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post #31 of 11277 Old 05-21-2002, 06:26 PM
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Thanks compson, for the site and the station information.

Bobby Ray
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post #32 of 11277 Old 05-23-2002, 07:57 AM
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Thanks, foxeng, for ringing their bell at WXLV-DT (29). Everything looks normal now.

I am amzed that a commercial TV station can transmit a signal for several days that cannot be decoded. Don't they monitor their own signals?

Thanks again for getting the problem fixed. Now how about working on their non-high definition problem?

By the way, what does PSIP mean?
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post #33 of 11277 Old 05-23-2002, 01:58 PM
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Originally posted by Neely
Thanks, foxeng, for ringing their bell at WXLV-DT (29). Everything looks normal now.

I am amzed that a commercial TV station can transmit a signal for several days that cannot be decoded. Don't they monitor their own signals?

Thanks again for getting the problem fixed. Now about about working on their non-high definition problem?

Their Engineer Gil Couch called me this afternoon and we had a nice conversation. They have had some problems but are working through them. I asked about the remapping to 45 and he said they are still playing with things and it is subject to change. Having gone through this, it isn't as easy as it looks. He is saying they have a receiver at the studio now and it is decoding both 29 and 33. I am still not decoding 33 at home or at the transmitter, but I think that is part of the things they are working though.

He said that network pass though would be the next thing they work on and I would suspect that might be 6 months to a year, it depends on when Sinclair does capital and what other capital needs they have. It all depends on how this recovery goes. This is not just a Sinclair thing, but the whole broadcast industry is going through the same thing. Stations are spending big bucks right now, when they should be saving money. It is a tough time right now in TV.

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By the way, what does PSIP mean?

PSIP - piece of shi....OH WAIT! Wrong acronym! (well closer to the truth actually!) Here is a blurb from the National Association of Broadcasters webpage on PSIP. After you read it you may begin to understand why some stations you get fine and others with super signals you get nothing:

"Program and System Information Protocol (PSIP) is data that is transmitted along with a station's DTV signal that tells DTV receivers important information about the station and what is being broadcast. The most important function of PSIP is to provide a method for DTV receivers to identify a DTV station and to determine how a receiver can tune to it. PSIP identifies both the DTV channel and the associated NTSC (analog) channel. It helps maintain the current channel branding because DTV receivers will electronically associate the two channels making it easy for viewers to tune to the DTV station even if they do not know the channel number.
In addition to identifying the channel number, PSIP tells the receiver whether multiple program channels are being broadcast and, if so, how to find them. It identifies whether the programs are closed captioned, conveys V-chip information, if data is associated with the program, and much more. If broadcasters do not include properly encoded PSIP data in their DTV signals, receivers may not correctly identify and tune to the station. Therefore, it is vital that all broadcasters understand PSIP and include the data in their DTV stations signals. PSIP is a mandatory Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) Standard."

That last part is SO IMPORTANT and from what I have been told, is about 90% of all DTV problems that are addressed right now. There is SO much data that has to be entered in CORRECTLY, or you get a BLANK SCREEN.

Stations who do not have guides are said to be using STATIC PSIP, about (70%) and those who do have guides are using DYNAMIC PSIP. Let me tell you, just getting STATIC PSIP going is bad enough and most are still wrestling with that before they get into the guide stuff. Now that is a dog! If one piece of data is not correct in the PSIP, it will cause some receivers to not decode, like the RCA DTC-100's or will have stations on the wrong virtual channels or will have the audios in the wrong place. The whole stream is one big multiplex fiesta of data and it all has to be mapped correctly or you will the picture of one stream and the audio of a different stream if you are not careful. It is probably a good thing that there are not many receivers out there, because station switchboards could take the load!

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post #34 of 11277 Old 05-23-2002, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the HEADS-UP on WDBJ - I got them at 88 on my RCA DTC100, which is also the same SS as WFMY; but I do have to rotate the antenna. WXLV runs at a 94.

WXII is not transmitting PSIP, thus my RCA does not recognize the signal.

Still, no WGHP Signal, but I am going to bump my antenna up a few feet; hopefully, that will clear some nearby trees. PLUS, add a Pre-Amp.
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post #35 of 11277 Old 06-02-2002, 07:13 PM
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Well FOX8 DTV 8-1 (ch 35) is off the air again. We lost another power supply when we took a power dump on Saturday, 6/1. We hope to have it back up middle of the week.

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post #36 of 11277 Old 06-06-2002, 03:20 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by foxeng
Well FOX8 DTV 8-1 (ch 35) is off the air again. We lost another power supply when we took a power dump on Saturday, 6/1. We hope to have it back up middle of the week.

Finally FOX8 8-1 (35 DT) is back on again after fighting a primary power supply and power supply chassis. At the rate we are going, we will have the whole transmitter changed out!

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post #37 of 11277 Old 06-20-2002, 01:54 PM
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Did everyone go away for the summer?

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post #38 of 11277 Old 06-20-2002, 02:01 PM
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I'm here waiting to read some new skinny on the local DTV scene, like somebody telling me when I'll be able to receive FOX-35 in Reidsville.
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post #39 of 11277 Old 06-20-2002, 07:22 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Neely
I'm here waiting to read some new skinny on the local DTV scene, like somebody telling me when I'll be able to receive FOX-35 in Reidsville.

