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post #451 of 1770 Old 02-07-2005, 06:31 PM
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If you still watch any of the non-HD local channels there is something else to consider regarding OTA vs Comcast.

Comcast doesn't carry the digital feeds from any of the non-HD local digital channels, only the analog versions and those are not carried digitally on cable, it's an analog signal that looks pretty bad on most big tvs.

WB 59, UPN 53, and PBS on Comcast are virtually unwatchable on my Comcast service, but their digital feeds ota, though not HD, are actually quite watchable.

All of the local channels are now doing at least SD digital broadcasting and it looks very much better than the analog version on Comcast. So even though our UPN, WB, and PBS stations aren't doing HD, they are doing SD digital that will look much better than what you get on Comcast. In addition, Comcast doesn't carry any of the subchannels from any of the digital broadcasters, not hugely important but a factor nevertheless.

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post #452 of 1770 Old 02-07-2005, 06:59 PM
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The valley locals I get on Dish don't look that great. I know they would be better OTA. A friend has cable, and his local channel reception appears to be about the same quality.
I have to believe everything will upgrade eventually. And if something is that important to watch one can always go the OTA route as needed.
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post #453 of 1770 Old 02-07-2005, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Keep in mind that by law all cablecos are going to be switching to an all digital signal for all channels quite soon. That includes Comcast of course, which will significantly improve the appearance of the lower channels. Rumor has this happening for Comcast region by region later on this year, perhaps before summer.

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post #454 of 1770 Old 02-08-2005, 07:46 AM
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Which law is that? The only law I know of for conversion to digital is for broadcast signals, not cable signals.
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post #455 of 1770 Old 02-08-2005, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr.Poindexter
Which law is that? The only law I know of for conversion to digital is for broadcast signals, not cable signals.

I don't either but consider this. Broadcast by definition is not restricted to over-the-air.
Furthermore, it is cable and satellite companies that are demanding more innovations from broadcasters like movies on demand.
If the government regulates and legislates TV manufacturers to develop sets capable of receiving digital signals, and broadcasters to send out digital signals, I can't believe they would exclude satellite and cable companies from doing the same.
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post #456 of 1770 Old 02-08-2005, 10:12 AM
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One of the main reasons I switched to D* is that every channel is digital. My wife watches a lot of TNT, USA and SciFi, and those channels looked terrible on Comcast due to the analog feed. They actually look really really good on D* through my HD box. I agree the locals that D* carries are quite compressed and leave something to be desired, but I get great reception now with my antenna and just watch all locals that way.

The other reason I went with D* is their claim to an ambitious 'adding' of future HD channels. Hopefully that comes to fruition.

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post #457 of 1770 Old 02-08-2005, 10:32 AM
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Videoaddikt, start imagining it. The digital transition is about freeing up the analog spectrum so that it can be auctioned off for special services like police radios. HDTV is just a carrot to pull the cart and is not the end goal.

The public owns the airwaves and the government must protect that public good and regulate it. The satellite frequencies are also part of the public good and are regulated by the FCC, but the catch here is that they are already 100% digital - DBS means Digital Broadcast Satellite.

The FCC is not going to mandate digital cable since it is a closed system owned by a private entity. The market will determine a need for that.

Movies on demand are being demanded by service providers in an effort to generate more revenue. Interactive TV is in the same boat except that hardly any consumers want interactive TV.

I think that broadcasting does indeed mean over the air and is broken down between terrestrial and satallite broadcasting. Cable isn't a broadcast but a narrowcast as in not everyone can get it. You can exclude access to the signal by not running a cable there. You cannot restrict terrestrial broadcasts selectively like you can with cable. Sat is in the same boat except their signal is encrypted.

Cable will be forced into converting to digital by satellite providers and a self-preserving fear of being at a competitive disadvantage when marketing against those providers.
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post #458 of 1770 Old 02-08-2005, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Cable Operators Prepare for Switch to All-Digital Systems
Comcast, Charter, Adelphia & Other MSOs Gear Up for Digital Simulcast Trials

JANUARY 01, 2005
By Alan Breznick, editor, Cable Digital News

As the new year opens, the cable industry finally seems poised to
start making its much-ballyhooed shift to an all-digital format for
its core video product.

