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post #1741 of 1760 Old 01-24-2013, 01:30 AM
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rich67,

I am not sure if you noticed this earlier this week 9&10 News started broadcasting the local news in widescreen. I'll have to say looks cool. Their intros for the weather and sports segments are in SD still.

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post #1742 of 1760 Old 01-25-2013, 03:29 PM
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You missed WLLZ on your list. It's one of those SD channels around 81.2, 81.4, 81.15 or 81.56. Different brands of TV's will show it on a different channel. Charter says it's on 81.2.
During the day it's easy to spot with "RTV" logo in lower right corner of screen. Prime Time it's shows from My Network television.
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post #1743 of 1760 Old 02-09-2013, 08:51 PM
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I have a windows 7 media center dvr with 2 silicon dust hd homeruns. I have extenders on our two hd sets and a modulator hooked to the pc for the remaining sets. On all channels/shows the sd sets have a black bar top and bottom. When watching 9&10 news the screen is full on both the hd and sd sets.

Can they broadcast 4:3 and 9:16 at the same time?!!

When it changes to the national news at 7, my black bars are back.

Weird.....


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post #1744 of 1760 Old 02-08-2014, 04:18 PM
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I received a phone message from Charter that my CATV service is to go all digital 3/11/2014 but saw nothing in my bill to indicate when. Contacted Live Chat and this is the date they gave me for ZIP 49740.

Looks like this thread has been pretty dead for awhile. Thought I would give a heads up to any who have been utilizing clear QAM, as I assume that will disappear that day too, or shortly thereafter. I have DVRs on all of my TVs in use so the only negative for me will be loss of the split screen function. For as little as I use that function I doubt it will be worth another STB or CableCard. Oh well . . .

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post #1745 of 1760 Old 02-08-2014, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by DocCasualty View Post

I received a phone message from Charter that my CATV service is to go all digital 3/11/2014 but saw nothing in my bill to indicate when. Contacted Live Chat and this is the date they gave me for ZIP 49740.

Looks like this thread has been pretty dead for awhile. Thought I would give a heads up to any who have been utilizing clear QAM, as I assume that will disappear that day too, or shortly thereafter. I have DVRs on all of my TVs in use so the only negative for me will be loss of the split screen function. For as little as I use that function I doubt it will be worth another STB or CableCard. Oh well . . .

Has OTA reception gotten easier or more difficult up there since the digital transition? I spent some time in northern Michigan many years ago, and I remember it as being a very difficult area for OTA reception.

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post #1746 of 1760 Old 02-08-2014, 08:21 PM
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For the most part, it is worse than it was in the analog days.

In areas with low population density, and high cable/satellite penetration, many TV stations built the digital facilities to the point where they had the theoretical coverage necessary to assure that cable and satellite providers would carry their station and not a station from another market.

Northern Lower MI is not as bad as the UP in this regard, but not as good as in, say, Detroit or Chicago, where stations built their DT facilities to the max.

You will need UHF and high-VHF capability. UHF only will not do.

You may wish to check out TV Fool, put your coordinates in there, and see what you can expect to get.
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post #1747 of 1760 Old 02-08-2014, 08:36 PM
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Has OTA reception gotten easier or more difficult up there since the digital transition? I spent some time in northern Michigan many years ago, and I remember it as being a very difficult area for OTA reception.
The truth is I have never really tried it myself since the transition. Prior to the transition I had an antenna that came with the house and I was only able to pick up a channel or two depending on conditions. At one point I studied it with TV Fool and AntennaWeb and made inquiries here and elsewhere and decided it wasn't worth a several hundred dollar experiment that would be very unlikely to get me all or even most of the broadcast stations. I'm ultra-deep fringe to at least one "local" and not much better with the others. Considering the hills and tall trees, my chances of being successful are nil.

I'm actually thankful that Charter's service in my area is as good as it is and I have no complaints with it really. Even if I could receive reliable OTA, I'm not ready to dump Fox Sports Detroit and other premiums I enjoy, though I would use it for split screen when convenient. I've honestly never had my cable service go out on me in the 25 years that I've been here that I can recall, though always thought OTA would be a nice option if that ever were to occur.

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post #1748 of 1760 Old 02-08-2014, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by itsthemultipath! View Post

For the most part, it is worse than it was in the analog days.

In areas with low population density, and high cable/satellite penetration, many TV stations built the digital facilities to the point where they had the theoretical coverage necessary to assure that cable and satellite providers would carry their station and not a station from another market.

...

 

I can understand the broadcasters' decisions from an economic standpoint.

I hope that the cable systems at least offer a fairly low price for a cable package that contains just the local stations.

It would be bad if the cable systems tried to use the lack of OTA coverage as a way to gouge customers on price.

