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post #151 of 3103 Old 01-22-2003, 08:55 PM
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I reported the issues a few of you have reported regarding pixelization on FOX and UPN to Jon Cyphers, station engineer. Here is the portion of his replay pertaining to this issue:
Quote:


I am concerned about the pixelization, football is pretty much over for us, but NASCAR starts soon, and we have other programming that has a lot of movement.
My question to those viewers is what kind of antenna setup do they have?

MPEG2 compression (what DTV signals are coded as) basically works by not repeating parts of the image that are stationary (such as backgrounds) that's why pixelization usually happens around moving parts of the image first, the backgrounds are still in memory.

I want to eliminate low signal or signal dropouts as possibilities for this problem, that's why I'm wondering about antennas. I'm focusing on our upconverter for now, because it's the only thing I can come up with that would be able to cause pixelization. I wonder about the claim of pixelization on UPN, since it is not upconverted, just simply 480i digital. Once we have receivers at home (coming soon) we will be able to diagnose things a lot quicker.

I will keep you up to date with what we find.

Thanks for your help!

jon

I have not personally noticed any pixelization, but I haven't watched any football games on FOX. I am in NW Wichita with a large antenna, so my signal strength is excellent. Pixelization could be caused by a marginal signal. It may also be that the pixeliation is there and I just haven't noticed it because I haven't watched the kinds of programming that would show it.

David
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post #152 of 3103 Old 01-23-2003, 04:32 AM
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I thought about that. As everyone knows, I have a simple indoor antenna. I've looked at signal strength for those stations though. For FOX, it is always in the 90-100 range and UPN is 70-80. I do not believe this is a reception problem.

Also, as I reported before, when I was watching the game on Sunday I called a friend on the West side of town that has an outdoor roof mounted antenna. He was seeing the same thing.

You don't see this all the time on Fox or UPN. Only in high bitrate motion scenes. If Jon wants to seriously investigate this, I might be able to make a short .mpg clip that could be emailed or put on a cd for him to view.

Dave G.
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post #153 of 3103 Old 01-23-2003, 11:42 AM
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Quote:


Please pass the word on to your DTV group :

Went to Hephner's yesterday, saw the problems there, and took a receiver home and saw them last night.

Fox has to be punched in as 26-2 then shows up as 24-1 once it comes up. Something in my PSIP is corrupted. Every other time at Hephner's you could punch in 24-1 directly, I couldn't do that at home.
The basketball game last night on UPN was freezing pretty bad, I think there's an error on our encoder.
I saw a little bit of pixelization during commercials last night on Fox, American Idol didn't have enough movement to cause the problem. But I'll be watching it like a hawk now.

Our professional receiver doesn't show any of this, it must have a lot stronger error corrector in it.
I have an outdoor antenna at home (I'm in the SE part of town), and my signal meter was pegged on FOX, almost that good on UPN, so I don't think this is a signal or antenna issue.

I will be working on this until I get it fixed, during the day I might be interrupting the signal quite often, every change to the system causes it to go to black.

Thanks for your patience and help, I wanted to fill you in, so you guys can stop screwing with your equipment, I can finally see the problems. It's hard to fix what you can't see.

On a separate note, I highly recommend Greg Hephner at Hephner's TV as the Wichita resource, he had the local signals viewable on different tuners, and had great prices, he was tremendous help to us.

jon
Jon Cyphers
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jcyphers@clearchannel.com
Voice 316-942-2424
Fax 316-942-8927
www.foxkansas.com www.upnkansas.com

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post #154 of 3103 Old 01-23-2003, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Guys,
Is anybody getting any sound or picture from ABC digital in the last couple of days? Last night my signal was pegged between 95 and 100 on my DTC-100 and all I get on the channel is black with no sound. Are they having some issues? I am getting the same thing today. Plenty of signal just no picture or sound. I hope they get this figured out before Sunday.


Thanks
Kevin C.
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post #155 of 3103 Old 01-23-2003, 03:25 PM
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Sounds like we're in good hands with Fox and UPN. I'm sure Jon will get it fixed soon. Also, thanks for keeping us posted David.

