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post #271 of 10685 Old 12-11-2002, 05:58 AM
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I noticed that KYW Director of Broadcast Operations & Engineering Jim Chase has posted elsewhere on this forum, so I thought I'd ask a couple of KYW-related questions in case he is monitoring this thread.

First, a comment. KYW's digital broadcast is superb! The network HDTV programming is first-rate, your signal is strong and clear (at least in my area), and all of the little technical details are very smooth and professional (e.g., the transitions from HD widescreen programming to "standard" commercials, the semi-transparent station logo, etc.). Congratulations on a job well done!

My first question is just a matter of technical curiosity. Your studios are in the Historic District of Center City Philadelphia, but your broadcast tower is miles away in the Northwest. What kind of connection do you make between your studios and broadcast facility to carry the large-bandwidth signal that distance? Did you have to install a special fiber-optic cable, or maybe is that kind of data now transmitted via microwave transmission or something? As I said, I was just curious. I've heard that some radio stations lease special phone lines to transfer signal from their studio to their broadcast location, but I would guess that is not enough bandwidth for your digital broadcast signal.

Second question: The local ABC affiliate seems to be the only Philly-area digital broadcast that includes Dolby Digital 5.0 audio signals (when available in the programming). Can you tell us when KYW will begin to broadcast DD 5.0 audio? Is it a matter of getting special equipment that you have not yet installed? If the money guys at KYW are telling you that no one in our region is interested in DD 5.0 audio yet, please tell them that the local digital viewership is growing rapidly, so it's time to bring the audio portion of the digital broadcast up to speed.

Third question: Without committing yourself to any specifics, can you give us a hint on when/whether your local news broadcasts and other local programming will be produced in HDTV? I am sure this requires a major capital investment and was just wondering if KWY is considering it, and when this might happen.

Fourth question: This is a network matter, so I know it's out of your jurisdiction, but why isn't "The Late Show with David Letterman" broadcast in HDTV by now? I can't get the WCAU signal yet, so I am spared the sight of Jay Leno's huge chin on my widescreen TV, but I would sure enjoy seeing Dave's toupee in digital splendor.

Fifth question: All of the local digital channels seem to be neglecting their PSIP data stream. The date/time information is pretty close to accurate for most local stations, but there is still some variation of as much as four minutes. In case you didn't know, some of the new digital TV tuners rely on the accuracy of this information for time-programmed recording. When a station's PSIP date/time info is off, then the timer in the set-top box is also thrown off and the recording will not be accurate. Also, none of the local stations bother to put any program information content in their PSIP signal yet. The next time you get together with all the other local TV engineering executives for poker, could you maybe mention this problem to them?

Last question: Have you ever dated Pat Ciarrocchi? (Nah, just kidding on that last one!)

Thanks for listening to questions from your local TV fans. We all appreciate the good work that you and your team at KYW do, day in and day out.
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post #272 of 10685 Old 12-11-2002, 07:20 AM
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I can answer the 5.1 question. That comes from CBS. They have not had the equipment necessary to send it out from the network in NY. The last I heard was that it should be installed in December. I am sure that KYW is fully capable of sending 5.1 out once it is available from the network in NY off the sat. I must say, the prologic they use now often sounds great and better than some of the 5.1 I have heard on ABC and PBS.
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post #273 of 10685 Old 12-11-2002, 07:54 AM
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Philly Tim, yes youre right about Everwood, I've seen it.. looks good. But I still stand with my comments about the other stations.. the digital stations look better because they use good scalers compared to what we use at home. Actually I just wish they would just transmit everything in widescreen, even if it is 480i up-converted material. The majority of HD adoptors have Rear Projection CRT 16x9 TV's that will burn in if you constantly watch with black bars. Yes, I use stretch modes and live with it, but true widescreen is much better (yes, if you have an LCD or DLP set no burn in worries.. but widescreen is just awesome). For example, nightly news broadcasts.. I see no reason why they don't transmit in widescreen.. (heck I can buy a $600 add on lens for my high end consumer Mini DV camcorder that would film in true anamorphic 16x9). With the TV stations pockets they can't spring for new lens's on their cameras, and for the SD transmission, they letter box it.. this way both sides the analog and digital broadcasts have the best of both worlds.

