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Local HDTV Info and Reception > Portland, OR - HDTV
mpenwell's Avatar mpenwell 12:48 PM 10-08-2002
After searching the forum... my receiver is a DTC100 HD Directv receiver.


BarryO's Avatar BarryO 12:51 PM 10-08-2002

Oh yea, I missed the reference to the F38310 in your earlier message.

Remember the reading is more a "signal quality" and a "signal strength" reading. A lower number does not necessarily mean a lower signal level. And if you're receiving a good picture, trying to get a higher reading won't make things any better.
mpenwell's Avatar mpenwell 01:14 PM 10-08-2002
Interesting... I didn't realize it was a "quaility" rather than "strength" reading. This being the case, what is meant by the "weak signal" message that displays when the reading drops below around 35-40? Does this mean that the signal is now of too low of a quality to display a picture?

I'm not quite understanding the difference between "signal quality" and "signal strength".

I don't seem to ever get a "poor" picture. I tend to either get a great picture or no picture at all. If I adjust the antenna to a position where my "signal quality" reading is above 50 then I seem to get a steady picture.

Maybe I am missing something very basic in my understanding of how this works. Is there a way to see how strong my signal is?

BarryO's Avatar BarryO 02:53 PM 10-08-2002
Originally posted by mpenwell
I don't seem to ever get a "poor" picture. I tend to either get a great picture or no picture at all. If I adjust the antenna to a position where my "signal quality" reading is above 50 then I seem to get a steady picture.

That's the way it works with digital. Either you get all the bits and the picture is great, or you don't get them. Sometimes, if you're on the "hairy edge", you'll get a picture with frequent pixelation and dropouts.

The signal meter measures received quality, i.e., how easy a time the receiver is having telling a 1 from a 0 in the received signal. For satellite reception, about the only thing that causes a low quality signal is low signal strength, so the vendors called this a "signal strength" meter. This term is also understood by non-technical consumers.

For OTA, the equipment manufacturers kept the same term, even though low signal level is only one thing that can cause a low signal quality. Bad multipath, i.e., reflections from surrounding objects of the type that causes ghosting on analog signals, is also a major cause of a low meter reading.

A TV signal level meter can measure signal level. TV antenna installers (good ones, anyway) have such equipment. In any case, I wouldn't signal level would be a problem in the West Hills, unless maybe we're talking about an indoor antenna in a basement.
R11's Avatar R11 04:14 PM 10-08-2002
Not sure how the levels would relate to the RCA, but on my Mits receiver I generally get fully pegged signal "levels" on all channels from where I'm located at the bottom of the West Slope area (mid sized outdoor antenna set up inside my attic).

Dave Waymire's Avatar Dave Waymire 10:46 PM 10-08-2002
My timing on the dropouts was identical to the rest of you guys. I'm in the Raleigh Hills area , using the Samsung SIRT150. On a side note, why doesn't KGW run its HD demo loop anymore? It got boring quick but it was great to show guests that were over what HD was all about.
Marissadad's Avatar Marissadad 10:04 AM 10-09-2002
I watched it last night off of a taped recording I made and my timings were the same as everyone else using a Dish 6000. I'm giving the timings to a buddy and he is going to watch the Dish broadcast of CSI:Miami on his PVR 501 and see if the blackouts on the Dish locals correspond to our freezeups.

I think they are related. Probably what is happening is there is a loss of signal for about 1/4-1/2 second causing the frozen picture then the receiver has to relock the signal, taking the 3-5 seconds that everyone is experiencing. Dish told me they are getting the digital feed from KOIN for their locals rebroadcast so the picture blips they are experiencing are probably the same thing.
mpenwell's Avatar mpenwell 10:10 AM 10-09-2002

Your explanation makes things much clearer. Thanks.

And yes I am not using anywhere near an ideal antenna setup. I am currently living in a rental house so I have not gone through the process of setting up an outdoor antenna and doing the necessary wiring. I am using a simple indoor antenna, but for the most part my reception works just fine.

Again, thanks for the additional information. Every bit of new information makes me feels like I actually starting to understand this stuff.