I wish I could give you an answer, but it hasn't come down yet. Reidsville is right on the 41dbu line so depending on your location in Reidsville, antenna type and height, and the noise figure on your preamp and the overall selectivity of your OTA receiver, you might get FOX. The antenna is at 900 ft on the current tower. I don't think there is any beam tilt on it, but I might be wrong, I don't remember without looking at the specs sheet. If there is any, it isn't much and the main lobe shoots toward Greensboro with lobes out from Burlington to Winston-Salem. The full city grade 48bdu covers all of High Point, Greensboro, and a good portion of Winston-Salem. Not much toward the south or due east or west, but by law all we have to cover is city of license, which is High Point, but we were able to use some equipment already in place that made more sense to mount the system on the main tower and not on the much lower microwave tower in High Point which would have severely limited our coverage area as some other stations around the country have done.

Believe me, every station in this market is either running reduced power and/or reduced hours because of money. The stations not on the air yet, WTWB, WGPX and WLXI, will be either reduced power and/or reduced hours due to money.

Through various ways, we have identified only 7 viewers outside of the broadcasting industry who have any capability to receive OTA DTV signals. Compare that to the almost 1 million viewers in our market, and it is a no brainer why all the stations are doing what they are doing. The operational costs of a full power UHF DTV transmitter is 10 times more than a VHF analog transmitter running the same power or less. The UHF stations are already used to the high power bills from their analog stations, but even they are not running full power on DTV.

It will get better. The stations running reduced power will have to increase before 2006 or lose protection of their allocated coverages. I suspect most will be full power before then because they will phase in components over several years and not have to bite the bullet all at one time and if the receiver manufactures do what they say are gong to do, there will be a lot of receivers out and that will make it financially worth while for stations to stay on longer. If you look at the history of TV, most stations came on at night and it was in the late 80's or 90's before just about all of the TV's went 24 hours. The average cost to get a bare bones, ie upconverted DTV signal at full power on the air is over $2.5 million. Most stations pay more than that and if they have to build a new tower, you can double that price. Everything in TV is expensive.

I understand your frustration. I too feel it. It was somewhat of a let down to find out that we would not be full power or be able to pass through more than 480I to start with, but to be totally honest with you, it is probably the best thing because this is totally new ground and new things are being found everyday. I was interviewed a few years ago by the N&R about DTV and was I looking forward to be the first on air. I said "NO! NO WAY! Let the other guys forge the trail and I will learn from their mistakes." I still think that is the best way to do it because right now we have a glitch in the encoder that is taking a software upgrade to fix and it has been over 6 years since DTV was unveiled and they still are working on it. I was at a DTV seminar 3 years ago and one of the channel 2 engineers who is a friend of mine was there and we talked about all the changes we had to go through to get DTV up and we decided that AM radio was the way to go! The public has no idea what it takes to make a 1 and 0 fly through the air. I have told several people this and I believe it more everyday, I knew I didn't know much about DTV when I started. Now that I am doing it, I know I know NOTHING about it.

Hang in there, life does get better. In 6 months, it will be interesting to see what has changed. It may surprise you. I know it will me!

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post #40 of 11277 Old 06-21-2002, 06:33 PM
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"Through various ways, we have identified only 7 viewers outside of the broadcasting industry who have any capability to receive OTA DTV signals. Compare that to the almost 1 million viewers in our market, and it is a no brainer why all the stations are doing what they are doing."

I have stared at these words to try to figure out what you mean. You can't mean that there are only 7 people in the Triad who can pick up high def signals with an antenna. Many subscribers to Dish Network and Direct TV have that capability if they purchase an inexpensive antenna (and have the right receiver). With a visit to Radio Shack and an outlay of $17, I'm able to get high def in Winston-Salem from WXII and WFMY. Admittedly, I can't get high def from WGHP, both because FOX refuses to air high def to start with, and because your signal is so weak that it doesn't register at all. It should come as no surprise that people aren't rushing out to get antennas, when they can't even receive a High Point station in Winston-Salem. That reads more antagonistic than I mean it to, but I don't understand why you blame people for not buying something you're not selling.
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post #41 of 11277 Old 06-21-2002, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't think that there are THAT many folks on DIRECTV or DISH that have gone out and spent an additional $500 more for the HD model satellite receivers.

Remember that to get the HD Satellite Signal and optionally the OTA (Over The Air) Digital Signals, you need that extra equipment.

I agree with FOXENG that there only a few NON-broadcasters picking up the digital signals. Even in Raleigh, which has been broadcasting in HD/SD for almost EIGHT years, they have counted their viewers on a few fingers until Time Warner Cable starting carrying their signal. Even now, there are fewer than 2,000 people in the market that are equipped to watch WRAL-HD. (It requires a special cable box.)

It will take some time for the general public to adopt digital television AND you are right that if the networks don't offer programming, they will not be viewers. CHICKEN and the EGG!

