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Local HDTV Info and Reception

MalaInSe's Avatar MalaInSe
09:16 PM Liked: 10
post #331 of 549
02-09-2006 | Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2006
Has the ktuu/kimo/kakm tower gone on strike?

I'm not getting anything from any of the stations.
isamudaison's Avatar isamudaison
09:30 PM Liked: 10
post #332 of 549
02-09-2006 | Posts: 126
Joined: Sep 2003
yay! I'm not the only one... It might be due to the high winds in that area... either that or they're (hopefully) bumping up the power
MaCro's Avatar MaCro
10:06 PM Liked: 10
post #333 of 549
02-09-2006 | Posts: 41
Joined: Mar 2001
From KTUU's website: http://www.ktuu.com/cms/anmviewer.asp?a=3519&z=1

Quote:


Anchorage, Alaska - KTUU-TV is currently off the air for those using an antenna, including the digital signal, due to an equipment failure. The outage will not affect viewers who subscribe to GCI cable.

The transmitter on the Anchorage Hillside is temporarily out of service due to drifting snow and high winds.

Engineers are aware of the problem and are currenly working as quickly as possible to remedy the situation.

Is KAKM-DT still on the air? They share the transmitter with KTUU. If it's not the transmitter it's probably the microwave link across the inlet.

Edit: I see someone reported other OTA stations are down as well. Everything's okay on GCI cable, FWIW.
geoWorm's Avatar geoWorm
11:27 PM Liked: 10
post #334 of 549
02-09-2006 | Posts: 119
Joined: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muskeg View Post

Has anyone picked up KTUU in 5.1 audio yet? They said last week that they were hoping to have it ready for the Olympics opening ceremonies (tomorrow night).

They must be tryin... but it ain't workin.

On GCI cable 652; ER had audio out of all speakers except the center channel. My receiver (Denon 3803) did switch to Dolby Digital 5.1. I'm using a toslink cable from the Moto 6412.

Lucky for me, the wife insists on watching that show live, so I was able to switch the cable box to channel 2 when I heard the screams...

Cheers
Muskeg's Avatar Muskeg
11:54 PM Liked: 10
post #335 of 549
02-09-2006 | Posts: 162
Joined: Dec 2005
Yep...KTUU's 5.1 audio must be having probs. My Name is Earl, The Office, ER showed up as 5.1, but the center channel was nonexistent. Hope they get it fixed tomorrow, as I'm having family over for dinner and olympic opening ceremonies in hd! And I'll have to re-wire something to get the audio if the hd signal isn't going to provide it.
MalaInSe's Avatar MalaInSe
02:50 AM Liked: 10
post #336 of 549
02-10-2006 | Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2006
I have spent another $200 in the last couple of weeks to have the winter games in HD.

only to have the entire tower die on the eve of the broadcast.

no GCI here.... only MTA no feed.
Muskeg's Avatar Muskeg
08:00 AM Liked: 10
post #337 of 549
02-10-2006 | Posts: 162
Joined: Dec 2005
Just got a response from the man at KTUU. They're going to be in contact with NBC to see if they can get the 5.1 straightened out for tonight's ceremonies, but if not, they'll try to re-wire so that the old audio is available.
lhankins's Avatar lhankins
10:06 AM Liked: 10
post #338 of 549
02-10-2006 | Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2004
Sorry, folks. I've been meaning to get on here for quite a while, but haven't had the time.

Update:
The wind yesterday blew the microwave dish out of alignment that carries our signals from Glen Alps to Goose Bay. That'd be Ch 2, Ch 7, and Ch 13. We aggregate our stuff at GA and use a single feed to GB. We tried to get up there yesterday afternoon right after we went off air but couldn't make it. Whiteout conditions from the Park entrance up - we couldn't see the road - and the last several hundred yards was drifted completely shut.

By 5 the weather had cleared a little - still a lot of wind, but it had quit snowing - so we went back and after a few runs at the road managed to break through the drifts and get to the parlking area. Walked the rest of the way, dug out 4 feet of new snow at the door and got inside. All our signals are reaching GA just fine. But the return link from GB showed no signal.

One of Ch 7's guys got out to GB around 8p and said there is no received signal there either. From what we could tell from the ground, it looks like the dish at GA has moved. We have a call in to some guys to try to get it realigned today so we can get back on. I'll update status later.