Lots of fun.
R11's Avatar R11 11:14 AM 10-09-2002
Marissadad, I'm kinda surprised Dish uses KOINs digital feed for their local source. D* uses the analog feed so I generally watch that for SD viewing of KOIN just because of the dropouts. I'd really rather watch the network upconverted feed KOIN is passing now for the far better picture, but the dropouts are just too much for me. I'll watch it for the HD shows but the upconverts just aren't enough better to make me put up with the blank screens .

Dave, The other day I flipped by KGW HD and the demo loop was on, but it was running in reverse at very high speed. I watched it for a couple minutes and it went through a number of the "pieces". It was kind of interesting as anytime there was movement in the picture whatever was moving would pixelate like crazy. It was actually pretty entertaining to see Joe Donlin and Tracy Barry's heads fuzz out as they moved them around while talking . So maybe their tape machine has konked out on them and that's why it's not up now? Also, during the prime time hours they are now passing the network upconverts when there is no HD available.

Marissadad's Avatar Marissadad 12:12 PM 10-09-2002
R11, the Dish feed of KOIN is actually pretty decent. I sent a PQ email to Dish about the blankouts and when they responded they said they were receiving the digital feed from KOIN. Maybe Lee can verify this for us. It seems too coincidental that the Dish feed blanks 5-6 times/hour and we experience freezes 5-6 times/hour. I'll report back what my buddy finds on his PVR blankouts.
R11's Avatar R11 01:19 PM 10-09-2002
Oh, I believe it. And it would make perfect sense as an explanation for both having the dropouts. I was just surprised to hear it is all. For this very reason. It would seem to me that with the instability of the digital systems many local broadcasters have in place at this point in time it wouldn't be the wisest choice. With all the pixelation, dropouts etc that many of the digital feeds contain I'd think they would be receiving too many subscriber complaints. Where the local broadcasters can get away with it because it's just "their digital channels that hardly anybody is watching anyway", the satellite companies wouldn't seem to have the same luxury. I'm glad D* isn't .
BarryO's Avatar BarryO 03:50 PM 10-09-2002
OTOH, before Dish switched to the digital feeds, you could see alot of analog impairments in their signal. I still watch KGW on Dish because I can't receive KGW-DT. KGW-analog on Dish had noticable herringbone interference, and some ghosting. This was noticable even through the very heavy compression that Dish uses. I'd rather have the digital feeds, even with occassional dropouts.

Regarding KOIN, I must say the PQ on the SD local news broadcasts are really outstanding (for Standard-Def, that is). The studio must be completely digital.

However, someone should tell Karen Adams how bad her makeup job looks on KOIN-DT. Last night at 11, both my wife and I said, "yikes, that lady's wearing waaay too much lipstick".

[fixed small typo]
Marissadad's Avatar Marissadad 04:17 PM 10-09-2002
Whatever happened to Kelly Day? I liked her, she was a FOX!

I wonder if Jeff G ever got a HD set so he can join the other "15" people in Portland that have an HD set.
R11's Avatar R11 04:42 PM 10-09-2002
The locals on D* seem to be pretty decent except for being very soft. But I do generally watch the DTV counterparts except for KOIN (an "occasional" dropout is OK with me too - 6-8 an hour a little too frustrating though) and Trailblazer games on KGW are almost worthless due to the heavy pixelation. Then of course there's the all too frequent lip sync probs (mostly on 8). But other than that it's great . Seriously though, I think DTV/ATSC will be a hands down, superior improvement over analog/NTSC as soon as the broadcasters invest in equipment that is up to the task.

So we ended up with Julie Emry over Kelly Day.... . Don't get me wrong, I went to school with Julie and she's a very nice person, but I've never understood the attraction of her as a newscaster. I thought Kelly was very good. Then again, I guess we are talking about the channel that fired good people for Jeff G.....

Andy64's Avatar Andy64 09:09 AM 10-10-2002
Anyone else watch Presidio Med on KOIN last night?

I didn't have any "freezes" at all!

Wonder if it was a fluke or a fix?

Also, anyone having problems with OPB's HD signal? My signal indicator only shows about 70 -75 and I get a lot of breakups. Usually unwatchable. Seems like it got worse when I installed a 4 bay bowtie pointed (I think) at KOIN's tower.
Marissadad's Avatar Marissadad 09:17 AM 10-10-2002
Andy, I set up my system last night during Presidio Med so I had my 501 in the PIP window with my 6000 on the main screen to see if I could coincide the freeze with the Dish black out and wouldn't you know it, no blips. I gave up after 40 minutes because I'm usually in bed by 10 pm. I'll try this again next chance I get with both machines not recording something.