As far as ABC, as of right now I am getting picture and sound on ABC (10-1). No problems that I can see.

Dave G.
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post #156 of 3103 Old 01-23-2003, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I did a re-search for channels and now I am getting a picture and sound.
I don't know why I had to do that?

Kevin C.
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post #157 of 3103 Old 01-23-2003, 07:52 PM
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At least some of the receivers save information from the PSIP data that is broadcast by the stations. You can have problems when the station changes what is being sent which then doesn't match what the receiver saved when you first tuned to the channel. I'm guessing something like that happened to you. By re-scanning, your receiver cleared whatever was saved.

Dave G.
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post #158 of 3103 Old 01-23-2003, 11:19 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Kevin Coleman
I did a re-search for channels and now I am getting a picture and sound.
I don't know why I had to do that?

Kevin C.

Because!

Seriously, so much of this is voodoo. Jon told me he wasn't seeing a particular problem that I reported, but then he rebooted his Sencor and then he DID see the problem, so was then able to fix it. He wasn't seeing the pixelization issues reported here (which I forwarded to him), so he went to Heffners and bought or borrowed an HD receiver so that he could see what we were seeing. He did see it, so now he's working on the problem.

I'm a little frustrated with Marty Heffner. The only email I have received from him about my sound problem with WB is
Quote:


I don't know what to say, I have audio here at the office. The only thing I can think of at the moment is to rescan the channels.

When he says he has audio, I'm guessing that's with his umpteen thousand dollar Sencor decoder. Three out of three people who have responded to my query about sound on WB have said they have some problem, although none to the extent I am. There IS an issue with sound on WB, but Marty seems to have his head in the sand and (apparently) isn't even trying to find out what the problem is. I for one can't imagine what *I* could be doing wrong on my end. I get sound on the other five local DTT channels just fine. I experience the same problem on two disparate receivers, one a consumer set-top box, and the other an HD card in my PC. The only thing they have in common is the antenna. How in the heck could my antenna cause me not to get sound on ONE out of six channels? If there was actually anything ON WB to watch, I'd be (even more) upset about it. [Rant Mode Off ]

David
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post #159 of 3103 Old 01-24-2003, 04:52 AM
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Yea, it really is black magic sometimes. Since I got my HD setup, I've said that several times.

David, have you tried adding an attenuator to your antenna? I've seen a few people on this forum claim this helped them receive certain channels. Why would this work? Because it is possible to have too much signal and you probably have more signal than any of us. Also, for me at least, I get a highest signal reading on WB of the 6 stations. Radio shack sells VHF/UHF antenuators including one that is variable.

I agree WB may actually have a transmission problem, but since you have 2 receivers with the same problem, there may be something specific to your setup. The last few times I've tried WB, it has worked for me. I haven't seen the audio problem again (so far).

Dave G.
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post #160 of 3103 Old 01-24-2003, 11:37 AM
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I have a 2-way splitter in the line, so already I'm down 3dB over the direct feed from the antenna. I added a 6dB attenuator, and then another 3dB, for a total of 12dB attenuation. The most interesting thing to me is that this didn't seem to hurt things at all. It also doesn't help my situation with WB. BTW, even without the additional attenuation I do get sound SOMETIMES now, but I have to change channels a few times, sometimes six or eight or even ten times, before the sound comes on.

To take this experiment to it's absurd conclusion, I added three more 2-way splitters, bringing the total to 4 splitters plus 9dB worth of attenuators. This makes for a total of 21dB of attenuation between the antenna and the HD card in my PC.

The result? All channels except WB still have sound (and picture). When I do get sound on WB, it cuts in and out continuously.

Something else that's "curious" is that the signal strength on 3 and 12 is only 21-23, and yet I still have a picture and sound. But the other 4 channels read 81 to as high as 92! Clearly there is something strange going on here. I wonder if the card could be picking up the signal directly, or purhaps my little array of slitters and attenuators is acting like a little antenna? Beats me, but the upshot is I am no closer to getting sound from WB.