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post #274 of 10685 Old 12-11-2002, 09:37 AM
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X01E -

We had this discussion when WPHL 17 came up in HD. They were broadcasting a 16:9 signal that was stretched on the sides and cropped top and bottom.

The complaint from some of us (myself included) was that while most 16:9 TV's/projectors can be set to stretch and crop as they wish, it was impossible for those of us who preferred to see the whole picture to do so.

Of course, that takes care of the 4:3 material. Given the opportunity, I would prefer that everything be filmed/taped in 16:9 so that I can use the whole screen. Reality says that they'd get MANY more complaints from people with 4:3 sets who had to see it letterboxed.
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post #275 of 10685 Old 12-11-2002, 10:48 AM
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MSmith thanks for the info.. and yes unfortunately, I agree with your last statement. Heck, while I'm spending other people's money.. Let's have the stations buy 2 sets of cameras and film both formats at the same time.. Wishfull thinking..

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post #276 of 10685 Old 12-11-2002, 10:58 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by MSmith
X01E -

We had this discussion when WPHL 17 came up in HD. They were broadcasting a 16:9 signal that was stretched on the sides and cropped top and bottom.

The complaint from some of us (myself included) was that while most 16:9 TV's/projectors can be set to stretch and crop as they wish, it was impossible for those of us who preferred to see the whole picture to do so.

Of course, that takes care of the 4:3 material. Given the opportunity, I would prefer that everything be filmed/taped in 16:9 so that I can use the whole screen. Reality says that they'd get MANY more complaints from people with 4:3 sets who had to see it letterboxed.

But the best way to show 4:3 material on the digital channel is to NOT have the station transmit black side bars as part of the picture. That way, those of us with 16 x 9 sets can let the set-top box or the TV stretch it to fill the screen. PBS (WHYY) does this when they show non-HDTV programming. I don't understand why other stations don't do this.

Eric
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post #277 of 10685 Old 12-11-2002, 12:45 PM
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Caesar,

I agree completely.
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post #278 of 10685 Old 12-11-2002, 07:57 PM
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I believe the difference is that WHYY uses one set of equipment during the day to broadcast (simulcast) standard-definition digital signals, and another set of equipment to broadcast high-definition signals in the evening. Most digital tuners and HDTV sets currently on the market can change the aspect ratio of a program if it is standard-definition, but not when it is high-definition. I believe newer models may begin to have these advanced features soon.

For the other stations, they broadcast a high-definition signal at all times. Since a high-definition broadcast MUST be formatted for widescreen, the station must always do something to turn the 4:3 material into 16:9. The common solution is to send sidebars as part of the signal.

I don't really understand why there is this fundamental difference between the PBS affiliate and all the other stations. Why is it that WHYY can afford to have the equipment to broadcast 4:3 material properly, but the commercial stations have to process the signal to fit the one-size-fits-all widescreen format?

If I have any misinformation in the above statements, someone please correct me. I am still learning about digital TV broadcasts and I may have some things wrong.
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post #279 of 10685 Old 12-12-2002, 05:53 AM
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Last night, WCAU was a mess during Ed at 8pm. They showed a blank screen for the first few minutes, then some weird reverse-image with green borders, then a picture with lots of dropouts. It was virtually unwatchable.
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post #280 of 10685 Old 12-12-2002, 05:57 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by MSmith
Last night, WCAU was a mess during Ed at 8pm. They showed a blank screen for the first few minutes, then some weird reverse-image with green borders, then a picture with lots of dropouts. It was virtually unwatchable.