As to the 5.1 - we just got the equipment installed and programmed Wednesday (working feverishly to make Olympics). But the only 5.1 material we get is the Prime time feed from NBC. Since their reality shows -eg Biggest Loser - aren't 5.1 we had to wait for Law and Order to check it out and as you've noticed - no L/R dialog channels. There was surround and a little center channel, but that's it. So yesterday morning we went over the equipment hookup, found some wires incorrectly connected, and fixed it (we thought). I didnt get a chance to check last night since I didn't get home til 9, but apparently same problem. We'll try to get it fixed today or go back to the stereo feed until we can get it resolved. I'll update you on that later too.

I'll be back... (insert gratuitous movie line here)
Lance
MaCro's Avatar MaCro
10:53 AM Liked: 10
post #339 of 549
02-10-2006 | Posts: 41
Joined: Mar 2001
Thanks a lot for keeping us updated, Lance.
geoWorm's Avatar geoWorm
01:51 PM Liked: 10
post #340 of 549
02-10-2006 | Posts: 119
Joined: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaCro View Post

Thanks a lot for keeping us updated, Lance.

Lance--- Welcome to the thread. Great info and easy to understand.

Now if we can only get news on when KTBY, KTVA, KIMO, KYES will be giving us HD content. We need reps from those stations to give us some accurate information.

Cheers
MalaInSe's Avatar MalaInSe
02:49 PM Liked: 10
post #341 of 549
02-10-2006 | Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2006
Thanks for the update Lance.
lhankins's Avatar lhankins
10:08 PM Liked: 10
post #342 of 549
02-10-2006 | Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2004
Update:

Well, we got it back on this afternoon. Wha a pain. We were at Glen Alps all morning. Bob Dickinson from KAKM spent 4 hours standing in the wind and snow30 feet up on the tower securing our microwave dish which had broken loose from its mount and was hanging on the tower by one loose bracket. We saw gusts in the 50mph + range and got about 6" of new snow while we were there.

The dish is temporarily mounted with a comealong and a bunch of 1/2" rope holding it in place. When the weather clears we can work on a permanent fix.

Then something happened in our path from the station to Glen Alps right after we'd headed down. The analog transmitter went down. (We couldn't BUY a break today. Anyway we went back up and made some adjustments and got it running again although it was a little noisy. We think it was a fade problem due to the amount of snow/rain in the path.

ANyway, I'd had another crew working on an alternate solution that we now have ready if anything else quits. We set up an alternate microwave path through our News van and our Eagle River receive site to Goose Bay. If the main path quits again, it'll take us about an hour and a half to get to GB and switch the wiring around to get the analog back on. It'd be analog only which is a big drag for us HD fans, but it'd be better than nothing...

On the 5.1, we got everything switched back to the stereo feed this morning before we headed for the hill. On my system if I force the receiver to do Dolby ProLogic, I get a pretty good surround image. It's not 5.1 but better than nothing tonight. We talked to the equipment vendors today but didn't have time to pursue an answer. We'll be on a conference call with Dolby and the vendor Monday and get this sorted out. I hope to have the true 5.1 up for Monday night's Primetime Olympics. I'll let you know.

Lance
geoWorm's Avatar geoWorm
11:10 PM Liked: 10
post #343 of 549
02-10-2006 | Posts: 119
Joined: May 2003
Wow... Y'all are awesome to get this stuff fixed in these conditions.

Looking forward to the 5.1 audio, not so much for the Olympics, but the Daytona 500 is Sunday aweek. I'm sure the bobsleds will sound great with 5.1... but think about 43 800 HP cars at Daytona...

Lance... you have any insight on the progress of the other stations in the Anchorage area. This summer the World Cup is being televised on that so called Alaska Superstation, real football in HD is so much more enjoyable.

Cheers
lhankins's Avatar lhankins
11:57 PM Liked: 10
post #344 of 549
02-10-2006 | Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2004
Daytona WILL be awesome - I didn't even realize we were doing it until you mentioned it. Last year I think FOX carried it. It is VERY cool in 5.1 - especially if you crank up the subwoofer! We'll be ready!

I do know most of the engineering staff at the other stations, but I won't comment on their status or what they're doing. I don't know anything of theirs firsthand, so it'd just be gossip. I will say that most of them are doing the best they can with the resources they have available. Very little happens as quickly as we would wish, but we're all looking to accomplish the same end result - viewer satisfaction. What I would suggest you do is to contact each station and ask to speak to their Chief Engineer. He's the person most qualified to tell you what you want to know.