 

Back in the analog days, OTA signals from Green Bay could be received in parts of northwest Michigan, although often not consistently. I imagine that no longer happens at all with digital signals, which don't travel as far as the analog signals did.

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post #1749 of 1760 Old 02-08-2014, 11:05 PM
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I hope that the cable systems at least offer a fairly low price for a cable package that contains just the local stations.
It would be bad if the cable systems tried to use the lack of OTA coverage as a way to gouge customers on price.
I don't think they do offer such a package anymore, though I could be wrong and would encourage anybody with better info to post it. I'm not sure if you necessarily would consider it gouging but rather, what their current business model is (maybe that's the same thing). Right now for $29.99/month you can get 125+ channels, 30MB (soon to be 60MB) internet and unlimited phone bundled for 12 months without a contract. I'm not sure what that rises to after 12 months, but based on what I pay for the top package and see what that costs on an intro offer, I'm guessing it's probably another $10/month after the first year and possibly rental on the STB. I could be wrong but believe they have dropped any basic cable and low speed internet offerings, which is sad for low income subscribers if that is the case.
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Back in the analog days, OTA signals from Green Bay could be received in parts of northwest Michigan, although often not consistently. I imagine that no longer happens at all with digital signals, which don't travel as far as the analog signals did.
I think you're correct. When I looked at this a few years ago I had delusions that I might be able to receive a CBC signal out of the Soo. Other than reports of isolated skip situations, this is a pipe dream.

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post #1750 of 1760 Old 02-09-2014, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veedon View Post

I hope that the cable systems at least offer a fairly low price for a cable package that contains just the local stations. ...
 
I don't think they do offer such a package anymore, though I could be wrong and would encourage anybody with better info to post it. ...

 

I think federal law still requires cable companies to offer a very basic package containing the local channels.

However, lots of cable companies don't advertise those packages. Customers have to ask for the package.

Also, many people don't want that limited of a package. Sometimes cable companies will also require customers to subscribe to a higher level TV package in order to get a better bundle price on the internet service.

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post #1751 of 1760 Old 02-09-2014, 01:42 PM
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You might be correct, though I can't find anything to support that. This is what I found on the FCC's site and it would seem to give the cablecos a lot of latitude as to what their basic package consists of beyond the local broadcast stations and public access TV:
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Consumer Options for Selecting Cable Channels and the Tier Buy-Through Prohibition

Q: Who determines the programming services that are available on a cable television system?

A: In general, a cable television operator has the right to select the channels and services that are available on its cable system. With the exception of certain channels, such as local broadcast television channels, that are required to be carried by federal law, the cable operator has broad discretion in choosing the channels that will be available and how those channels will be packaged and marketed to subscribers. In order to maximize the number of subscribers, the cable operator selects channels that are likely to appeal to a broad spectrum of viewers.

Q: Can a cable subscriber be required to purchase a specific programming package?

A: Yes, in most cases. In general, cable companies are required to offer a basic service tier and all subscribers must purchase this tier before purchasing any other video programming. The basic service tier is required to include, at a minimum, the local broadcast television stations carried on the system and all of the public, educational, and governmental (PEG) access channels that the operator may be required to include pursuant to an agreement with the local government. After complying with these minimum requirements, the cable operator may offer additional programming as part of the basic service tier.

Q: Who determines how cable channels or programming services are packaged and marketed to subscribers?

A: Typically, with the exception of programming that is required to be carried on the basic tier, the cable operator and the entity that owns the channel or programming service may negotiate the terms and conditions that will govern the carriage of the channel or service on the cable system. This negotiation may include whether the channel or service will be offered in a package with other programming or whether the channel or service will be offered on a per-channel or pay-per-view basis.
https://www.fcc.gov/guides/consumer-options-selecting-cable-channels-and-tier-buy-through-prohibition

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post #1752 of 1760 Old 02-09-2014, 02:53 PM
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You might be correct, though I can't find anything to support that. This is what I found on the FCC's site and it would seem to give the cablecos a lot of latitude as to what their basic package consists of beyond the local broadcast stations and public access TV:
Quote:
Consumer Options for Selecting Cable Channels and the Tier Buy-Through Prohibition

Q: Who determines the programming services that are available on a cable television system?

A: In general, a cable television operator has the right to select the channels and services that are available on its cable system. With the exception of certain channels, such as local broadcast television channels, that are required to be carried by federal law, the cable operator has broad discretion in choosing the channels that will be available and how those channels will be packaged and marketed to subscribers. In order to maximize the number of subscribers, the cable operator selects channels that are likely to appeal to a broad spectrum of viewers.

Q: Can a cable subscriber be required to purchase a specific programming package?

A: Yes, in most cases. In general, cable companies are required to offer a basic service tier and all subscribers must purchase this tier before purchasing any other video programming. The basic service tier is required to include, at a minimum, the local broadcast television stations carried on the system and all of the public, educational, and governmental (PEG) access channels that the operator may be required to include pursuant to an agreement with the local government. After complying with these minimum requirements, the cable operator may offer additional programming as part of the basic service tier.