I personnally never felt the urge to watch most television in High Definition. Most programming does not do the format justice - Jerry Springer and all sitcoms come to mind. Movies, Sports are a much better use - unfortunately there is just not enough of it available on regular TV.
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post #42 of 11277 Old 06-22-2002, 07:35 AM
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[i] ... but I don't understand why you blame people for not buying something you're not selling. [/b]

I am not blaming anyone, that is the point. It is CHICKEN AND THE EGG. Has been from the start.

The real problem is there is no business model for DTV, and until there is, DTV is going to flounder around with this chicken and the egg. It is a government mandate to the broadcasters, plain and simple.

Let me state fact here that I don't like either, but it is the truth. CEA (Consumer Electronics Assoc) admits that since 1998, there has been only 2.5 million capable HD sets sold in the US and only 500,000 of those can actually receive OTA or via sat digital programming. For the whole USA! As I stated before, we have 1 million viewers in this area alone. How do the numbers stack up for stations/networks/programmers anywhere to spend money like it takes to provide HD programming (twice to three times as much verses analog) to 500,000 nationwide sets verses the 330 million nationwide non HD sets with the FCC's "open marketplace" policy. Either stations start charging for HD material to support the high cost verses low viewership (how much would you be willing to pay for HD programming? HHHHMM sounds like PBS ) or do it the way it is being done.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news put creating DTV was not for the public to have better technical TV standards, but a way to help pay down the national debt by auctioning off unused TV channels. How do you do that? By creating a new television service and squeezing them into a small space. Take old unused TV channels and sell them to the highest bidder. The auctions have already started even though stations (analog and DTV) are still on the air on those channels 52-69. That is why broadcasters have had to do this now and no other related service has even been touched. So there has been no real desire on the part of ANYONE (cable, networks, program distribution, manufactures, etc) to do it, hence, chicken and the egg.

Now, would the US have gone to DTV? ABSOLUTELY! The industry had been moving slowly in that direction for sometime, but not on this break neck speed. (Have you heard of digital radio? Not XM, but digital AM and FM? It is right around corner and you better hope the FCC doesn't force you to buy new radios like DTV) In 1996, when DTV officially started, most of the technology was vaporware and even today, there are standards that are still being worked out, like closed captioning. There is NO closed captioning standard, even though DTV stations are required to transmit closed captioning starting first of the month! There are 4 protocols now, and all receivers have to all four until a standard is devised. It is like all receivers have to have all 18 digital formats, even though only 3 are used. This is called "Marketplace" regulation, let the market place decide. Let the marketplace pay the cost is what it is.

Television is fairly labor intensive. Equipment is fairly expensive since it is a highly specialized service with VERY limited customers, less than 2000 stations in the US.

Commercial TV stations are businesses first, we get NO government subsidy, (unlike the PBS stations). But I like getting a paycheck every week too, so in order to do that, things have to be budgeted out and this short window for DTV is not really long enough to do it right, and we are seeing that now. As I said in my last post, it takes millions of dollars to just do the transmitter for DTV and at least the same amount to convert studios. Let's say you had that kind of money for capital lying around, delivery is another matter. You can have all the money in the world, but if you can't get delivery, that money doesn't do much good. There are basically 4 transmitter manufactures, 3 antenna manufactures, 3 tower manufactures, 2 microwave radio manufactures, and only about 15 tower companies that can handle this type of work and you see, money is not the only problem. These manufacturers are normally geared up to sell to about 10% of the broadcasters at any one time. You now have over 70% knocking on their doors now. (What is going to happen to them when the rush is over and NO ONE needs transmitters anymore because everyone has a new one?) Normal turnaround for a transmitter is 30 to 60 days, last time I talked to a manufacturer, last month, it was 6 months and that was with production pumped up expecting this load. It is estimated that at least 40% of all stations will need new towers installed. It takes about 4 to 6 months to fabricate a 1300 ft plus tower, and 3 to 6 months to install same said tower once it arrives, just ask Dubbadon. It took him over a year once his 2000 ft tower was delivered! Channel 2 was at low power for over a month while they were installing new antennas on their 2000 tower.

Europe started their transition to DTV in the early 90's and they still aren't there yet and will not be till 2010, and the US market is expected to be completed by 2006. Our market is much much larger than theirs, what makes ours different?

These are just some of the problems every TV station has to deal with to just get on the air. Are some stations trying to take the easy way out, I am sure of it. Just look at the list of stations the FCC has denied extensions to. I have read the reasoning for some of them and it is laughable.

No, we are not at full power yet, but each day we get one step closer, but at least we are on the air in digital. I am truly sorry our signal does not make it to you, but soon it will. We are pretty lucky in this market that we have as many digital stations on as we do even though not all are 24/7. There are some markets that do not have the first DTV station on yet.

As I stated before, it is all still new and we as broadcasters are learning. It is a whole new way of doing business for us and we are trying to make it work as best we can. Until we get some help from the FCC requiring DTV tuners in sets like they did with UHF tuners in the 50's, receiver manufacturers, and programmers, DTV life is going to be hard for everyone.