Six months after Charter Communications launched the nation's first
all-digital cable system with a big splash in Long Beach, CA, many
large cable operators are quietly drawing up plans for similar digital
simulcast field trials and deployments in their territories. MSO
executives and tech vendors say they expect to see a flurry of such
trials and initial deployments in 2005 and 2006 as cable operators
seek to move more and more of their customers away from analog
broadcasts and set-top boxes.

"Now they're practically all gearing up for trials," said Seth Kenvin,
vice president of strategic marketing for BigBand Networks, a tech
vendor working with many cable operators on the digital transition.
"Some operators are laying out a time frame now and placing orders...
I think this is going to be a major wave for two to three years."

Indeed, several large MSOs have already tipped their hats. In
December, Comcast Corp. unveiled ambitious plans to launch digital
simulcasts of its analog channel lineups in most of its systems by the
end of 2005. Speaking at two separate financial analyst conferences in
New York last month, senior Comcast executives outlined their strategy
for carrying out the digital transition.

"Now, what we're doing is we are already beginning to put the
simulcast signals on to our systems," said David Fellows, chief
technology officer (CTO) of Comcast. "And over the course of 2005, we
will bring that up across our entire footprint."

In somewhat less bold fashion, Adelphia indicated last month that it's
also gearing up to introduce digital simulcasts in several of its
systems as early as the first quarter. The MSO disclosed its plans in
a Dec. 15 meeting with FCC officials in Washington.

"We're definitely looking at it," said Doug Ike, vice president of
advanced video engineering for Adelphia. "We're looking at candidate
markets."

Such other large cable operators as Cox Communications, Cablevision
Systems, Insight Communications and Bright House Networks are not
making their plans just yet, at least not publicly. But they're
closely monitoring the landscape.

"We know it's being tested in various places around the country," said
a spokeswoman for Bright House. "We're watching that. We're going to
keep track of what's happening."

The push towards all-digital systems comes as Charter continues to
report positive results with its Long Beach pilot. Charter, which
started digital simulcasts in the 75,000-subscriber system in early
July, has been delivering its 91-channel basic cable lineup in both
digital and analog formats with few technical or operational hitches.

"It's been a surprisingly easy transition after all," said Wendy
Rasmussen, vice president and general manager of Charter's Los Angeles
metro markets division. "It was not onerous at all to our customer
base."

With 70% of Charter's Long Beach subscribers now opting for digital,
Rasmussen said the all-digital move has produced better picture and
sound quality for the bulk of the MSO's subscribers, raising their
satisfaction levels, cutting churn rates and bolstering the system's
competitive position against satellite TV providers. She said the
switch has also improved the company's relationship with the city and
boosted employee morale.

"There have been some good, tangible benefits," she said. "We're very
pleased with the results so far. Internally, I'd definitely deem this
a success."

Satisfied with Long Beach's initial success, Charter executives are
now looking at ways to offer more digital offerings. Among other
things, they're weighing Hispanic and broader foreign-language tiers,
particularly aimed at the local Asian-American community.

Charter officials declined to say where they'll try digital simulcasts
next. But, without saying so explicitly, they made it clear that they
will expand the pilot and extend the simulcasts to more markets.

"That's the future," said a Charter spokesman. "Digital simultrans and
all-digital are in Charter's plans."

Taking their cue from Charter, other large cable operators are
plunging into the digital simulcast business too. As noted before,
Comcast, seeing simulcasts as the first step towards true all-digital
systems, is leading the pack.

In a move to spur its digital transition, Comcast notched a 20-year,
$100 million deal with Level 3 Communications for inner-city and metro
dark fiber early last month. The fiber backbone deal, encompassing the
lease of 19,000 route miles reaching 95% of Comcast's cable systems,
will give the MSO much greater capacity for the delivery of
all-digital services, including video-on-demand (VOD) and
high-definition TV (HDTV).

"We are in the process of connecting or lighting up that fiber,"
Fellows told financial analysts in New York last month. "We have
already lit up the Boston to Washington, D.C. corridor and are passing
packets over that section of the network."

Like Charter, Comcast will keep its 80-channel or so analog lineup
intact for its non-digital subscribers as it begins its transition to
all-digital systems. So the MSO, while taking care not to lose any of
its analog customers, will use up precious bandwidth transmitting the
80 channels in both analog and digital format.

