Originally posted by dtaylor
Hello, I'm a new Greensboro HDTV user, using TW Cable and a Pansonic ED Plasma.
Welcome dtaylor!. I am the Transmitter Supervisor for FOX8 WGHP and I may be able to shed some light on your questions.
I was surprised that all the networks with the exeception of nbc were broadcasting in 4:3 ratio. Is this common, particular to TW Cable, is the same signal received over the air?
Right now the only "non-analog" programming is either sports or Primetime. The rest of the time, all of the stations that transmit more than analog on their digital channel, use the side bars for 4:3: programming since it is directly converted from analog to digital for broadcast on the DT channel. WXLV-DT, WUPN-DT, WLXI-DT, and when they come on the air this month (March) WTWB-DT and WGPX-DT will/do upconvert their analog 24/7 and do not pass any HD or widescreen programming.
WLXI-DT stretches an obvious off the air rebroadcast of their channel 61 analog. (looks like a VCR plumbed into the DT transmitter) A lot of times you can see the analog signal fade in and out since their analog transmitter is at Kernersville and the DT is at Level Cross. They save money on an additional microwave link to the DT site since they are upconverting only anyway, and I guess they figure their viewers are not the types to have OTA digital receivers anyway if their DT is not on cable for distribution.
TWC is only offering WFMY-DT, WGHP-DT, WXII-DT, and WXLV-DT at this time. I have heard there is no immediate plans to add the other stations, but it is always up for revision.
WXII-DT and WFMY-DT pass through 1080i widescreen when it is available from their networks. The remainder of the time they upconvert their analog to their digital channel with the side bars. WXII-DT flips back and forth on having side bars and then other times stretching the analog signal to cover the full screen. WGHP-DT transmits 480p since that is all FOX makes available to us. But FOX has now started providing widescreen on just about 90% of all primetime programming except the animated programs and some of the sit-coms. The dramas and sports are all done in 16:9 widescreen including FOX News Sunday. The rest of the time we transmit the side bars with 4:3 programming. We too started out with the 4:3 stretch and later opted to not do that when people complained about how bad it looked on large screens. TWC just passes through what the stations transmit.
WGHP-DT, WXLV-DT, WUPN-DT and WLXI-DT are 24/7.
WFMY-DT is only on from 12:30p to 1:30p weekdays and 8p to 11:30p 7 days and when CBS provides additional HD programming.
WXII-DT is only on from 4p to 12:35a 7 days a week.
Even more suprising was NBC, when I checked it they were showing west wing which appeared to be broadcast in 4:3 format but then within the 4:3 signal was letterboxed so that the actual picure had black all around and only filled about 1/2 the screen. Is this a setting I need to change or is that how it is broadcast.
West Wing is the only NBC program that is in widescreen and NOT in 1080i. I don't know why. I have seen others in other markets complain that it is shown in 4:3 letterbox and not in true 16:9. I believe it is sent from NBC that way, according to what I have heard, and this makes no sense. I did notice on this weeks WW that the feed was in widescreen with the peacock bug in the extreme lower right location (denoting widescreen) and the program was in 4:3 letterbox with side bars. Then the peacock bug shifted to the visual field of the 4:3 center cut (where it would be on an analog feed with the black bars remaining as before. This may confirm that NBC IS feeding it this way, but I have no independent confirmation.
I also have HD HBO and showtime, which are great in widescreen but of the four channels two were showing 4:3 format movies. Finally, whats with the unc logo on the UNC HD, is it always there or do they only show it occasionally. My daughter will be attending UNC next year but I don't want their logo burned permanantly into my screen.
I do not have cable just DirecTV and there HBO-HD shows its movies in 16:9 and most of their non movie programming, sports shows, "G String Diva's," etc are 4:3 with side bars. Their "prime" series like Sopranos, and now "Six Feet Under" will be shown in 16:9 HD also. I do not have Showtime, so I can't comment.
The secondary UNC channels; PBS Kids, PBSYou, and CPB-Annenberg channel, keep bugs up all the time. Only the main channel that is upconverted from the analog feed has the rotating on and off screen bugs.
Great to see a group here from Greensboro. Thanks for any info you can help me out with.
Also checkout www.triad-hdtv.org
I hope that helps.