DTV is something I work on everyday, even though we have a signal on the air. I check several boards a day reading what others are saying and reading what other stations are doing, and that is why I have decided to participate in this forum, to help our viewers understand why we are doing what we are doing and to gain insight into what you expect. I have no power to make any changes, but I can send up the ladder what I see and what I hear, and I do.

I know this all sounds like I am against DTV, but I am not, I am a big supporter of it. I see it from both sides so I am tempered in my expectations. I am also a realist, and since I make my living at this, I want to be sure we have a product that will continue to allow me to make my living this way. No DTV station in this country is paying its way, none, not even WRAL in Raleigh, the first and biggest proponent of DTV. Until that happens, most stations will continue on the path they are on.

If you wish to speak to me personally, feel free to call me at work M-F 9-5 at 821-1144, that is my desk number and if you call, I will be happy to talk to you about DTV in general or WGHP-DT in particular. You can also email me at clayno@wghp.com.

Right now we are all on different pages, but the book is shrinking, thank God!

Charles Layno
Transmitter Supervisor
FOX8 WGHP/WGHP-DT

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post #43 of 11277 Old 06-22-2002, 02:04 PM
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I would like to state for the record that I happen to agree with much of the above post save a few points.

The "reason" for going digital: For the government to auction off spectrum to pay down the national debt unfortunately is not the entire story. Actually this is a recent byproduct of the enormous growth in the wireless industry in the past few years. The value of this spectrum wasn't much of a factor when all of this HDTV talk began in the early 80's. The idea was to deliver a High Definition picture(YES HD!) to the public. Japan proposed their analog NHK system but it was rejected primarily due to the fear that Japanese manufacturers would have an enormous advantage over the US manufacturers,(ironic that none exist today anyway). DTV was seen as a way to make everybody happy. TV manufacturers, broadcasters,(split up channels, better picture to compete against cable), the government getting back their analog spectrum, and even the public.

Unfortunately nobody was able to forsee that TV has become much more complicated especially with the growth of satellite and cable making such a large number of channels available to the public. Network tv has seen a steady erosion of market share over the last several years. DTV of course is not to blame, but it could save them. The main thing that the government must do is to force the content providers and manufacturers to deliver "cheap" settop boxes to the public that will allow them to use their current tv's whenever analog is turned off. This was actually a major point when these issues were discussed over ten years ago. Tuners in sets would help but only those that buy them. What is the average # of tv's in a US household. I bet at least 3.

How to solve this? If you allow the market to solve it would take longer, result in some business failures, but we would probably have a better system in the long run. Can we wait for this? Should the gov't step in and force DTV to happen? The history of government intervention is pretty much mixed. Usually good comes out of it but maybe not the best possible outcome. Who knows.

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post #44 of 11277 Old 06-22-2002, 03:49 PM
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zmeister is basically correct as for the origination of DTV, unfortunately, since about 1994, budget reduction has driven this boat and not technology, or public desire. Congress' original plan for digital television was HD only and as late as 1999 restated it in committee with the heads of the major networks in attendance where the broadcast TV industry was read the riot act on even thinking of using the public airwaves for anything BUT HD ONLY. In 2000, that perception changed with the ushering in of a Republican White House and hence a Republican majority FCC. Chairman Powell looked at the whole DTV situation and has, IMHO, called it like it is, a mess that has gotten off track for many reasons, one being no business model (IE HD for HD sake). The HD only talk has subsided, and with the modification of certain rules, the current FCC is trying to get DTV moving again, hence reasons for stations to spend the money, IE more multi streaming with better compression schemes as well as wireless Internet, etc. Problem with wireless Internet is you start getting into common carrier issues and those people do not want the pie split any more than what it is. Broadcasters make it tougher for them and the common carriers have lobbies too....

If you read the text of the November 2001 Memorandum of Report and Order on DTV, it is clear that the FCC sees that holding a gun to the head of broadcasters hasn't worked, and if DTV is to get back on track, certain rules would have to be relaxed while maintaining the milestone deadlines, IE May 1, 2002, May 1 2006, etc. Allowing stations to come on at reduced power and reduced hours allows stations to provide digital service without a crippling financial burden, thus providing more service to the public, "in the public interest" and giving broadcasters a reason to start and help break the chicken and the egg syndrome. (low 100,000's instead of several million for installation and lower operating costs with few viewers until more receivers come on line) It came too late for many broadcasters to take advantage of (November 2001 to May 2002), but it also cuts both ways. Broadcasters now have no real reason to not have a signal on the air, again the large number of denials of extensions. Most extensions I have read have dealt with delivery problems and the FCC has been accommodating to those stations who have shown they are trying. Those with no real reason have gotten their hands slapped, as it should be. Remember, no where in the rules does it say a station HAS to proved HD programming or to serve any area more than their city of license. Most markets are larger than one central area and it is to the broadcasters best interest to serve an area as large as possible, hence the current reduced power rule where stations that come on at reduced power, have until 2006 to increase or loose protection for the full allowed coverage area. This also means that the valuation of a station will drop (after 2006) if their DTV coverage area is reduced because of a station NOT building out to the full power allocated. Reason being, since as far as the FCC is concerned analog doesn't exist anymore and the FCC is not issuing any new analog stations that were not in the pipe before November 1999, if I remember the date correctly.