...

 

Well, that summary is a bit confusing because it would leave open the possibility that a cable company could add a whole bunch of "cable channels" (TBS, USA, ESPN, and so on) to the local channels and PEG channels and then force consumers to buy the whole package at a hefty price. But I think the bit about "purchase this tier before purchasing any other video programming" is meant to refer to a requirement that the company has to offer what I have called the "most basic package" that does not include all of those "cable channels". Otherwise, what is the point of the regulation? A company could add all sorts of nonsense and tell consumers to pay for the whole deal or get nothing at all.

 

The actual law might be clearer than the FCC's description.

 

For example, Time Warner Cable sells what is called "broadcast cable" (locals plus PEG channels) for $20 or so per month. Very few people buy that package, though. It is possible that the law does not require the company to offer that kind of package, but I kind of bet it does, because otherwise why would the cable company bother to offer a package that it doesn't even bother to advertise?

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post #1753 of 1760 Old 02-09-2014, 03:33 PM
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I did find on the FCC web site a reference to the portion of federal law that deals with the "basic service tier".

It's 47 U.S.C. 543(b)(7).

 

"Each cable operator of a cable system shall provide its subscribers a separately available basic service tier to which subscription is required for access to any other tier of service. ... <Then there is a description of some channels that must be part of the basic tier, such as locals and PEGs.> ... A cable operator may add additional video programming signals or services to the basic service tier. Any such additional signals or services provided on the basic service tier shall be provided to subscribers at rates determined under the regulations prescribed by the Commission under this subsection."

 

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/543

 

So it sounds as though there is some regulation prohibiting providers from requiring a subscriber to pay for ESPN to get the locals. But the regulation of rates is very weak, because if there is any effective competition from a satellite provider, then the local and state governments are prohibited from regulating the prices of the cable system's "basic tier".

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post #1754 of 1760 Old 02-09-2014, 03:34 PM
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Well, you got my curiosity piqued regarding what Charter's most basic cable package is so I just went on Live Chat and told them an elderly relative was moving to my neighborhood and just wanted the most basic TV package without internet or phone and this is what they said:

Gregory R: We do offer Basic TV service for around $30/month which includes 10-15 local channels (the same ones you get with an antenna)
Gregory R: That would not include receivers, each receiver is $6.99/month.
Gregory R: So when the all digital transition goes through she would need a receiver to watch those basic channels


I have to admit that is eye-opening as it appears that the cheapest option now will be ~ $37/month. I have pretty much every service they offer and can afford it, though for people on a fixed income that sounds like a bit of coin for very little, especially since there's little in the way of OTA channels available here and other cablecos are charging much less elsewhere by your description.

ETA: I found the Basic channel list and it actually has 17 channels plus HD equivalents of some. I don't know if the basic STB is HD capable or not these days. Out of that I would characterize 9 of them as "real" channels, 3 trying to sell you something and the rest as public access.

ETA 2: I missed the inspirational ones, so add another few channels to my tally.

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post #1755 of 1760 Old 02-09-2014, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by DocCasualty View Post

Well, you got my curiosity piqued regarding what Charter's most basic cable package is so I just went on Live Chat ...

Gregory R: We do offer Basic TV service for around $30/month which includes 10-15 local channels (the same ones you get with an antenna)
Gregory R: That would not include receivers, each receiver is $6.99/month.
Gregory R: So when the all digital transition goes through she would need a receiver to watch those basic channels


I have to admit that is eye-opening as it appears that the cheapest option now will be ~ $37/month. ...

 

I don't know whether Charter plans to do things similar to the way that Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and others have done when they discontinue analog cable service and convert to all-digital lineups, but if so, people might not have to pay $7 per month to rent a set-top box for each set,

 

What some companies have been doing is offering DTA's (digital television adapters), either for "free" or for a rental fee of a couple of bucks per month. A DTA does not provide interactive menus and video-on-demand services like a full-fledged set-top box does. A DTA just unencrypts any encrypted signals, and it also can convert digital to analog for use by an older TV set that does not have a digital tuner.

 

Until recently, cable systems provided all of the local channels in "clear QAM" (not encrypted), so you could just plug the cable into the back of a digital TV set and the TV set's QAM tuner  would tune the station. But now the FCC has given the cable companies that go all-digital permission to encrypt all of the channels, including the locals, so people will typically need either a set-top box or a DTA for each TV set.