Despite the loss of bandwidth from such duplication, Fellows argued,
the digital simulcasts will produce "some significant near-term
benefits" for Comcast. First of all, he said, the switch will provide
the MSO's digital subscribers with "higher quality pictures" because
they won't be getting any analog signals anymore. This is especially
important for customers with large-screen digital TVs, a group that
spends heavily on video services and is quick to notice analog
imperfections on their big-screen sets. MSOs are particularly
concerned that these high-value customers could be enticed to switch
to competing all-digital satellite TV services.

Second, Fellows said, the switch will enable Comcast to offer VOD more
widely, including its free, ad-supported on-demand product. In
addition, he said, moving at least some customers to all-digital
service will allow Comcast to cut the cost of its digital set-top
boxes because the new set-tops won't require expensive analog
circuitry. Finally, he contended that the shift will permit Comcast to
create more specialized and low-end tiers to attract cable
subscribers, just as Charter is aiming to do.

"We're not forcing our customers to go digital," Fellows said. "I'm
going to give [Comcast COO] Dave Watson the opportunity to incent
customers, to get them to realize they really do want digital and not
just analog HBO, but all of the on-demand that comes with being even a
basic digital subscriber."

Over the longer term, Fellows definitely sees the move opening up more
bandwidth for Comcast. He estimates that the MSO could "triple the
capacity of our hybrid fiber coax network" once it recaptures all the
bandwidth used by the 80 analog channels.

"Once we have the digital signals up there, we can begin to take back
the analog signals," he said. "I don't think we're going to take them
all back in the near-term. But every time we take one analog signal
back, we can offer 12 channels in its place in standard-definition,
three channels in its place in high-definition."

Fellows figures that it will take about $150 million for Comcast to
bring its infrastructure up to snuff for the digital simulcasts this
year. Calling it "a modest investment," he said most of that money
will be spent on digital ad insertion and encoding equipment.

As for the new, cheaper digital set-top boxes that Comcast and other
cable operators envision, Fellows believes the costs could come down
to $50 per set-top or lower in a few years. Currently, Comcast
executives said, low-end digital-only set-tops cost around $70 to $75
apiece. This is about $50 less than the cost of today's low-end hybrid
analog-digital boxes. In hybrid set-tops with digital video recorders
(DVR), going all-digital could drop the box cost by as much as $100.

"Actually taking the analog circuitry out of one of our digital
set-tops saves an awful lot of money," Fellows said. "It's another
step towards getting that sub-$100, maybe even $50 set-top box."

At Adelphia, executives are studying their fully upgraded 750-MHz
systems to see where they have enough capacity to carry the same
channels in both analog and digital format. They're also testing
digital encoders, splicers and multiplexers to see how to make the
digital simulcasts work. "Certainly, we need to look for a
cost-effective way to do digital programming insertions," Ike said.

Adelphia and other MSOs are keen on solving this challenge because
local cable advertising is a $5 billion and growing annual business in
the U.S. alone. Once a cable system moves to digital simulcasts, local
TV commercials must be inserted and delivered in both analog and
digital formats.

In addition, Adelphia officials are weighing the costs of low-end
digital set-tops. Like their counterparts at Comcast, they're seeking
boxes with price tags of $50 or lower.

"We're still looking for the mysterious $30 set-top box or at least
$50 on the low-end," Ike said. "There's a lot of discussion with the
set-top box folks about what we need that set-top box to do."

Is this chicken what I have, or is this fish?
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post #459 of 1770 Old 02-08-2005, 11:52 AM
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thanks again to those that let me know to go to sparky's to get an over the air antenna.. worked wonders in my backyard, propped up with a broom inside my garbage can full of grass clippings.. full signal throughout the whole game..

thanks again!
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post #460 of 1770 Old 02-08-2005, 11:58 AM
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Glad it worked out.

Wonder how many in Fresno Area get to see 26.1 in HD? My guess is not even 1% of the population.
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post #461 of 1770 Old 02-08-2005, 02:03 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Mr.Poindexter
Videoaddikt, start imagining it. The digital transition is about freeing up the analog spectrum so that it can be auctioned off for special services like police radios. HDTV is just a carrot to pull the cart and is not the end goal.

The FCC is not going to mandate digital cable since it is a closed system owned by a private entity. The market will determine a need for that.

I think that broadcasting does indeed mean over the air and is broken down between terrestrial and satallite broadcasting. Cable will be forced into converting to digital by satellite providers and a self-preserving fear of being at a competitive disadvantage when marketing against those providers.