So the moral of the story is, for the next 4 years life may be tough, but after that, you have to put up or shut up as far as a broadcast station is concerned because the value of a station will start to count for your digital coverage and not your analog coverage, whether or not you viewing audience is mostly analog or digital. Now that is powerful incentive beyond the rules. It will be interesting to see how many stations go dark. There will be some, that is a guarantee. Hopefully none around here.

Now, on a more happy note, is there any interest in starting a DTV users group in the Triad? I would be up for such a thing. I do not have a space to host it, but maybe start out at a restaurant?

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post #45 of 11277 Old 06-22-2002, 04:18 PM
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I am sympathetic to business concerns (I'm an executive with a public company), but I do have a few comments:

I am very surprised to read that the government got involved as part of a debt-reduction program. If the government was motivated by a desire to reduce the national debt, it should have sold the space in the digital spectrum--as some advocated at the time--instead of giving it, for free, to the existing broadcasters.

Some stations went digital early, and major market stations were required to two years ago. Most stations elected to put off the expenditure as long as possible by waiting until the legal deadline. When you made that decision, you must have known that demand would be greatest then and supply would likely be short. You made your choice.

I'm not surprised that WRAL Digital is not profitable, assuming they amortize the cost of their equipment. I suspect, though, that they made a far larger investment in digital than most stations, including WGHP have, so that may not be a good yardstick. They presumably expect it to pay off eventually.

It's interesting that a broadcaster would bemoan the government's requirement that stations go digital but advocate requiring the set manufacturers to build in tuners. That would help, presumably, but I doubt it would solve the problem, given the statistics you site about people buying digital tuners. Why would only 20% of buyers of digital-capable sets buy high def tuners? Probably because they would have nothing in high def to watch. The networks, other than FOX, have done their part. ABC and CBS have a fair part of the prime time schedules in high def, and NBC, which has trailed far behind, is rumored to be preparing to put half its schedule in HD in the Fall, in addition to its nightly airing of Jay Leno is stunning HD video. HBO and Showtime both offer HD channels. Many people can't see high def, though, because cable systems, most of which have monopolies in the markets in which they operate, have been slow to offer HD, and because many local stations, which use the public airways for free, have done as little as the law required and done it as late as the law permitted. Most members of the public will not invest in high def equipment until they have something to watch. That's why, if we were ever to have high def, the government had to require stations to go digital. (Unfortunately, the operative word there, as far as FOX is concerned is "digital," so WGHP is forced to spend a lot of money with no prospect that it will even have high def programming.)

Those of us who watch high def know that many people would spend the money to get it if they knew what they were missing and programming were available. The only way to make that happen is force stations to spend a lot of money to go digital. You say the government doesn't give you a subsidy, but it really does. It gives you space on the airwaves and charges you nothing. If you want the space (and if you don't, others would be happy to take it), you have to follow the rules.
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post #46 of 11277 Old 06-22-2002, 05:52 PM
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Originally posted by compson
If the government was motivated by a desire to reduce the national debt, it should have sold the space in the digital spectrum--as some advocated at the time--instead of giving it, for free, to the existing broadcasters.

That was the first thought. But when the transition to digital is complete, stations will only have one channel and it was decided that it would be unfair to the public to abruptly stop analog when a station went on with digital so broadcasters are allowed to operate two channels in the interim for "free".


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Some stations went digital early, and major market stations were required to two years ago. Most stations elected to put off the expenditure as long as possible by waiting until the legal deadline. When you made that decision, you must have known that demand would be greatest then and supply would likely be short. You made your choice.


FOX Television Stations, Inc, the station owner division of News Corp (which also owns WGHP) was the ONLY network owner to make the first deadline of November 1999 for their owned and operated stations in the top 30 markets. That was 14 stations if I remember the number correctly. ABC didn't make it, CBS didn't make it, NBC didn't make it.

And FOX also made the latest deadline of May 1st for all owned and operated stations to be transmitting a digital signal, that is 33 stations total and all are operating within the rules. Hearst-Argyle, the owner of channel 12 didn't have all their stations make that date (as a matter of act, they had at least one station's extension denied last week), Gannett, who owns channel 2 didn't have all their stations on air as best I can tell, either. (someone correct me if I am wrong on that one.)

Now the reason FOX network only sends 480P is anyone's guess. It has never been told, to me anyway, other than that was the decision made by corporate in LA. I would think that will change before long (at least I hope so!).

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I'm not surprised that WRAL Digital is not profitable, assuming they amortize the cost of their equipment. I suspect, though, that they made a far larger investment in digital than most stations, including WGHP have, so that may not be a good yardstick. They presumably expect it to pay off eventually.

It is prestige at WRAL. Capital Broadcasting, the owner of WRAL, doesn't own 33 stations either and the station they own in Wilmington is reported to be SD only.

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It's interesting that a broadcaster would bemoan the government's requirement that stations go digital but advocate requiring the set manufacturers to build in tuners. That would help, presumably, but I doubt it would solve the problem, given the statistics you site about people buying digital tuners. Why would only 20% of buyers of digital-capable sets buy high def tuners? Probably because they would have nothing in high def to watch. ...

