Pittsburgh, PA - OTA - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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Local HDTV Info and Reception > Pittsburgh, PA - OTA
debennett2's Avatar debennett2 09:19 PM 02-26-2003
I have a rather off-the-topic question for the group... What happens when HD becomes the standard several years down the road? Will that affect cable and satellite-only stations such as HBO? It would be nice to think that we won't run into watching a network broadcast show and between every show have a bunch of 4:3 SD commercials to throw us off. Very confusing and slightly expensive-sounding move.

agtiny's Avatar agtiny 04:09 PM 02-27-2003
In case you didn't see it, here's a new post about this topic with more info from the FCC:
agtiny's Avatar agtiny 09:21 PM 02-27-2003
KDKA was perfect tonight with 2.0 sound. Looks like they got the problem solved!
kaa1954's Avatar kaa1954 04:10 AM 02-28-2003
Just in time for the Boss tonight!
zfc6e's Avatar zfc6e 09:32 PM 02-28-2003
Using the Sliver Sensore antanna+RS inline amplfier, I was able to get WTAE 51 about 3 weeks ago. However, since early early this month, I got nothing from WTAE. DO you guys have any trouble with it?


Samsung 151
kaa1954's Avatar kaa1954 05:32 AM 03-01-2003
51's signal has "ghost" like qualities...one day it's here, the next day it's over there. I am sure that it being a low powered signal has a lot to do with this phenomenon. Dave McWilliams got me to thinking about adding a second antenna to handle special situations like this one. Now I can move around a second attic antenna for just these times. 38 is also elusive for me. I don't think WQED is at full power yet either. The point I am trying to make is that the signal is probably there somewhere....you just have to find it. A second antenna was the answer for me.
agtiny's Avatar agtiny 11:32 AM 03-12-2003
Hey all, just bought a house in Cranberry and I'm considering going to Armstrong. Here's a couple of questions for anyone on Armstrong.
1. How much do they charge for local HD, HBO, and basic digital cable?
2. Does the digital cable work through the same Motorola HD STB?
3. Do you have to subscribe to the full HBO package to get HBO-HD or do they allow you to get it as part of the "HD package"?
4. Do they charge for additional receivers for digital cable in other rooms, like DirecTV does?
5. Do you need a phone line like with DirecTV? We are going to try to not have local phone service and only use our cell phones.
6. How is the cable modem service? I can't find any good reviews on them at dslreports.com. Is it still good during peak hours?

debennett2's Avatar debennett2 12:22 PM 03-12-2003
This might be a dumb question but I'm new to HD viewing so bear with me a moment. I was watching Frasier last week on PXI I believe. The format was 16:9 on the tv. Yesterday, it was not 16:9 on the same channel...is that a regular thing? Also, I have noticed that none of the HD OTA sitcoms are really very good-looking. Does that vary from channel to channel or is this just the program itself? I'd like to watch Ed in HD tonight but wouldn't mind being able to see a significant difference between SD and HD. My girlfriend would actually rather watch the SD instead as it stand right now!
agtiny's Avatar agtiny 12:26 PM 03-12-2003
I think Frasier is a weird case, see this thread. Some HD OTA shows are great, check out Life With Bonnie on ABC, the PQ on this blew me away last night when I flipped by it! CBS's Monday-night sitcoms look pretty good too.
debennett2's Avatar debennett2 12:44 PM 03-12-2003
ABC here (33 out of Youngstown) are a bunch of morons so I don't know how soon it will be when I want to watch that station. SD or HD from that station has a ton of red tones coming from it. If you can receive that channel, check it out and you'll see what I mean. I still haven't been able to get a real lock on 25 out of Pitt yet for CBS. If I could I would be covering the 3 biggies (despite 33 being awful). Thanks.
Dave McWilliams's Avatar Dave McWilliams 12:44 AM 03-13-2003
Did anyone else get frequent breakups on WPXI Wednesday? L&O was so bad I had to switch to the SD feed. I also noticed that a number of shows on WYTV in Youngstown that are supposed to be HD have been upconverts recently.
kaa1954's Avatar kaa1954 04:49 AM 03-13-2003
"Ed" was SD for half the show & had many "black" screen moments when HD kicked in. It was usually right as a punch line was delivered.

NBC continues to work out the bugs that ABC & CBS have been working out for 2 years. IMO this is the big reason why HD has not been advertised by the broadcasters to it's fullest extent. We are all HD beta-testers.
Rich in Pitt's Avatar Rich in Pitt 09:24 PM 03-14-2003
1 - Basic = $39.60, Digital = $7.06, HD - they aren't charging anything while they work the bugs out - beginning in April it will be another $5-6. I don't have HBO or other premiums - HBO-HD is included if you have HBO. Same with SHO.

2 - Yes, a single Moto 5100 - coax and optical digital audio, component video (plus s-Video and composite video, analog audio, and an RF video pass-through). 60 analog, 6 HD, 32 digital cable, 43 premium, 65 PPV, and 45 DMX digital music channels all through the same box.

