accurate. I see plenty of things where the network feed gets downcut by a few frames, or the local spot gets upcut, or the spot is downcut at the end, or the feed is upcut, or the feed starts in SD for a few frames and then jumps back and starts over in HD. That's just the granular nature of such a system.

Some stations are WAY off though. In the SF Bay area, the timing between the local and network streams is consistently off by at least one full second, if not two.
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post #217 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD View Post

Stations can continue with what they are doing now - upconverting their SD and HD encoding it. If they need a downconvert of the HD feed they can buy an IRD to do that such as a Tandberg RX1290.

And just how is that supposed to happen when Fox pulls the SD streams from the mux? Local affiliates, like mine, won't have a network SD feed in which to upconvert. I'm sure Fox is going to want to pull the SD feeds in order to get that bandwidth back and give it to the HD streams.

Fox is going to have to allow stations to get a box, like the Tandberg, and connect it to their receivers. Fox is real paranoid when it comes to the setup of their equipment.

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post #218 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

Affiliates are not supposed to have access to the ASI output of the HD receiver, The only connection that is supposed to happen is between the HD receiver and the splicer.

Is Fox no longer being strict about that?

I don't think FOX will support it if the station has problems. Past that I don't know if there are any issues. KXII was reportedly decoding the FOX stream and re-encoding it but I don't know if that is still going on.
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post #219 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by videojanitor View Post

Some stations are WAY off though. In the SF Bay area, the timing between the local and network streams is consistently off by at least one full second, if not two.

So, why haven't they fixed it? Big market station like that shouldn't have that kind of error. My local Fox affiliate is damn close, a frame or two at most.

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post #220 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

And just how is that supposed to happen when Fox pulls the SD streams from the mux? Local affiliates, like mine, won't have a network SD feed in which to upconvert.

This would be decoding the HD streams. That IRD is capable of downconverting HD. The splicer is required to properly select which stream is decoded so that could be an issue.
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post #221 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by TVOD View Post

This would be decoding the HD streams. That IRD is capable of downconverting HD. The splicer is required to properly select which stream is decoded so that could be an issue.

Oh ya, that's right. Doesn't the splicer get all 8 streams via the ASI connection? It is then told which of the 4 HD streams to use when the local affiliate goes to "net".

If a station connects their own box to downconvert to SD, they might pick the wrong HD stream, especially during sporting events

BTW, it is time for bed and I think this has gotten a little off topic

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post #222 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 10:24 AM
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I just wanted to say BRAVO to my local CW/ABC affiliates. Last night after midnight I was flipping around and saw both Lost and Stargate Atlantis on in HD. Not only was I surprised they were in HD but the best part of it, not a single hint of an onscreen graphic! Both channels didn't even have their network logos up. It was a wonderful thing to see.
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post #223 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 11:16 AM
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Got a surprise here in Jacksonville. While none of our network affiliates broadcast any of the syndicated shows in HD, one of our independents has just started to carry the Raycom sports network for games, Dr. Phil, Entertainment Tonight, Oprah and the Insider in HD. I've even caught Raymond and CSI:NY in HD.

Surprising, but welcome.
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post #224 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

So, why haven't they fixed it? Big market station like that shouldn't have that kind of error.

You could ask that question about a lot of things. Why hasn't ABC hasn't fixed the problem with their West coast feed? The size of an organization doesn't necessarily mean they are any better at seeing and acting on problems.
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post #225 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Stryker412 View Post

I just wanted to say BRAVO to my local CW/ABC affiliates. Last night after midnight I was flipping around and saw both Lost and Stargate Atlantis on in HD.

This is the first I've heard of Stargate Atlantis being shown in HD in syndication. I'll have to check my local stations.

We are seeing quite a few shows showing up in HD syndication. Not just the daytime talk shows, but a number of repeat scripted series - Lost, Desperate Housewives, CSI: (city of your choice here), Boston Legal, and so on. A lot more than I think almost anyone here would have expected as recently as several months ago. It is obviously hit and miss, mostly miss across the US, but in several years (in the major markets anyway), syndicated shows in HD may well be the norm and SD the exception. Of course, that could mean that Springer will go HD and I don't know if that is a sign of the HD apocalypse or not.
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post #226 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by videojanitor View Post

Yes, and it's not a frame-accurate cut either, since they are splicing during an MPEG stream. It can be fudged around with config settings to get it close, but it's never 100% accurate. I see plenty of things where the network feed gets downcut by a few frames, or the local spot gets upcut, or the spot is downcut at the end, or the feed is upcut, or the feed starts in SD for a few frames and then jumps back and starts over in HD. That's just the granular nature of such a system.

Some stations are WAY off though. In the SF Bay area, the timing between the local and network streams is consistently off by at least one full second, if not two.