David


Update: I tried connecting JUST the array of splitters and attenuators, just on the unlikely chance that it was in fact acting like a little antenna. I wasn't able to pick up any local DTT station.
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post #161 of 3103 Old 01-24-2003, 01:36 PM
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Hmm, well that eliminates that possibility. One this for sure though, you have TONS of signal if you can add that much stuff in-line and still get all the channels.

The problem you describe with WB is exactly what happened to me before, but for some reason it has cured itself in my case. I haven't changed a thing though. I may have rebooted my receiver since then, but nothing else, not even a channel re-scan.

NBC and CBS should have less signal. CBS's antenna is all the way up in Hutch and NBC is transmitting with significantly less power than the other stations right now.

Dunno what to tell you David. If you've done the obvious (re-scan, reboot), then I don't know anything else to try. I agree WB is probably doing something that is causing this problem. Something probably got changed during their downtime. I assume it worked fine before??

If I have any more problems with them, I'll be sure to post it here. I watch Smallville each week.

Dave G.
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post #162 of 3103 Old 01-24-2003, 03:43 PM
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Cox Cable Info?

Just read Comcast to Carry Super Bowl XXXVII in HDTV and wondered if anyone has heard anything about Cox's plans lately? I've spent a lot of time & money trying to get OTA HDTV at my house & don't really want to buy another HDTV tuner very soon. I still have time to return this one if Cox gets off their butt.

TIA,
Scot W.

Ps. This thread saved me a lot of searching for info. I collected a lot of it at Wichita HDTV Page if anyone is interested.
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post #163 of 3103 Old 01-24-2003, 04:26 PM
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Scot,

I have had some discussions with a VP with Cox Kansas and he said it will be awhile. He said the Motorolla boxes they are now using are too expensive for them to try to use, but Mot will be coming out with a cheaper box "sometime this year", so your guess is as good as anyones as to when Cox will provide HDTV. I am betting late 03 or early 04.
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post #164 of 3103 Old 01-24-2003, 07:18 PM
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Scot,

Thank you for that link. I was not aware of it.

Dave,

I have a particularly high tech solution I'm going to try. Since the only things in common between my two HD receivers is the antenna and my location, I am trying a different antenna. A $2.99 Radio Shack UHF Bow-Tie. I will report back as soon as I have tried it out.

David
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post #165 of 3103 Old 01-24-2003, 07:43 PM
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Get this. I can get ABC, FOX, WB, and UPN on a $2.99 ($3.18 with tax) Radio Shack Bow-Tie. I can't get NBC and CBS, but that's not surprising as Dave G. has pointed out.

WB? Still no sound. Most of the time anyway. When I DO get sound, it's choppy - cutting in and out constantly. THEY have a problem, or I will EAT this Radio Shack bow-tie.

David
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post #166 of 3103 Old 01-25-2003, 05:19 AM
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David, what audio connection are you using? Have you tried the RCA stereo connection as well as the Coax/Optical out on your receivers? As I mentioned before, I *think* one change they made was going to dolby digital output. I used to get PCM on my receiver, now it shows DD2.0 when I tune to WB. Although, both connections seem to be working for me right now.

Dave G.
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post #167 of 3103 Old 01-25-2003, 07:31 PM
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Dave G,

My Hughes receiver is connected to my surround processor via optical digital. Out of a few hundred antenna, cable, a satellite channels, WB is the only one without sound. I also have the Hughes connected to a video capture card in my PC via S-Video, with an RCA connection to the sound card. The HD card in my PC is connected to the sound card via an analog connection.

In other words, I've tried most, although not all, of the possibilities.

My sound problems started when WB reappeared after their long down-time. I don't recall having any problems prior to that.


David
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post #168 of 3103 Old 01-28-2003, 12:34 AM
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I haven't checked today, but is 3-1 off the air? I rescanned channels on Friday and it didn't pick up KSNW-DT. I have tried manually tuning to 3-1 and 45-1 and both say "No Signal". I don't currently have access to the PC HD card as a cross check.

Still no word from Marty Heffner re: the sound problem I am having with WB. I got confirmation from another person that they also get no sound on WB. Unfortunately, he is using the same brand of HD card I am, so it could be a problem with the PC card or software. Of course, I also have the problem with my Hughes E86, but I won't be ready to declare it as definitely WB's problem until someone with a 3rd brand of receiver confirms it.