Sorry if that sounds like a cop-out. I will tell you that I'll let you know anything I can about what's happening with digital TV at Channel 2.

And thanks for the props. We like to be appreciated. My guys are all busting it to get this stuff going and going right.

Lance
Muskeg's Avatar Muskeg
01:21 AM Liked: 10
post #345 of 549
02-11-2006 | Posts: 162
Joined: Dec 2005
Many thanks to Lance for the bangup job. The Olympics were terrific tonight, even in pro logic It was a real treat. I'm looking forward to the upgrades.

Have a great weekend Lance!
lhankins's Avatar lhankins
11:47 AM Liked: 10
post #346 of 549
02-11-2006 | Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2004
Something you might be interested in -
This tuner has been geting pretty good press in the professional trade forums recently. If you're inteested in turning your PC into an HD PVR, check out this USB tuner at:
Copperbox: OnAir Creator
It's a 5th generation chipset which is supposed to be much better at multi-path discrimination and more selective. I've ordered one and will let you know how it looks after I get a chance to play with it for a while.

This 5th gen chipset should help with some of the issues we see with OTA reception here in Anchorage - especially if you're in the west end of town. It's very difficult in most of that area to get OTA on Channel 2 (10) or Ch 13 (12) due to the proximity of Ch 11's analog tower. The signals all run together and the tuner can't discriminate where the edge of the channel is so it doesn't show anything. We've had some success in this area by critically aligning the antenna, but sometimes even that doesn't help. If this box does a better job, it could open up the possibility of someone in town selling an STB here that would be worth buying.

I know many of you are using cable to receive your HD, but I want to make sure we maintain that free OTA signal for the 40% of the area that doesn't have cable. (And besides - I don't have a PVR yet and ya gotta have toys, right?)

Lance
insane_sockeye's Avatar insane_sockeye
02:50 PM Liked: 10
post #347 of 549
02-11-2006 | Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2006
Lance, many thanks to you and your associates for the hard work repairing the OTA signal. I am using a channel master 4228 antenna I installed last week. It seems to do real well at pulling digital channels 2, 7, 11, and 13. No dropouts (yet) from any of those.

Livin large in Spenard
lhankins's Avatar lhankins
08:34 PM Liked: 10
post #348 of 549
02-11-2006 | Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2004
Aaaarrgghhh!

Before I hear from you all - tonight's Olympic coverage will be in SD instead of HD. NBC uplinks all its HD feeds from a location in New York. The big snowstorm currently smothering the Northeast is causing the uplink signal to fade so much that the HD downlinks all over the country are throwing a fit. Just like our air broadcasts - we either get a perfect picture or none.

Our Master Control Operator is keeping an eye on the feed and if it stabilizes we'll switch back to it. But if it stays bad we'll continue on the SD feed (it's uplinked from a different location so isn't affected by the storm.)

NBC is trying to get anotheruplink facility online in LA but I doubt it'll happen tonight. Hopefully they'll have it worked out by tomorrow.

Lance

BTW, we went back up to Glen Alps this morning before the wind came up again. The come-alongs and rope seem to be holding. Keep your fingers crossed.
MalaInSe's Avatar MalaInSe
09:29 PM Liked: 10
post #349 of 549
02-11-2006 | Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2006
Lance you stole my thunder.

Thanks for keeping us informed.
geoWorm's Avatar geoWorm
10:17 PM Liked: 10
post #350 of 549
02-11-2006 | Posts: 119
Joined: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by lhankins View Post


BTW, we went back up to Glen Alps this morning before the wind came up again. The come-alongs and rope seem to be holding. Keep your fingers crossed.

Have any pics you could post of the work that was done there?

Cheers
lhankins's Avatar lhankins
10:48 PM Liked: 10
post #351 of 549
02-11-2006 | Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2004
Sorry, I didn't think of it until we were already up there and I didn't have my camera with me. I'll try to get a couple of the temp repair Monday or Tuesday and post them for you.
Lance
Muskeg's Avatar Muskeg
11:15 AM Liked: 10
post #352 of 549
02-12-2006 | Posts: 162
Joined: Dec 2005
I noticed last night that the KTUU HD feed (cable) seemed to go back and forth between HD and the standby 4:3 digital feed. It wasn't doing that during the afternoon olympic show.
Muskeg's Avatar Muskeg
11:23 AM Liked: 10
post #353 of 549
02-12-2006 | Posts: 162
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double post
lhankins's Avatar lhankins
12:06 PM Liked: 10
post #354 of 549
02-12-2006 | Posts: 36
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Muskeg,
Check my 9:34pm post from last night. Seems to be OK now. We got the HD back late last night. Today's Nascar Daytona qualifier seems to be OK in HD.