3 - HBO-HD is part of HBO package - 1 price gets both. I think it's the same price HBO was before HD, so it's a "freebie", but I can't verify that - I don't have it.

4 - When I first got digital, it was the same $7.06 for another digital box (Moto 2000), so I assume it would be an additional $12-13 for HD. I only have analog on my other sets.

5 - No need for Phone connection. All communiction for on-screen guides, PPV ordering, etc. are through the bi-directional cable.

6- I've had it for 4 yrs and have not noticed or measured any degradation. I've got a few benchmarking sites bookmarked for frequent use and have never seen any issues. The standard package ($40) is only 500/128 (usually measures 550-600). 1.5MB is $20 more.
Rich in Pitt's Avatar Rich in Pitt 09:37 PM 03-14-2003
Anyone else have Armstrong's HD service? If so,do you have problems:

Sound level - HD 4 (always) and 11 (sometimes) are 18-20db lower than HD 2, HD 13, and the analog channels.

Red tint to pictures - it's only on certain shows, and maybe it's just the different colorspace HD uses, but swapping HD and analog channels sometimes show a substantial difference.

Audio/Video synch.

I've heard the 1st two can be by-products of the 5100 box, and Armstrong acknowledges the synch as one of the things they continue to work on (and why they're not billing for HD). But they are now going to start billing as they have "fixed" the problem - I still have them.

Anyone else?

There have also been an extreme number of dropouts tonight - worse than every night to date combined.
agtiny's Avatar agtiny 10:27 PM 03-14-2003
Thanks Rich... it seems like they charge more than DirecTV, but the benefit of getting basic cable on every TV in the house for one price might be worth it. And it looks like the 5100 is way more advanced than my old DTC-100. Plus Armstrong will probably be a better bet to get all 3 HDNets and ESPN.

As for dropouts, it may not be 100% Armstrong's fault. We had massive dropouts on NBC tonight during L&O.
markam's Avatar markam 03:48 PM 03-16-2003
Hey, anybody here from the Mt Lebanon area? I just bought a STB off of ebay, and was hoping to find out what the reception is like in this area, and what type of antenna I am looking at needing
agtiny's Avatar agtiny 04:31 PM 03-16-2003
markam, wait until you get the STB and see what works. Start with the cheapest antenna you already have. You can find out the direction of all the broadcast towers on www.antennaweb.org. Point your antenna at the weakest tower (WTAE-DT 51) and see if you can find a spot where it comes in. If you can get 51 you should have no problem on any other channel.
drcos's Avatar drcos 04:47 PM 03-18-2003

Did anyone else get frequent breakups on WPXI Wednesday? L&O was so bad I had to switch to the SD feed.

I have noticed this several times in the past week or so. ER, I lost the signal entirely three or four times in the last half hour and the last two times, it reset my receiver (T151)!!!
Also did twice last night on Crossing Jordan. Switched to KDKA for the David Caruso wants to be Don Johnson show (CSI Miami) and had few if any problems.
Had no problems Sunday with Alias and Dragnet on WYTV at all.

Anyone else having problems with WPXI and KDKA (KDKA I get a weird dropout that comes and goes, the picture is fine but the sound will back up about a second almost like an echo every so often).
kaa1954's Avatar kaa1954 01:59 PM 03-21-2003
This is just a heads up guys...I just got off the phone with MC at KDKA. They told me that since Pitt is the regional game it probably will not be seen on the digital side since they are taking that feed from NY. If there is war coverage tonight on the analog side, the Pitt game will be preempted. We will be able to pick up updates on the HD feed though. I hope this scenario doesn't play out or better yet that KD is able to show the regional game on 25. If anybody has better info....please post.
Jeraden's Avatar Jeraden 08:26 PM 03-21-2003
Well that was lame. Was all excited about watching the Pitt game in HD and they had some other crappo game on in its place. Still got to see the Pitt game on Dish though, but just not the same.
bryan27's Avatar bryan27 10:07 PM 03-30-2003
Hey guys, great thread!
Just wanted to let you know what I can receive here in the Wheeling area with a Zenith HDV420:

KDKA-25 By far the strongest signal almost off the scale.
WPXI-48 Just within the "Good" catagory.
WPGH-43 In the middle of "Normal".
WQED-38 On the low end of "Normal". This is suprising since they aren't up to full power and operating on an STA.
WCWB-42 Well, it's there, but 95% of the time won't lock on (I'm suprised I get that much with their STA power)

WTAE-51 doesn't even register a blip, this wasn't much of a suprise because of their low power and their analog channel has always been a problem to receive.

Amazingly I can't receive WTRF and it's piddly 4.5Kw STA at 5 miles from the tower, nor can I receive WTOV's 114Kw STA.