I agree, retransmission is probably a more appropriate term for cable, et al.

Here is an interesting article. It talks to exempting cable from simulcasting. Something that will provide cable with greater incentive to move forward in the digital domain. Considering the poliferation of the cable industry, they can hardly be ignored by the feds, even if their control over them is limited.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/...tal-usat_x.htm
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post #462 of 1770 Old 02-12-2005, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrewM
Glad it worked out.

Wonder how many in Fresno Area get to see 26.1 in HD? My guess is not even 1% of the population.

Count me on that small group getting to watch FOX hd on 26-1. Direct TV with OTA antenna. It looks real good.
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post #463 of 1770 Old 02-13-2005, 09:24 AM
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I get FOX HD on 26.1 as well.

fresnohd, shouldn't your name be clovishd? I will be moving to Clovis in about 5 months.
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post #464 of 1770 Old 02-13-2005, 11:00 AM
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you are right, i should see if i can change my nick. where in clovis you going to be? we are in clovis east.
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post #465 of 1770 Old 02-13-2005, 11:27 AM
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Pardon this newbie inquiry....I plan to be HD ready with a new display in the April-May timeframe.

I am considering a set with a cable card capability. Now, if I drop Dish and take Comcast Digital will I only need OTA for Fox? (forget WB and UPN for now).
I should be able to get the major 3 plus maybe PBS over cable? And of course HDNet, ESPNHD, etc. through subscription?


loc: east Clovis....
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post #466 of 1770 Old 02-13-2005, 12:13 PM
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I will be in the Buchannon area, I think. It is a Wathen-Castanos development off of Shepherd and DeWolf. It had the largest bonus room of any development I have seen - a 30'x22' room with a 9' 1" ceiling.
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post #467 of 1770 Old 02-13-2005, 03:30 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by videoaddikt
Pardon this newbie inquiry....I plan to be HD ready with a new display in the April-May timeframe.

I am considering a set with a cable card capability. Now, if I drop Dish and take Comcast Digital will I only need OTA for Fox? (forget WB and UPN for now).
I should be able to get the major 3 plus maybe PBS over cable? And of course HDNet, ESPNHD, etc. through subscription?


loc: east Clovis....

By April or May KMPH's HD signal will probably be available on Comcast. If not the cable card sets also have ota ATSC tuners and you should have no problem getting 26.1 ota. WB and UPN are digital here but are not HD capable, nor will you get HD feeds of them from Comcast. Comcast doesn't carry HDNet as far as I know. Our local PBS channel does not do HD, though they do have an on-again off-again digital signal at 40.1, often inactive in the morning but usually up in the evening. The PBS, WB, and UPN channels on Comcast are all analog and are not in their digital tier, pq on the analog tier on Comcast stinks on an HD-capable set.

Steve S.
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post #468 of 1770 Old 02-13-2005, 03:53 PM
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Thanks, Steve. Getting NBA/PGA on various channels will supersede any interest in HDNet...

I guess everything will be available in due time. I will likely be doing the OTA thing anyway for a couple of non-HD sets in the house.
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post #469 of 1770 Old 02-20-2005, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting in that my TiVo gave me a message saying that comcast had added channel 909 KVPT (PBS) to my lineup, although the channel is not actually there at the moment.

I think this is a precursor to PBS-HD going live on Comcast in the near future. New channels usually show up on the TiVo guide before the channel actually starts broadcasting.

Cool!

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post #470 of 1770 Old 02-21-2005, 05:57 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by rodneyremington
Interesting in that my TiVo gave me a message saying that comcast had added channel 909 KVPT (PBS) to my lineup, although the channel is not actually there at the moment.

I think this is a precursor to PBS-HD going live on Comcast in the near future. New channels usually show up on the TiVo guide before the channel actually starts broadcasting.

Cool!


IF KVPT will have HD On Comcast, shouldn't they have it on OTA also?
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post #471 of 1770 Old 02-21-2005, 06:12 PM
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Of course it should be ota as well as on cable, their SD ota digital signal's been up for a while now, though they only seem to turn it on at night.