David
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post #169 of 3103 Old 01-28-2003, 11:47 AM
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Haysdb, I'm on the SE side of town. W.B. sound takes a few seconds to come in and then the sound is choppy as you say. All sound on the other channels are fine. I agree with you that this was not a problem until they came back up. FYI I have a dish 6000, with the OTA module, so add that to the brand list. Over the weekend KSNW-DT has been very low 50%, and sometimes I'll lose them. When they first came on air they were around 65%. As for FOX I have also noticed the pixel problem.
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post #170 of 3103 Old 01-28-2003, 03:52 PM
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Haysdb, I live in El Dorado and 3 has allways been my lowest signal, but I have been able to watch it most of the time.
All weekend I have been able to get a signal, but not allways a picture. And when I do get a picture it is all pixels.
I have a Sony HD200 and it shows the signal as low to mid poor.

John
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post #171 of 3103 Old 01-28-2003, 04:52 PM
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I live in northwest Wichita and have also been having the same sound problems with the WB. At first I get no sound at all, after about 20 seconds I get it only intermittently. Its also much louder than the other stations. I have a Samsung 151 receiver.

Has anybody else had a problem with both Fox and UPN where upon changing to either of these channels, it can take anywhere from one to ten seconds before you start to receive any picture or sound. My receiver just flashes no signal on the screen even though I have eighty to ninety percent signal strength while all this is occuring. I have no problems after I start getting a picture. I still don't get any of the psip data from either of these stations even though I have tried to rescan them several times.
They both still show 26-1 and 35-1. After three months of trying to fix these problems I've concluded that there is something in both stations signals that my receiver just doesn't like. I was just curious to find if anyone else is seeing the same thing.

Thanks,
Rob
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post #172 of 3103 Old 01-28-2003, 07:08 PM
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What has Jon Cyphers done to UPN?!?! It's coming in as a stretch mode (4x3 image showing as full screen) which means Enterprise that's in widescreen won't look right. No!!!

Dave G.
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post #173 of 3103 Old 01-28-2003, 07:09 PM
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I haven't seen this problem with FOX or UPN, and I receive FOX as 24-1 (AND 24-2) and UPN as 33-1. You might send an email to Jon Cyphers, station engineer for FOX and UPN. I think his email address is included in a recent post. He has been very responsive to my emails, but as he may have some follow-up questions, best you email him directly.

Dave G, I will take a look, confirm your observation, then send an email to Jon. He warned me a few days ago that he would be changing some things, and that FOX and UPN would be off the air occasionally. I'm certain this was just a booboo.

I got an email from Marty Heffner today. He is at least finally taking this issue seriously. He says, in part...
Quote:


I am finding it very interesting about some of the information you have relayed. I have called the manufacture posing some of the questions about our audio but have not come up with any concrete information yet.

David
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post #174 of 3103 Old 01-28-2003, 07:36 PM
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Thanks David. I'm guessing your right. I'll shoot him an email tomorrow. I actually talked to him on the phone when I first got my tuner. I was just looking forward to watching Enterprise on the digital channel finally and got a little excited. :-)

I'm glad to see your making some progress with WB. Still working fine here though, watching Smallville right now.

Dave G.
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post #175 of 3103 Old 01-28-2003, 10:14 PM
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After my last message I wondered down to the dungeon where my theater is located. Of 6 local digital channels, three of them had a problem. I still can't pick up NBC at all, UPN was black, and still no sound on WB. Actually, when I first tuned to WB, I did have sound, but not after I changed channels. I guess I need to dig up an address for someone at KSNW and see if I can find out what's going on. I am in NW Wichita, with an 8' antenna in my attic. If I can't pick it up, it's a sure thing LOTS of other folks are going to have a problem. Heck, I can pick up four stations with a $2.99 Radio Shack Bow-Tie. NBC must really be at low power. But why bother to broadcast at all if you can't even reach the Wichita market? How many people in Hutchinson have DTT receivers?