In regards to OPB, they seem to go in spurts with their signal quality. I get a lot of breakups with OPB. My screen will garble and turn green, breakup then lock on. I get about the same strength you do in Keizer using a 121" Rat Shack combo UHF/VHF/FM mounted in the attic. Luckily when they aired Over Alaska I did not experience a single hickup.
KJD's Avatar KJD 01:10 PM 10-10-2002
I didn't change anything and I got no drops last night. I wonder if KOIN did something. Lee??
BarryO's Avatar BarryO 04:51 PM 10-10-2002
KOIN was solid for me last night as well.

BTW, is anyone else having trouble (still) with 49-1? Signal meter seems OK, but lots of breakups.
foelker's Avatar foelker 08:57 PM 10-10-2002
Where's Lee these days?
Marissadad's Avatar Marissadad 08:58 AM 10-11-2002
Who watched Survivor or CSI last night? I had to watch it delayed off my Dish 501 and I had a black out during Survivor at:

8:26 (2 right in a row)

I didn't watch the commercials so all of these were during the program.

On CSI I got one black out at 9:52. I want to see if these correspond with the 6000 freezing.

R11's Avatar R11 09:25 AM 10-11-2002
I watched both Survivor and CSI and although I wasn't really paying close attention or looking for them (and I nodded out for a while at the end of CSI), I didn't notice any dropouts. I did have to call the KGW studio to get them to flip the switch for the HD ER after CSI though. Maybe Lee has been experimenting with some things since we've been complaining here?

Larry Hutchinson's Avatar Larry Hutchinson 02:46 PM 10-11-2002
Didn't notice any dropouts during Survivor last night. This is with a DTC100.

As for Lee, he is still updating his news page,


so he is still around. I sent him a note several days ago informing him that there were several messages here that he might want to know about. Perhaps he is just busy.
Dave Waymire's Avatar Dave Waymire 09:00 PM 10-11-2002
Larry, could you double check this link? I got a "page not found" when I tried it. Thanks
Larry Hutchinson's Avatar Larry Hutchinson 09:36 AM 10-12-2002
The AVS forum software appears to have munged the link. I guess it doesn't like long lines.

To fix the link, remove the "%20" stuff near the start and the "
" near the end.
BarryO's Avatar BarryO 09:24 PM 10-13-2002
Originally posted by foelker
Where's Lee these days?

Hey, it's hunting season. 'maybe he's spending alot of time in the woods.
Glenn's Avatar Glenn 01:12 PM 10-14-2002
KOIN seems to have improved considerably for me over the last week. No major dropouts during the Prime time shows. Does everyone else see the improvement?
BarryO's Avatar BarryO 03:02 PM 10-14-2002
Yup, me too.
R11's Avatar R11 05:06 PM 10-14-2002
I'll find out tonight when I watch CSI.

*** Good news from Ed Williams regarding Fox Widescreen***

Ed just got back from vacation and responded to an email I had sent him a while ago asking about whether or not they were going to be doing the widescreen again. As was expected they have been very busy setting everything back up after the move. I asked if they might have it up by the time 24 starts it's new season at the end of the month. Here's the important part of his response:

"Most of the gear is in place to provide the 16:9 picture - we are dealing mostly with automation systemswitching software issues in getting it ready for air."

So, maybe we'll get lucky and they'll find time to get it dialed in soon. I'd like to check out Firefly in Widescreen too!

TMBUTCH's Avatar TMBUTCH 02:14 PM 10-18-2002
Howdy. I just ordered a Dish 6000 and install is set for next Friday. I still have to purchase an antenna for my OTA reception. I live in NE Portland near Rose City Golf Course (just outside the Hollywood District). Any suggestions for an economical antenna? Thanks.

PS -great thread!
BarryO's Avatar BarryO 03:17 PM 10-18-2002

Can you put the antenna where it can "see" the towers in the West Hills, or are you behind a hill somewhere?
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