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post #1756 of 1760 Old 02-09-2014, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by veedon View Post

I don't know whether Charter plans to do things similar to the way that Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and others have done when they discontinue analog cable service and convert to all-digital lineups, but if so, people might not have to pay $7 per month to rent a set-top box for each set,

What some companies have been doing is offering DTA's (digital television adapters), either for "free" or for a rental fee of a couple of bucks per month. A DTA does not provide interactive menus and video-on-demand services like a full-fledged set-top box does. A DTA just unencrypts any encrypted signals, and it also can convert digital to analog for use by an older TV set that does not have a digital tuner.
I believe there is a Fed law that mandates this for free for ? 2 years and 5 years for Medicaid recipients, then the fees would apply.
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Until recently, cable systems provided all of the local channels in "clear QAM" (not encrypted), so you could just plug the cable into the back of a digital TV set and the TV set's QAM tuner  would tune the station. But now the FCC has given the cable companies that go all-digital permission to encrypt all of the channels, including the locals, so people will typically need either a set-top box or a DTA for each TV set.
There's a thread here on AVS about this and it appears that everywhere that has gone digital to date has encrypted QAM. I suspect that will be the case in my area as well but will check it out next month when it occurs. I do understand the cable theft aspect of this but it really is too bad that all of our QAM tuners have or will become bricks.

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post #1757 of 1760 Old 02-09-2014, 04:22 PM
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There's a thread here on AVS about this and it appears that everywhere that has gone digital to date has encrypted QAM. I suspect that will be the case in my area as well but will check it out next month when it occurs. I do understand the cable theft aspect of this but it really is too bad that all of our QAM tuners have or will become bricks.

 

Yes, but IMHO clear QAM has always been a bit of a pain because the cable company changes the QAM channel locations without notice, and then you have to re-scan and hope that the scan will pick up the new location. I also don't like crazy QAM channel numbers such as 85-7.

 

But I suppose you are used to strange channel numbers. I remember even back in the days of analog OTA broadcasts wondering how one could be watching the newscast for channel 9 AND channel 10 at the same time. (Same thing with channels 4 and 7.) That was before I learned that there were transmitters broadcasting the same programming from different locations on different RF channels. Now with digital broadcasting, you have more fun things, like channel 32 hanging out as a subchannel of another channel.

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post #1758 of 1760 Old 02-09-2014, 04:51 PM
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Yes, but IMHO clear QAM has always been a bit of a pain because the cable company changes the QAM channel locations without notice, and then you have to re-scan and hope that the scan will pick up the new location. I also don't like crazy QAM channel numbers such as 85-7.
That is true. My old Panny Plasma is somewhat of a pain too in that regard as its scanner didn't do a very good job of weeding out the encrypted channels but now that I also have this new Samsung Smart TV that does that, I can go back and more easily fine tune the Panny's channel lineup. My hope was that things would become relatively static with channel lineups once the final transition took place. My guess is that they will, though we'll never know now will we?

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post #1759 of 1760 Old 02-17-2014, 08:32 PM
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Back in the analog days, OTA signals from Green Bay could be received in parts of northwest Michigan, although often not consistently. I imagine that no longer happens at all with digital signals, which don't travel as far as the analog signals did.

DTV signals are not per se unable to "travel as far" at analog did. The main differences are that one, a weak signal that would have produced a poor picture on analog will produce none on digital, and, two, many stations that were on VHF before the transition are on UHF now, in which case reception can be more difficult if surrounded by trees (this was true in analog - getting 29 on Deadstream Road, the NE shore of Platte Lake, was a lost cause, thought it would come in fine a few miles further away on the SW shore of the same lake).

Tropo over the lake on warm summer days will bring the digitals in over the lake if you are near the lake. I have seen UHF DTV from Chicago at Manistique - with the antenna being an unfurled jumbo paper clip. A larger antenna downstate netted more than half an hour of perfect HD from Rapid City, SD - 1,010 miles (that took a much less common phenomenon called sporadic E skip).

@DocCasualty: You won't see CBC from the Soo because CBC no longer has a transmitter there at all. CBC has repositioned themselves as an upscale arts and news broadcaster catering to urban audiences, and only broadcasts OTA (radio or TV) in the larger urban areas (rural CBC TV repeaters, AM and shortwave radio repeaters have been closed). Rural viewers can get CBC TV if they are willing to pay extra for it.
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post #1760 of 1760 Old 02-18-2014, 06:12 AM
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@DocCasualty: You won't see CBC from the Soo because CBC no longer has a transmitter there at all. CBC has repositioned themselves as an upscale arts and news broadcaster catering to urban audiences, and only broadcasts OTA (radio or TV) in the larger urban areas (rural CBC TV repeaters, AM and shortwave radio repeaters have been closed). Rural viewers can get CBC TV if they are willing to pay extra for it.
Thanks for the update. This was actually years ago that I was looking into what I could possibly get OTA.

I was just talking with somebody who lives in St. Ignace yesterday and their CBC cable feed is CBMT Montreal, so now I know why.

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