Sounds like you had better luck that I did. I was getting no signal at ALL (OK, I'm exaggerating; it was ~10%). Please NBC, move to the new tower SOON.
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post #281 of 10685 Old 12-12-2002, 06:36 AM
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Yep, same here... WCAU reception was just lousy. On another note, like many other's my 16x9 TV, does lock into FULL mode when it detects a 480P or above signal. However, my STB which is a Dish 6000 receiver, compensates for this with it's own stretch modes for HD sources. It has stretch, partial zoom, full zoom, and gray bars, and it doesn't matter if the broadcast is transmitting black bars or not. I actually found that the zoom mode doesn't degrade the PQ that much.

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post #282 of 10685 Old 12-12-2002, 07:16 AM
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Philly Tim
First, thanks for the positive comments. From our first venture into DTV in 1998 we have tried to make a professional presentation equal to our analog product even though there were very few viewers. From the beginning our DTV channel has been fully automated with full master control switching, HD satellite distribution, HD tape recorders, HD video file servers, and so on. Believe it or not, I just yesterday got a call from the sales department asking if we could air a Mitsubishi HD commercial. I hated to tell them I had been waiting four years for the call!!!!
I'll try to answer all your questions:

You are correct about the location of our studio at 5th and Market streets in Philadelphia. The transmitter is located in Roxborough. We use a 7ghz microwave STL to get the analog and digital signals to the respective transmitters. The 7ghz channel is 25 mhz wide and we put 2 separate signals in the channel, one analog and one digital. The analog signal is frequency modulated on a carrier located down 4.5mhz from the channel center. Included are 4 audio sub carriers. The digital signal is 8vsb modulated on a carrier located up 3.5mhz from the channel center. The ATSC encoder is located at the studio and the 19.2mb stream is sent by microwave to the transmitter.

JWhip correctly answered your question about the DD audio. The network does not have the routing equipment to distribute 5.1 channels of audio.

There is no plan to produce news programming in HD. We are about to replace all of our Panasonic DVC-PRO equipment and there have been no discussions about a move to 100mb DVC. In fact, we are not considering a move to 50mb DVC. We use 25mb equipment now and plan to continue in the future. As a side note here, and I know you are probably aren't interested in nasty old SD stuff, but, we have just converted to a new video file server for news playback. For news we shoot using 25mb DVC equipment. The digitally recorded tape is ingested at 4 times normal speed into a digital non linear editor. The video is edited and the final cut is FTP'd to a really big SGI video server. The server plays the edited clips to air. The video looks a million times better than the old Sony Beta tape editing stuff looked. Stays digital from lens to switcher, 25mb DVC compression all the way, no generation losses. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Letterman. I believe Letterman's new contract calls for HD when the equipment now in use must be replaced. Don't know a lot about this one.

I was not aware of the time accuracy issue until I read a thread here on the forum about a month ago. We do have NBS time in the building and are investigating ways to get into the PSIP computer. Getting the program information into the PSIP is something we have been working on for some time now. You have to keep in mind that in order to accomplish something like this it must be automated and require no human intervention. Adding a person to enter information into the PSIP computer is about as likely as a positive answer to your last question. We have been working on an interface between our automation system and the PSIP computer. We actually are quite a way down the road on this and might have something soon. All depends on other priorities.

No, I have never dated Pat, though I have known her for over 20 years. I did take an elevator ride with her once where she told me my cigar stunk and I told her hair looked like she stuck her fingers in a light socket. Does that count?
CUL Jim

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post #283 of 10685 Old 12-12-2002, 07:56 AM
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Jim:

Thanks a million for the very thorough reply. You're a class act all the way, and that is clearly reflected in the high quality of the KYW broadcasts.

I probably could not have detected the change from the Sony Beta tape system to your new digital video server. Until very recently, I've been watching TV on a 23-year-old Sony 19-incher that refused to give up the ghost. (I had a deal with my wife that we would wait until the old TV died before getting a new one -- as long as *I* get to pick out the new model!) Since I was watching KYW's analog broadcast signal on an older set with lots of multipath interference, it's a wonder I could even tell that Pat was a lady! Now I have a widescreen HDTV and a digital tuner, so I am in television heaven. Whenever I watch the KYW news, I'll now have a new appreciation for the infrastructure behind the pristine video.