David


[Edit]Dave Rickels is the Chief Engineer (CE) at KSN. His email is daverickels@ksn.com
I have sent him an email. Feel free to do likewise, so the folks at KSN know someone is watching (or at least TRYING to watch) their digital channel.
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post #176 of 3103 Old 01-29-2003, 06:08 PM
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Jon changed the aspect back to 4x3 on UPN today. As David has said, he's been incredibly helpful. He changed it after getting my note this morning about the problem. I got a little excited last night in my note about the aspect problem, but I certainly don't want it to sound like I'm complaining about anything he's done. He's making every effort to get things working. We just need to be patient. I'm 100% confident he'll get it working, although it may take some time.

One interesting observation though. When he had the aspect set to "full" or "stretched" on his end, I wasn't getting any glitching or pixelization. Now that he's switched it back to 4x3, the glitching has returned. Dunno if the two things are related, but I'll send him another note tomorrow and relay my observations. Maybe it will help him resolve the problems.

Dave G.
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post #177 of 3103 Old 01-29-2003, 08:26 PM
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I watched channel 3.1 tonite from 8 to 9 . Had good pic and sound but signal was only to top of poor. All weekend and up to this eve. it's been to the bottom of poor.

John
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post #178 of 3103 Old 01-29-2003, 08:57 PM
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I still can't get 3-1 (or 45-1) at all. I am going to remove the one splitter I have in the line from my antenna. Maybe that will be just enough that I can lock on to a signal, although I seriously doubt it. Last week I ADDED 21dB worth of splitters and attenuators and was still able to pick up all 6 local DTT stations.

I got an email from Jon Cyphers today. It makes for rather "enlightening" reading since it raises some issue I thought were dead. I am going to include it here in it's entirely, along with my reply. The floor is open for debate.
Quote:


Jon Cyphers wrote

David-My encoder tech had me set UPN that way, because "most digital viewers have widescreens and most broadcasters set it that way so all stations would be 16x9." It looked a little stretched on our plasma (but not much), but I thought I would do some more research. On my 4x3 it looks nice with the encoder set in widescreen. What is the complaint? That during Enterprise that is already letterboxed the image is that much smaller? This was the case for me when I watched Mission Impossible (on 10-1) over the weekend on my projector, the image was letterboxed-letterboxed. I'll take a receiver home again (because I don't want to come here in the evenings if I'm not called in) and catch some UPN prime. Are most of the forum members watching on 16x9 or 4x3 format monitors?

You state that no TV's or receivers have squeeze modes, yet both my Zenith and Sencore receivers have multiple modes such as crop, letterbox, full, and the Zenith even has one that says "Squeezed". As an example, if I tune in our Fox 1080i and set the ratio to cropped, it fills the full screen on a normal 4x3 TV, getting rid of the letterbox and pillars. Is this a feature that came out only recently, and you guys don't have it?

This is why our troubleshooting is so difficult, different receivers are showing different things, and it's hard to pick one to trust.

We are experimenting with everything. While I'll try to keep a stable signal on the majority of the time, a lot of variables are going on. Such as today when we are going to ship our 1080i out of Wichita up our microwave path to Salina, so viewers up there will get 24-1 (26-2 ) on channel 17 for a day or so. Right now the salina digital is nothing more than our analog signal upconverted in the shack, we're doing equipment tests to see if the microwave is stable enough to carry the digital out of Wichita.

The problems of it taking a second to lock in our stations has to do with our PSIP timing, I have that company going over a capture of our stream right now. The same company is working on the 26-2 problem. Both our complex problems that can't be fixed by simple configuration settings.

Sweeps (ratings) starts tomorrow night, so my main focus will be our analogs because that is where 99.9% of our viewers are, but I will continue to try and get our digital problems taken care of when I get time between analog problems.

Thanks for all of the info and your continued patience.

BTW - our email was transferred to a new server at our corporate office, so our email has been on the fritz, so if you get a returned msg, try sending it again later, It will eventually get through.

jon

Quote:


My reply

Jon,

I do not share your encoder tech's point of view, although I can see where he's coming from. If your preference is for everything to "fill your screen", and don't mind your favorite actors and actresses looking 30 pounds overweight, then that would be desireable. I prefer to see programs in their original aspect ratio, so that 4:3 material has black bars on the sides. If I want these channels to fill my screen, I can use the stretch mode on my TV or STB.