Oh yeah, I've seen that. The cuts between network feed and local inserted crap is almost always 'unclean' and the end of network feed is dropped to SD or cut off in some cases. Coming back in to the network feed also is SD for a few frames. Whenever the cut is between local crap and back into the show I'm always a bit paranoid that some of the show was cut off, due to the quick cuts. The timing here is not that bad, but it's better than it used to be. Another downside is either someone was not paying attention or they attempted to "time" the local spots ahead of time. Anyway that night something like American Idol ran over then House started. Around 15 after it cut to local commercials. Of course someone quickly flipped back, but about a second was bumped for commercials. Then a few minutes later, the same commercials came on
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post #227 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickdawg View Post

Another downside is either someone was not paying attention or they attempted to "time" the local spots ahead of time. Anyway that night something like American Idol ran over then House started. Around 15 after it cut to local commercials. Of course someone quickly flipped back, but about a second was bumped for commercials. Then a few minutes later, the same commercials came on

That's the local stations fault. Whenever AI runs over, the station is supposed to adjust their local break times by the amount of the overrun. So, if the show ran 1 minute long, and your local break was supposed to start at 9:14:00 for example, then the master control op is supposed to adjust so that it starts at 9:15:00 instead. Sounds like that didn't happen! They rolled early, realized the mistake, went back to the feed, recued the break and then ran it at the correct time.
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post #228 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 01:48 PM
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I think Sinclair had a hand in this...

Keep thinking.

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post #229 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by TVOD View Post

I think the splicer was a useful methodology for the HD transition, but in the long run will outgrow its advantages.

Probably, but it certainly was an elegant (cost effective and relatively capable) solution for its time.

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post #230 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by afiggatt View Post

This is the first I've heard of Stargate Atlantis being shown in HD in syndication.

Yup.

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post #231 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 01:58 PM
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Current HD syndicated programs:

-Jeopardy
-Two And A Half Men
-Wheel of Fortune
-Everybody Loves Raymond
-Seinfeld
-Ellen DeGeneres Show
-Oprah
-Dr. Phil
-Entertainment Tonight
-The Insider
-CSI: NY
-CSI: Miami
-Lost
-Tyler Perry's House of Payne
-Desperate Housewives
-Stargate Atlantis

Coming Soon:
-Legend of the Seeker - November 1, 2008
-Boston Legal - Fall 2008

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post #232 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Current HD syndicated programs:

-Jeopardy 1080i
-Two And A Half Men 1080i
-Wheel of Fortune 1080i
-Everybody Loves Raymond 1080i
-Seinfeld 1080i
-Ellen DeGeneres Show
-Oprah
-Dr. Phil
-Entertainment Tonight
-The Insider
-CSI: NY 1080i
-CSI: Miami 1080i
-Lost 720p
-Tyler Perry's House of Payne 1080i
-Desperate Housewives 720p
-Stargate Atlantis

Coming Soon:
-Legend of the Seeker - November 1, 2008
-Boston Legal - Fall 2008 720p


The format in which the shows were produced does not indicate that they will shown that way in syndication. They will be cross converted to the native format of the transmitting station.
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post #233 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 04:31 PM
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Is there any reason why Lost is syndicated in 720p in the US?

Over here, in the UK, it is shown in 1080/50i - and looks to be coming from a 1080/24p master sped-up to 1080/25p. Doesn't look like 720/24p to me - though I may be wrong.

Same is true of Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives - they all look more like 1080/24p rather than 720/24p speed-ups.

My understanding was that whilst ABC and Fox broadcast in 720p, most of their HD scripted drama and sit com was shot and postproduced in 1080/24p for international re-sale (with Arrested Development a notable exception, as it was shot on the then-720p-only Panasonic Varicams, before the newer 1080/24p models were available?) It also allows 1080p Blu-ray releases...
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post #234 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 04:55 PM
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The format in which the shows were produced does not indicate that they will shown that way in syndication. They will be cross converted to the native format of the transmitting station.

Of course.

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post #235 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 04:58 PM
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Is there any reason why Lost is syndicated in 720p in the US?

I don't know that it is syndicated in 720p, I was listing what the original broadcast format was.

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post #236 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Stryker412 View Post

Both channels didn't even have their network logos up. It was a wonderful thing to see.

Network bugs won't be there during local programming. Local bugs most certainly could be, if they invested in the equipment in which to do so.

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post #237 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 05:08 PM
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YWhy hasn't ABC hasn't fixed the problem with their West coast feed? The size of an organization doesn't necessarily mean they are any better at seeing and acting on problems.

What problem with the west coast feed? Have you called them and told them?

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post #238 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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What problem with the west coast feed? Have you called them and told them?

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1069456

I don't work for an ABC station, so I've got no one to call.
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post #239 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
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Keep thinking.

OK. Must have misread that.

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post #240 of 384 Old 09-28-2008, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Current HD syndicated programs:

-Ellen DeGeneres Show
-Oprah
-Dr. Phil
-Entertainment Tonight
-The Insider

These are all fed in 1080i (if you are taking notes).

"What do you say Beckett. Wanna have a baby?" - Castle to Det. Beckett
"How Long have I been gone?" Alexis after arriving home and seeing Castle and Beckett w/ the baby - Castle - 11/25/13
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