Thanks again for all the interesting technical details, and I hope you will keep up posted on any interesting new developments as they occur.
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post #284 of 10685 Old 12-12-2002, 08:22 AM
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Jim, thanks for your participation here. It was interesting reading your comments. KYW's HD broadcast quality is consistently the best of all the Philly affiliates (for other networks). Would've been great to have DD5.1, but picture quality, programming & great reception more than make up for that.

HD Media Keen Videosaurus
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post #285 of 10685 Old 12-12-2002, 08:40 AM
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Jim, I work as an IT Manager, and love what I do. However, anytime you want to trade jobs let me know... He He... I would love to work with that equipment..

Save Your Frequent Flyer Miles !! Barber's jobs are also being exported to China, you will have to fly to China now for a hair cut.
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post #286 of 10685 Old 12-12-2002, 09:13 AM
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Jim,

Let me add my thanks for your involvement and wonderful, detailed explanation of how it works.

Planning on doing any tours?
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post #287 of 10685 Old 12-12-2002, 10:16 AM
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Hi Jim,

Thanks for the very informative answer above! It's great to see you here in the forum!

I believe that you are also in charge of Engineering at UPN57. Are there any plans for UPN to feed you HD any time soon? Also, I believe that UPN has some sort of HD movie package for some its affiliates. Will UPN57 receive this soon?

thanks,

Joe Cardani
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post #288 of 10685 Old 12-12-2002, 08:47 PM
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Jim,

Thanks for the best OTA HD picture. I live in Jersey and appreciate all the good work you do out there in Philly.

Franzius
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post #289 of 10685 Old 12-13-2002, 01:10 PM
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We are working on the WPSG master control switching system. The switcher was delivered a couple weeks ago and is physically installed. We have a good bit of wiring to do. To be honest, it is not one of our top priorities right now, but I would like to see some real HD on WPSG. We have to finish up a new channel 3 alternate-main transmitter and antenna system before we get to finishing the WPSG master control.
I have the Paramount HD movie schedule through the end of 2004. Looks like we won't make Crocodile Dundee in January 2003, and probably Ferris Bueller's Day Off scheduled for Feburary 2003. But we will make Murphy's Law in July 2003.
When we are finished with WPSG-DT, it will use the same automation system we use on WPSG, KYW, and KYW-DT so I expect it to look smooth on the air.
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post #290 of 10685 Old 12-13-2002, 01:19 PM
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Jim,

You wouldn't happen to know if Comcast is going to carry you guys soon?

I've been hearing that CSI is one of the best things to watch in HD.. and I'm just dying to watch..

If you don't know, that's okay.. I just thought I might get that question in for all the philly area comcast people without antennas.

Thank you!

Dawn
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post #291 of 10685 Old 12-13-2002, 02:04 PM
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I really don't know when that will happen. I know that Comcast and Viacom are negotiating carriage of all the CBS and UPN digital stations. This is handled by Viacom in New York and I hear very little on the subject. I do know that CBS and Time Warner cable negotiated a deal that has CBS and UPN digital stations on TW systems where the markets line up. So deals are possible, just don't know what the problem is with Comcast.
You are correct about CSI. It is one of the most stunning examples of the desireability of the new medium. The wide shots of the Las Vegas strip almost take your breath away.
Remember, KYW-DT is free over the air to all who can receive it. Some can't becasue of location and other reasons but most should have no trouble with a very small antenna. I live in Mt. Laurel NJ and use a really small folded yagi antenna. Works great!!!!
CUL Jim


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post #292 of 10685 Old 12-13-2002, 02:08 PM
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Thank you for your quick response.

I might have to convince someone in my house to get me an antenna for Christmas.

Thank you!
I know all of us at AVS really appreciate you paying attention to these boards. you rock!