I have two TV's (both 16:9) and two HD receivers, a total of 4 brands represented. Each of them has a variety of "stretch" and "expand" modes:
"Stretch" 4:3 material to 16:9 (this is what you were doing).
"Expand" letterboxed 4:3 programs, which have black bars on the left and right, and black bars on the top and bottom, to fill the screen. I sometimes use this for Enterprise, although since it's halfway between 4:3 and 16:9, I loose some of the top and bottom of the image.
None of these devices have any "squeeze" modes. I can see why this would be a desireable feature though - to handle stations which expand 4:3 material to 16:9! :-)

Although I personally prefer everything be in it's OAR, my unbiased advice is to NOT stretch 4:3 programming to 16:9. All of your customers with 16:9 TV's can do this if that is what they want. Stretch modes are ubiquitous, squeeze modes are not. Purhaps not everyone will be happy, but this is the standard way of doing it. No other Wichita station is broadcasting a stretched image.

I don't know how anything behaves on a 4:3 screen. Besides, a 4:3 HDTV is an oxymoron since HD is, by definition, 16:9. Mitsubishi doesn't even make 4:3 HDTV's any more. There isn't a single 4:3 plasma that I am aware of, nor any 4:3 DLP projectors intended for home theater. The only place you'll find 4:3 is in CRT's, because 16:9 CRT's are so bloody expensive.

I know I speak for everyone on the forum when I say we all appreciate the work you are doing, and the learning curve you are experiencing. Everyone is experiencing their share of problems. I can't get sound on WB. I haven't been able to get NBC at ALL since late last week due to a very weak signal. And on and on.

I will let everyone know that you'll have your hands full for the next week.

David

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My original point was in regards to any broadcast, like Enterprise, that is shown in 4x3 letterbox. As Jon states, the image will be letterboxed on all sides on a 16x9 TV. BUT, you can activate a "zoom" image mode on most HDTV's which makes the broadcast fullscreen and the correct aspect ratio.

OTOH, if the source is already stretched to fill a 16x9 screen, then it is not possible to get the aspect ratio correct. The image for Enterprise for example, ends up compressed vertically with letterboxing on a 16x9 TV.

Anyway, he did switch it back, so that problem is resolved. It's much better for them to send the image in the original format and let us adjust accordingly.

BTW, has the audio problem been resolved on WB?? Jon indicated in an email to me that Marty had resolved it.

Dave G.
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Dave G.,
The sound on WB has not been fixed. Not for me anyway. It's still approximately 20dB lower in level than all the other local DTT channels and my DirecTV channels. I have gotten nothing from Marty Heffner indicating that the problem has been fixed, only that he is working on it. My other HD receiver is not currently available to me.

Of the six local DTT channels, I get four at 100%. 19 (CBS) is only 51%. 45 (NBC) is 12% which is too low to be received. Since I do get four stations so strongly, tonight I will play with the orientation of my antenna to optimize reception on 45 and 19, and then verify that I haven't lost one or more of the other stations. When I pointed the antenna, 45 was definitely not yet on the air, and possibly not 19 either.

According to www.antennaweb.org, 45 (NBC) is furthest to the left, but it's clustered together with 21 (ABC) and 26 (FOX), both of which I receive at 100%. 19 is right in the middle, so I might optimize signal strenth on 19 and see if that8u's enough to pick up 45 without loosing UPN, which is off to the right. But that doesn't make any sense. Don't FOX and UPN broadcast from the same tower? Not according to attenaweb. Maybe I'll just turn the antenna a bit to the left and give 45 another try.

[Edit] I rotated the antenna some degrees to the left. Signal strength on 45 (NBC) has increased only to 15 while 19 (CBS) has dropped from 52 to only around 30. I dare not go further or I will loose CBS. All other stations remain at 100%, which is no surprise since I can receive them with a COAT HANGER.

I agree 100% that programs should be broadcast in their original aspect ratio. To do otherwise doesn't make any sense. You force too many customers to counter your zig with a zag, and not every component is equipped with a zag control.

David
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