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post #472 of 1770 Old 02-21-2005, 06:50 PM
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Anyone know when the HD will be up? Also anyone also notice on their Direct TV guides that is shows 59 and 53 with shows in HD that are not in HD?
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post #473 of 1770 Old 02-23-2005, 12:40 PM
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Looks like tv.yahoo.com has PBS on 909 too. Is anyone actually seeing the channel?
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post #474 of 1770 Old 03-01-2005, 08:44 AM
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Update for Steve and others who want to try it-

I took your advice a while back, can't remember how long its been- but I applied for the waiver for ABC as you did, and a little post card came in the mail yesterday saying it had been granted! The card said I should already be receiving it, which I doubted, but I checked anyway and sure enough, not there. But, 5 minutes of holding with D* later, and I now have ABCHD through the dish for a backup! (Which is nice considering the periodic problems I have getting ABC through my antenna.)

Thanks again Steve.

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post #475 of 1770 Old 03-01-2005, 08:56 AM
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Wow, it took that long?! Man, I must have been lucky to get in touch with the right people to have mine fixed in a day.
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post #476 of 1770 Old 03-04-2005, 10:49 AM
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Hi Folks,

New DTV convert here currently viewing OTA content using a Samsung SIR-T451 and indoor Terk HDTVi. Had "fun" finding the sweet spot for the location of the Terk but I am now able to receive all the local stations without too many issues. The only exception is KAIL/UPN, which I think is suffering from multi-path distortion as signal strength is fine but get random blocking from time to time.

Just wondering if any of you are having problems with DD5.1 from KGPE/CBS? I was looking forward to watching my CSI fix in it's full HD/DD5.1 glory but found that all my HT receiver could decode was DD2.0. From what I understand we are at the mercy of the local broadcaster as to whether DD5.1 is piped through to the end user(?). I assume my equipment is good since KFSN/ABC 30.1 (VHF 9) provides me with DD5.1 sound using optical interconnects. I also noticed last night that I was getting DD5.1 from 26.1 (cannot remember the show). Any insight from local members would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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post #477 of 1770 Old 03-04-2005, 11:50 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by SineWave
Just wondering if any of you are having problems with DD5.1 from KGPE/CBS? I was looking forward to watching my CSI fix in it's full HD/DD5.1 glory but found that all my HT receiver could decode was DD2.0. From what I understand we are at the mercy of the local broadcaster as to whether DD5.1 is piped through to the end user(?).

Neither KGPE nor KSEE pass the 5.1 audio on their digital broadcasts. Most of NBC's primetime scripted shows are in 5.1 now, and the CSI's and Numb3rs on CBS are as well. Live events from CBS are usually in 5.1.

Hopefully these two affiliates are working on providing DD5.1 audio in the near future. Of course, the cost to provide it is in the tens of thousands of dollars. So it may be awhile.
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post #478 of 1770 Old 03-05-2005, 02:04 PM
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A station engineer, 47's I think, once said that getting 5.1 audio vs 2.0 to work brings up lots of audio synch issues and can even affect video, causing frequent blocking and video dropouts. So in addition to the extra expense, there are other issues involved.

I started getting HD back in October of 01, when 30.1 was our sole local HD station and was doing 5.1 all the time. It was actually very rare then to have the audio in synch with the video, and the picture would drop out fairly frequently, maybe 4 or 5 times every half hour or so.

One thing I've noticed since DirecTV turned on ABC-W HD for me is that even though KFSN and KABC (the LA feed on D*) both do 5.1 all the time, the 5.1 on KABC sounds much better during network feeds like Lost than KFSN--deeper bass and better channel separation.

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post #479 of 1770 Old 03-05-2005, 02:42 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Steve S
One thing I've noticed since DirecTV turned on ABC-W HD for me is that even though KFSN and KABC (the LA feed on D*) both do 5.1 all the time, the 5.1 on KABC sounds much better during network feeds like Lost than KFSN--deeper bass and better channel separation.

I haven't been back to this thread in a while, and I didn't know you'd been successful at this quest. Congrats!! It's good to see KERO wasn't making a stink about it...since Fresno really is not their market area.
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post #480 of 1770 Old 03-06-2005, 03:13 PM
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Mr. Poindexter posted a while back that KERO routinely grants waivers for Fresno residents, so I was in luck in that regard. I've noticed no difference in pq between KFSN and KABC that could be attributed to compression by DirecTV, but KABC's upconversion of SD is different, has a slight horizontal stretch so the black bars on the sides are narrower than those on KFSN.

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