In the early 50's UHF stations were going on the air in droves because they saw how much money the VHF stations were making. But there were few if any UHF tuners available so a large majority of those stations were gone within 2 to 5 years. Receiver manufacturers were not required to have UHF tuners and most didn't because of the cost to the receivers. Here you have a service that people WANTED, entrepreneurs were spending money to put these stations on the air, only to lose their shirts in markets that had VHF stations. The government had no choice but to step in to save those stations. People were not buying the add on tuners, because they had no reason to spend more money if there were VHF stations on the air. UHF didn't start paying for itself until the 60's and early 70's in markets that had VHF stations and UHF tuners were required in 1955, if I remember my history correctly. (may have been '53, I am not sure) because it took that long to phase out the old 50's TVs. Now to add DTV to analog TVs wouldn't drive up the cost but $25 on most sets (a few new chips at most). It wouldn't be HD, but it would receive the digital channels and that is all the FCC really cares about at this point. I really have no idea why receiver manufactures do not do that. They say there is no programming so why do it. (Chicken and the egg)

Had a comprehensive transitional plan for terrestrial DTV been devised by the FCC when DTV was authorized in 1996, other than to say broadcasters will go digital, we would not be having this conversation now. You are correct, cable has no real impetus to go digital in a true sense, programmers have no real impetus to produce in large scale HD programs, and the networks have no real impetus to force producers to provide HD programs. Had a timetable for all parties involved been drawn up at the beginning, digital would be years further down the road than it is now.

In April, FCC Chairman Powell dropped BIG hints that if the ancillary services to broadcasters, cable, networks, program distributors, and manufacturers didn't get things going by the end of the year, that legislation wouldn't be far behind. We shall see.

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Those of us who watch high def know that many people would spend the money to get it if they knew what they were missing and programming were available. The only way to make that happen is force stations to spend a lot of money to go digital. You say the government doesn't give you a subsidy, but it really does. It gives you space on the airwaves and charges you nothing. If you want the space (and if you don't, others would be happy to take it), you have to follow the rules.

I respectfully disagree with you on this point. Surveys show that as long as the price of HD monitors stay in the thousands, analog TV is just fine to 80% of the people surveyed. When Wal-Mart starts to sell DTV's for hundreds of dollars, then you will see DTV take off and not before.

I say DTV and not HD because HD is a small part of what DTV is all about. You can have analog HD (why would you? but you could, the Japanese did), you can have SD digital (well you knew that one! ) you can have varying formats (18 in all), you can have multiple streams and all at different formats, you can do wireless Internet, you can do stock tickers, you can do wireless cable, you can do pay-per-view, paging, the list goes on. To call it HD is really a disservice to it.

Thanks for the comments. I really appreciate you bringing up the points. Most people don't know the behind the scenes stuff and I think it is important for the full story, good and bad to get out.

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post #47 of 11277 Old 06-23-2002, 08:16 AM
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I'm fortunate (and in debt) to have a FP that can display a HD picture. The last 2 years, I have had Super Bowl parties and my guests did notice a difference in picture between CBS's 1080i and FOX's 480P. The sale of DTV sets are increasing and one of the reasons for this IS the promise of HD pictures. I believe that Mitsu doesn't even make an analog TV anymore.

DVD viewing and the promise of watching an HD sporting event are driving the sale of these sets. I have to agree that HD doesn't need to be something a station would have to all the time. Maybe only during primetime and weekend afternnoons and evening. Or maybe for national sporting events and movies.

You know what would be interesting would be if the FCC passed a NO carry rule. That satellite and cable companies could only deliver a locals channel if the signal was digital and delivered that way. No analog signal could be shown at all. Would people drop cable because they could no longer get their locals? How much money would cable companies lose since their packages all include the basic cable price that everyone has to pay but not necessarily watch?Would this make them upgrade their systems to deliver HD? How many stations would ramp up to digital to get back on a cable system they were bumped off of?

I have enjoyed what little HD programming available for over 2 years now.
I just don't want it taken away from me.

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post #48 of 11277 Old 06-23-2002, 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by zmeister
DVD viewing and the promise of watching an HD sporting event are driving the sale of these sets. I have to agree that HD doesn't need to be something a station would have to all the time. Maybe only during primetime and weekend afternnoons and evening. Or maybe for national sporting events and movies.

The light bulb has come on!

You are absolutely right in your assumption that HD is not needed all the time. How much Jerry Springer in HD can you take? Do you really want to see a car crash on I-40 in HD on a local newscast? HD all the time becomes boring. You begin to do HD for the sake of HD. You burn it out. The vivid crimson color of the blood and the sun sparkling in the crumpled cars are too much for some people and it could be called exhibitionism for ratings as well by others. I have to really ask if having every prime time show in HD is really necessary. It is a neat marketing trick now, but how about in 20 years? I would prefer 16:9 480P over 1080I on many things I see on TV. Movies, sports, space launches, yes, HD; local police news conference, no. Weather graphics, no (16:9 yes). To me, the audio is more important than the picture resolution. Don't get me wrong, picture is important, but the sound sets up the whole experience. Put in your favorite horror movie and run it at the highest picture res you can, but turn the sound down. BORING. No suspense, no drama, no anxiety. 5.1 is the real star in DTV, but it is an unsung hero. Pretty pictures always get the press, but without the sound, you might as well be watching Charlie Chaplin movies with NO piano soundtrack and NO dialog cards. (and I like Charlie Chaplin!) You don't know what is going on. So HD isn't the answer all. Get better programming and use HD to enhance THAT programming, not the other way around as is being preached now.