I'm rather satified with just 4 stations for now, but it will be even nicer when WCWB goes to full power and when WNPA starts up. As for WTAE, they lost a viewer because I can't pick it up with a UHF antenna. BTW the antenna I am using is the Winegard Platinum HD9095P (which is basically a Chromostar rebranded as an HDTV antenna).
kaa1954's Avatar kaa1954 03:49 AM 03-31-2003
Is anybody noticing the jerky video moments on all KDKA HD & network shows? It happens very briefly & is very annoying. I am using the Tosh DST 3100.
drcos's Avatar drcos 05:24 AM 03-31-2003

jerky video moments on all KDKA HD

I've noticed these too, they seem to come and go though (typically more during a crucial moment in whatever is on). Using a Samsung T151

Don't know if the aforementioned WPXI problem is still there, as no NBC HD in a while, so no watchie WPXI.
markam's Avatar markam 06:59 AM 03-31-2003
I don't have a problem with video on KDKA, but the audio keeps going in and out. The other stations are fine, so I assume that it is not my STB. Does anyone else have audio problems with KDKA?
jopapgh's Avatar jopapgh 07:33 AM 03-31-2003
Initial thoughts on my HDTV experience in Pittsburgh...

I live in a three story house in the East End of Pittsburgh, in Friendship, where Shadyside and Bloomfield meet. I have a NEC LT150 front projector projecting about a 100' 4:3 image.

I consider myself an early adopter. I bought my first hifi vcr in 1985 (can you say over a grand ), was an early home theater pro logic guy, used one of my first bonuses thirteen years ago to buy a powered sub, and had dvd and dolby digital before DD was even available on receivers.

All that said, I am disappointed in my first excursion in HDTV. I have been a E* customer for over seven years. My boss, who had both premium cable and E*, gave up on the DSS and sold me his DISH 6000 receiver for $50. I had considered buying one previously, but with the whole D*/E* merger thing, held off.

While nice enough, there just isn't enough programming to get excited about on E*. And that switching between SD and HD when you want to output for recording purposes... Plus the thought of having to pay extra for each HD channel doesn't thrill me.

So with free on my mind, I bought the 8VSB add in to pick up my locals from the DISH6000 and the in house radio shack antenna that looks like a rack for a toaster oven.

The locals also don't inspire me. I can pick up PXI, KDKA, QED, FOX and WB all with signal strengths close to 80%. Even so, I can't watch more that 5 minutes on any station without losing sounding, block artifacts or freeze ups. WTAE doesn't register anything at any time, regardless of antenna orientation. And, of the stations I can receive, do any other than PBS or KDKA broadcast anything in HDTV?

All in all, looks nice but seems to be a big hassle. The thought of installing an external antenna to get this minimal HDTV programming hardly seems worth it at this point. I may sell the 8vsb and get the comcast package when they come calling (but we've been waiting for the Pittsburgh cable upgrade in the east end for years already...
kaa1954's Avatar kaa1954 08:09 AM 03-31-2003
I tried that same RS bow-tie antenna also & got the same results. I guarantee you will experience better results with a better antenna. It doesn't have to be external as several of us have attic installs that work adequately. Check out the CM 4-bay & 8 bay models here:

I have the 4 bay model and I think it works fine here in South Park. I don't know if you will pick up WTAE (I do) but I wouldn't be surprised if you did with the 8 bay unit.

One thing that I have learned from this journey is that antenna as well as antenna position can mean everything for reception in this area. Don't get me wrong, I have drop-outs on occasion also, but I find that fighting with the wife over it has decreased substantially since I figured out the antenna thing, thanks to the many good folks on this thread.

CBS,ABC,NBC & PBS are all broadcasting some OTA HD in Pgh. right now although NBC seems to be in a pause during the war. Some are reporting that they are about to resume HD soon.

As far as whether there is ample programming available, I think most of us would like to see more. There may never be enough to satisfy me totally. But for me all it takes is a Steeler playoff game, a Superbowl or a Grammy telecast in DD5.1 to make me thankful I have HD. You will have to decide that for yourself.

Best of luck to you.
kaa1954's Avatar kaa1954 08:13 AM 03-31-2003

I am also getting some audio dropouts. I hope this video problem is not STB related.
heckman13's Avatar heckman13 09:29 AM 03-31-2003

I live in Morgantown, WV, a good hour south of Pittsburgh...

Any idea what antenna receiver combo I could possibly
use to pick up the HD Pitt stations ? Or even If I can
from this area ?

kaa1954's Avatar kaa1954 11:04 AM 03-31-2003
The CM 8 bay is rated at 60 miles.
bryan27's Avatar bryan27 03:22 PM 03-31-2003
heckman, Morgantown is quite a bit aways. What is your (or someone you know) current Analog reception like? Being on top of a mountain, hill, or flat area helps, but if you are in a valley you are probably going to be out of luck.

Generally for Morgantown I would go with this:


You might be able to pick up something, WTAE is much closer to Morgantown than the other stations so you may actually pick it up.

Here are some coverage maps of the Digital Service Contours of the stations around Pittsburgh that everyone may be interested in.


If anyone wants some of other stations let me know and I'll work on them.
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