Dawn
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post #293 of 10685 Old 12-13-2002, 03:07 PM
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From what I have heard, do not expect KYW-DT on Comcast during 2003. Better get an antenna and STB to receive it, sorry to say. Also, if CBS goes through with their ridiculous threat to pull all HD programming with a broadcast flag, I will simply stop watching their programming, plain and simple. Who wants to copy and sell content that it edited and full of commericals anyway! Insane BS is what it is and a money grab if I have ever seen one. Does anyone remember Sisney v. Sony where the movie companies argued that the VCR had to be outlawed or the movie industry would die. Can anyone now imagine where the movie companies would be without home video sales? The same will be true in the digital domain if they would just open up their eyes and keep their hands out of our pockets!
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post #294 of 10685 Old 12-16-2002, 10:40 AM
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Anyone else now catching WCAU perfectly, are they on the new tower?

Save Your Frequent Flyer Miles !! Barber's jobs are also being exported to China, you will have to fly to China now for a hair cut.
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post #295 of 10685 Old 12-16-2002, 10:42 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by X01E
Anyone else now catching WCAU perfectly, are they on the new tower?

Checked this morning. still getting 30-40% signal (that's a GOOD day for me).

Is it noticably better than what you've gotten in the past?
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post #296 of 10685 Old 12-16-2002, 10:57 AM
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I too for the past two or three weeks have been getting WCAU-DT 10.1 with a strong consistent signal. It is noticeably better. Before that it was not reliable some days good some days terrible, I never knew what to expect. It sure seems like they moved or turned up the power to me.
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post #297 of 10685 Old 12-16-2002, 11:39 AM
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NBC10 is not yet operational on the new tower. Looks like they won't be until the end of January.
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post #298 of 10685 Old 12-16-2002, 11:42 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by JWhip
NBC10 is not yet operational on the new tower. Looks like they won't be until the end of January.

Thanks for the info, JWhip. Did you get your information from WCAU? If so, did anyone give a reason why it was so delayed (~2 months). Quite honestly, I'm breathing a sigh of relief, cause if 30% was all I could get on the new tower (which really doesn't make sense anyway), I'd be SOL.
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post #299 of 10685 Old 12-16-2002, 11:55 AM
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While I'm disappointed that WCAU hasn't gotten the new transmitter operating on the new tower yet, I'm not at all surprised. What is their motivation? They've met their FCC obligations. It's too bad you have to almost live physically in Philadelphia to pick up their signal, but from my brief encounters via email, they really don't seem to care that no one outside of Philly is getting their digital signal.

I was told earlier this year that the new tower and transmitter would be up September 1, 2002. Then it slipped to the end of November. Now we're talking the end of January. In all probability, I wouldn't be surprised if they aren't up on the new tower any earlier than May. Just in time for season finales.

It's bad enough I can't pick up UPN57 up here because of the reduced power and transmission pattern they've elected to use. Now I won't be able to get NBC any time soon, either. It's frustrating being on the cutting edge of technology. Unfortunately, NBC doesn't seem to have much of a committment to the technology. Another example you ask? They broadcast the new Muppet Christmas Movie around Thanksgiving in High Definition. While I couldn't watch it in HD, I presume this means 16x9 aspect ratio. I wanted to pick this movie up on DVD, but it's ONLY available on VHS (do people really still buy VHS??) If they processed it for HD transmission, why the hell not put it on DVD??

I just have no faith that NBC (in general) is doing anything but following everyone else. They used to be the leaders. I don't know what went wrong....
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post #300 of 10685 Old 12-16-2002, 12:04 PM
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I feel your pain, Randy. It's true that NBC has no real driver to move to the new tower since they are already transmitting a DT signal. Us poor slobs that are not within reception distance have to hang on until they get it right. It's too bad we don't have Jim Chase's counterpart in NBC on the forum. Perhaps he/she can listen to what the masses (as small as they may be right now) and learn from it. It's nice to have folks like Jim on ther forum, and the stations they represent and provide quality images for our expensive "TOYS" to display. COMM'ON NBC! To date, there has only been one night where NBC was watchable, and just seeing Leno in HD was enough to get me excited!
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