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You know what would be interesting would be if the FCC passed a NO carry rule. That satellite and cable companies could only deliver a locals channel if the signal was digital and delivered that way. No analog signal could be shown at all. Would people drop cable because they could no longer get their locals? How much money would cable companies lose since their packages all include the basic cable price that everyone has to pay but not necessarily watch?Would this make them upgrade their systems to deliver HD? How many stations would ramp up to digital to get back on a cable system they were bumped off of?

Hey! Nice idea! I like it! Stations would be going like crazy, but you are now talking about shifting the emphasis from the analog signal, that even the FCC has admitted will be the money maker for stations for a while to come in the future, to the digital signal. But wait! You would have to LEGISLATE cable companies to do that, and their lobby wouldn't like it because they are being told they CANNOT carry something! It doesn't matter what the legislative purpose is, someone will not like it because they are being told by Big Brother they have to conform to something. Hey, it is stupid, but you got the lobbyist on retainer, got to get you monies worth...

Quote:



I have enjoyed what little HD programming available for over 2 years now.
I just don't want it taken away from me.

I don't want to take it away from you, I want to give you MORE, but I want to be sure it is worth your time to watch! HD for the sake of HD will not carry this forward. That is why stations need help from all sectors to make this a success. Do you remember FM quad? Great idea, no one supported it, it died. AM Stereo? Now that was technology that would have revolutionized AM. I had one and you never heard AM sound so great! It really rivaled FM on music. Even AM mono. Died. I don't know if you can even buy an AM Stereo radio these days, even though the FCC has mandated that the new AM stations between 1600 and 1700 have to transmit in AM Stereo. Technology can only drive so far.

All I am saying is let's use the technology correctly and not prop up a whole service on one piece of it. It all has its time and place, we just ain't there yet.

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post #49 of 11277 Old 06-23-2002, 01:20 PM
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Just some thoughts of mine -

DTV all the time - YES. HDTV - where appropriate. There are even times when I can see multicasting as being appropriate. Prime Time, movies, sports- put in HDTV. Ordinary syndicated (jerry Springer, etc.), probably not. I could certainly support this use. I want DTV as much as anyone, but I don't want the broadcasters going bankrupt doing it either - that does nobody any good. SOme pressure needs to be put on the cable industry to start carrying the DTV from the broadcasters.

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post #50 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 08:06 AM
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hello,

I hire Carolina Communications in the Triad (Best Buy use them also) to install an antenna. They are very nice and helpful. And they recommend an Omini multidirectional antenna installed inside the attic. My TV is a Sony widescreen XBR with HDTV decoder build-in.

It's been a week now. I couldn't get much out of it so far.


WUPN (UPN) 33.1 - work on the first two days a week ago. Now it is gone.

WXLV (ABC) 29 - unable to get their signal.

sometimes I get message to tell me the channel is move to 33, and when I switch to 33, it told me it has move to 29.


WFMY (CBS) 2.1 - the best out of the whole lot, but signal coming in and out frequently. Looking at the signal strength, I get good signal. Then it drop two bars, it become blocky, drop another bar. The screen went blank.

WGHP (FOX) 8.1 - signal coming in and out heavely, also showing up at another channel, number skip my mind

WXII (NBC) - unable to get their signal

Any suggestions to fix this? Is this at my end? or the stations?


If an antenna inside the attic will never work.....

My home owner association told me I can't install any antenna on the roof, period. I know the FFC will say different. That's why when Carolina Cmmunication told me an antenna inside the attic should work, I went for it and order the installation.

Is there any website on the net show step by step guide to fight for our rights in easy to understand terms?

Thanks for any advice.

-Talos
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post #51 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 08:29 AM
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Start Here - http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html - and tell your HOA to pound sand. I'd suggest printing off a copy of this document and giving it to them at the next board meeting along with a suggestion that they DROP the NO TV ANTENNAS rule from the HOA agreements/rules. If they wish to fight it - it's up to the HOA to prove to the FCC that their rules conform - and you can keep your antenna up until that time.

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post #52 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 10:23 AM
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Originally posted by talosman
hello,

I hire Carolina Communications in the Triad (Best Buy use them also) to install an antenna. They are very nice and helpful. And they recommend an Omini multidirectional antenna installed inside the attic. My TV is a Sony widescreen XBR with HDTV decoder build-in.

It's been a week now. I couldn't get much out of it so far.

Thanks for any advice.

-Talos

Where are you located? That will have more to do than whether you have an attic or not, but certainly if you can get it outside, DO IT! Use that FCC address and the documentation it has will be a huge help for you.