But we lost our main NBC satellite system last night as well. We have parts coming and it should be back up tomorrow. Won't affect the NBC feeds as the secondary dish is working OK.

I swear, this equipment comes equipped with a crisis detector. The more important the event and the higher the stress level of the tech department the more likely this stuff is to fail...

Lance
BraytonAK's Avatar BraytonAK
12:28 PM Liked: 10
post #355 of 549
02-12-2006 | Posts: 39
Joined: Feb 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by lhankins View Post

Muskeg,
Check my 9:34pm post from last night. Seems to be OK now. We got the HD back late last night. Today's Nascar Daytona qualifier seems to be OK in HD.

But we lost our main NBC satellite system last night as well. We have parts coming and it should be back up tomorrow. Won't affect the NBC feeds as the secondary dish is working OK.

I swear, this equipment comes equipped with a crisis detector. The more important the event and the higher the stress level of the tech department the more likely this stuff is to fail...

Lance

I noticed a couple things about the broadcast last night that put a question mark over my head. When switching to the SD feed, it looked like it had been compressed really bad. Some distant images would look blocky, just as an overly compressed JPEG would. Was that because the HD equipment was processing the feed, instead of passing it straight through? I don't notice this on normal SD-via-HD broadcasts, such as the News and other low-fi shows.

The other thing I wondered about was if NBC was doing the recording in both 1080i and 780p, depending on the venue? The Speed Skating event looked great in 1080i, but the "i" reared its ugly head and caused a lot of pixelation during fast movements. (Does that depend somewhat on the quality of the encoding equipment?) I noticed that the Figure Skating looked a touch softer, but had absolutely no pixelation. That led me to think it was sent in 720p. (If only 1080p was the official standard from the start.)
lhankins's Avatar lhankins
01:09 PM Liked: 10
post #356 of 549
02-12-2006 | Posts: 36
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The SD feed is compressed more than the HD feed. If you look at the ratios we use to transmit those, of the 19.2 Mbps available in our feed, we use 14 Mbps for the HD feed and 3Mbps for the SD feed. The rest is ancillary stuff like Audio, PSIP, and overhead data. What we did last night was feed our upconverted SD through the HD side of the system. Those issues could have been caused by the upconvertor card, the HD encoder, or the multiplexer that mixes the HD packets with the SD stuff. In my experience, SD viewed through the HD chain always looks a little wierd, and many of those compression artifacts are just going to be a fact of life for us unfortunately. ALL the material you see through whatever mechanism to get it to you is SEVERELY compressed from the original acquisition which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100-150Mbps.

For your second question - NBC is doing the entire coverage in 1080/50i and converting to 1080/60i for broadcast here. No 720p material at all. The pixelation is a result of mpeg encoding where most of the frames are interpolated - that's the way they jam so much information into a low bit rate. Only every 20th frame or so is actually transmitted - the rest of the material is interpolated by looking at the material in the last interframe and the next interframe, then calculating where objects in the frame should be for the ones in between. It works great with slow action or talking heads, not so well with fast movement. If you switched n=back and forth last night between the HD and SD feeds on our OTA signal during the speed skating, the difference was pretty dramatic.

Lance
Muskeg's Avatar Muskeg
04:10 PM Liked: 10
post #357 of 549
02-12-2006 | Posts: 162
Joined: Dec 2005
KTUU spoils us!
Muskeg's Avatar Muskeg
09:14 PM Liked: 10
post #358 of 549
02-13-2006 | Posts: 162
Joined: Dec 2005
Sweet! The 5.1 is working!!!!
lhankins's Avatar lhankins
09:36 PM Liked: 10
post #359 of 549
02-13-2006 | Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2004
Yeah, we were pretty sure we had it figured out this afternoon but had to wait til we went to the Olympics live to try it. It Worked ! Hallelujah! Now we have to get the mechanism worked out to turn it on and off as we swap sources between 5.1 and 2/0. You'll probably notice stuff going on with our audio for the next few days while we sort it all out.

Thanks for your patence everyone.
Lance
lhankins's Avatar lhankins
09:37 PM Liked: 10
post #360 of 549
02-13-2006 | Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2004
duh... dyslexic fingers... that'd be "patience", not patence...
Lance

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