Channel 2 is only when CBS provides HD and from 8pm to 11:30pm, channel 12 is on from 4pm to 4am when NBC stops HD, channel 8, 45 and 48 are on 24/7, but channel 8 is at a very low power level and 45 and 48 also operate at reduced powers. The last week or so, 45 and 48, (owned by the same people) have been doing work on their PSIP information data and 48 is not correct. All I get is there number 2 HD stream which has colors bars only on it (48-2). That maybe part of your problem. You might need to re-memorize you channels to get that straightened out.

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post #53 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 10:55 AM
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thanks for fast response. Didn't expect that. Such a small market right now.

I got that page at FCC before, i was trying alternative options before I try put that in their face.

I am living at Adams Farm, near Wendover/40/ guildford college road, Circuit City, etc.

Carolina Communications try came out again to tune it by rotating the antenna. Didn't get any better at all.

CBS still in and out, in and out. I am aware NBC are boardcasting in half power.

What should I do next? get a different mutlidirection antenna?

Maybe someone should start a website with resource on just North Carolina. Hard to find these info. Took me a long time before I found this message board.

- Talos
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post #54 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 11:10 AM
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Originally posted by talosman
Carolina Communications try came out again to tune it by rotating the antenna. Didn't get any better at all.

CBS still in and out, in and out. I am aware NBC are boardcasting in half power.

What should I do next? get a different mutlidirection antenna?

Maybe someone should start a website with resource on just North Carolina. Hard to find these info. Took me a long time before I found this message board.

- Talos

You didn't say if a pre-amp was installed or not. If not, that would be the next step to go to. If not, then outside is your only hope.

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post #55 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by talosman

What should I do next? get a different mutlidirection antenna?
- Talos

Well acutally, if the pre-amp doesn't work you only need two directions. NW to Sauratown Mt for channel 12 (33-1) and channel 26 (32-1) and south for channel 2 (51-1), channel 8 (35-1), channel 20 (19-1 soon), channel 45 (29-1) and channel 48 (33-1). The southern stations are all along US 220 south down from Level Cross to Randleman. I am using a Channel Master 4228 antenna mounted on 15 ft pole leaned up against my deck with a Radio Shack 20 dB pre-amp running 100ft of losy RG-59 cable on the north side of Greensboro and I get all the locals plus channel 7 (18-1) out of Roanoke, channel 5 (53-1) Raleigh, channel 11 (52-1) Durham, and channel 50 (49-1) Raleigh off this setup. Not bad for temporary setup.

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post #56 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 11:59 AM
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That's pretty impressive, especially considering how Radio Shack amps don't have the best reputation. Personally, I would get a ChannelMaster or Wingard pre-amp over the RS ones, but you can't argue with success.

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post #57 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 12:15 PM
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Originally posted by Scooper
That's pretty impressive, especially considering how Radio Shack amps don't have the best reputation.

Yeah, surprised me to, but the purpose was to build as crappy a system as I could, (yeah, the CM antenna is a good antenna!) to see what it would take to receiver our reduced power signal. I do want to get a CM 7778 (I think that is the number) and mount the antenna on the roof with a rotor and change the feed line to RG-6 to the length I need and not have all the waste I have now. I think some of it has to do with the Samsung SIR-T150. That is a sweet box!

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post #58 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 12:31 PM
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I need a DTV tuner SO BAD (even if I DON'T have a display yet), but I can't talk the wife into it yet. 24/7 DTV from all the Raleigh stations would help, for sure. I'm set for antenna/preamp - CM3614 VHF, CM3021 UHF with Wingard 30dB preAmp, but due to all the trees I have some difficulties with UHF analog. Probably the only way to cure that would be to put the 3021 up at the top of one of the tallest trees.

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post #59 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 02:00 PM
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Foxeng:
First sorry for the delay in my reply, I had a problem getting back on yesterday!

I have no problem with your station going the low power route at the present time. I'm sure that in time that 16x9 480P support will be forthcoming. However my concern is this: WILL YOUR STATION EVER HAVE HD CAPABILITY EVEN ON A PARTTIME BASIS? Since FOX network has pretty much said that 480P is all that is required, unless your station decides to do what FOX50 does then..... I'm not sure short of legislation what exactly will get FOX to change its mind! Maybe if the NFL mandated HD broadcast of its games with 5.1 might do the trick.

Also even though I hope you succeed in bringing me more HD, don't you think that maybe that I should decide what is worth watching in HD!

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post #60 of 11277 Old 06-24-2002, 03:12 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by zmeister
Foxeng:
First sorry for the delay in my reply, I had a problem getting back on yesterday!

I have no problem with your station going the low power route at the present time. I'm sure that in time that 16x9 480P support will be forthcoming. However my concern is this: WILL YOUR STATION EVER HAVE HD CAPABILITY EVEN ON A PARTTIME BASIS?

You have to remember that FOX network programming is only 2 hours a day. We have 22 more hours that have to be filled! I have no doubt that syndicators will start distributing their programs in true HD. When that happens, I am sure we will offer that. When that will happen is any one's guess. Network programs seem to be the first going in that direction. It may be several years before those shows go into syndication and I have heard of no current first run syndication programs going to HD.

As I said before, this is going to be a long term process.

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