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post #1 of 6675 Old 09-30-2004, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Welcome to the Hampton Roads (Virginia) Over-The-Air (OTA) thread for the 4th quarter of 2004.

HISTORY
On March 22, 2001, WAVY-DT started operation as the first DTV station in Hampton Roads. Early adopters of the (then) expensive, new technology started a dialog between themselves and the engineering personnel at the local stations. Topics involved start-up times for the various stations, programming availability and reception problems. These sporadic conversations eventually led to the formation of The Official SE Virginia/NE North Carolina Thread in February 2002. That thread proved to be beneficial for the viewers and the engineering staffs as not all consumer equipment functions the same way.

PURPOSE
While the Official SE Virginia/NE North Carolina Thread is still active on the Forum, the technology of OTA DTV in Hampton Roads has stabilized and newer technologies for the delivery and recording of DTV source material has become the primary topic of conversation of that thread. The engineering managers of the local television stations are creating this thread specifically for conversations and information regarding the OTA DTV service in Hampton Roads.

It is important for the people who subscribe to or just read this thread to understand that television broadcasting is a business. These businesses are not run by committee. All of the commercial stations in the Hampton Roads market are owned and operated by larger corporations. Those corporations have publically traded stock and are under constant pressure to show growth in profits. While the DTV service is now stable and growing, total viewership, nationwide, is just now approaching five percent (5%). For this reason the NTSC, or analog, television service is still the primary money maker for the local television stations. In most cases, the engineering managers are the principle contacts for information on DTV technology. We do not control the programming or other non-technology aspects of the stations. We welcome your technical questions and inquiries.

RULES
The rules of engagement for the Hampton Roads OTA thread are similar to those that were posted for the Official SE Virginia/NE North Carolina thread. They are:
  • Topics should focus on over-the-air digital television or carriage of those signals by third party vendors such as cable or direct broadcast satellite services. This narrow focus is due to the limited amount of time the engineering managers can dedicate to participate in this thread,
  • No personal attacks or name calling.
  • Understanding & tolerance are the first orders of the day (as we are a diverse group of people meeting in a common area).
  • Courtesy is the second order of the day (as we are a diverse group of people meeting in a common area).
  • The Hampton Roads OTA thread is not the complaint counter between the viewers and the stations.
PARTICIPANTS
The engineering managers subscribing to this thread are:

Bill Barber
Chief Engineer
WTVZ-TV/DT
bbarber@wtvz.sbgnet.com
Station telephone: 757.622.3333

Les Garrenton
Director of Engineering
WAVY-TV/DT and WVBT-TV/DT
les.garrenton@wavy.com
Station telephone: 757.393-1010

John Heimerl
General Manager
WHRO-TV/DT
jheimerl@whro.org
Station telephone: 757.889.9400

George Randell
Chief Engineer
WGNT-TV/DT
gmrandell@wgnttv.com
Station telephone: 757.393.2501

For pressing matters, station engineers can usually be contacted - during business hours - via the telephone numbers listed above.

For information concerning the orientation of an antenna for Over The Air (OTA) reception, click here for the CEA's antenna mapping utility program.

For "newbies," there are two new web sites:
  • CheckHD is a cross-industry, cross-network collaborative web site sponsored by Decisionmark.
  • DTV.gov is a government sponsored web site.
Both sites are offered to help viewers make the transition from analog to digital broadcasting. Please check these sites before posting equipment or reception problems to this thread.

Peter Dennant
XBE Group
[former Director of Engineering for WVEC-TV/DT]
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post #2 of 6675 Old 09-30-2004, 03:35 PM
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... than none. Thanks Peter! :-)

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post #3 of 6675 Old 09-30-2004, 03:38 PM
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Hey all,

A newbie here to HDTV. Getting all channels except 10 and 33. Ironically no problem getting WUND-DT.

Using rabbit ears. I'm about 19 miles away from the antennas in Suffolk...

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post #4 of 6675 Old 09-30-2004, 03:49 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by pdennant
Lastly, we will be moving some more bandwidth - small amounts - from 13-2 to 13-1 for better MNF broadcasts.

WOW! I got caught between threads! It was kinda like a time warp!

Peter, I know that this was asked earlier, but I didn't see a reply to it.

I can only guess what your gizmo that side-converts to 1080i may have cost. But... is it even feasable to experiment with passing ABC's 720p signal? It may be a more efficient use of available bandwidth and may also help with motion artifacts.

I remember that the original intent of the side-conversion was to improve picture quality, with a better scaler than those in our ATSC tuners. Now it "seems" that bandwidth is having a greater effect than scaling (i.e. ESPN & Fox).

Couldn't this be a "win/win" for you? You have THE unique (720p availability) opportunity to test it (given equipment capabilities) and a strong argument for multicasting. Or am I totally off-base?

Was ABC right? I'd love to see what happens! (Just the "Rocket-Scientist" in me )

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post #5 of 6675 Old 09-30-2004, 04:18 PM
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I think John is on to something, but I've been afraid to bring it up. If possible, it would be great to try it out.
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post #6 of 6675 Old 09-30-2004, 07:19 PM
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I would just like to say that I appreciate the efforts the station engineers put into all of this, the investment the stations have made, and I really can't understand why Neilsen doesn't even rate DTV reception. I mean, don't the broadcasters pay for Neilsen? If you're putting so much money into it, I don't understand why you aren't forcing them to rate it.

Maybe if they start providing DTV ratings, accounting will ask what to do to make DTV viewers even happier....

Bruce
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post #7 of 6675 Old 10-01-2004, 03:17 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Bruce Lowekamp
I would just like to say that I appreciate the efforts the station engineers put into all of this, the investment the stations have made, and I really can't understand why Neilsen doesn't even rate DTV reception. I mean, don't the broadcasters pay for Neilsen? If you're putting so much money into it, I don't understand why you aren't forcing them to rate it.

Maybe if they start providing DTV ratings, accounting will ask what to do to make DTV viewers even happier....

Bruce

Bruce,

Good question... You can one more household into the Hampton Roads DTV viewership. I will never, ever go back to analog. How can I after seeing what SD and HD broadcasts look like...

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post #8 of 6675 Old 10-01-2004, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


Originally posted by johncchester
I remember that the original intent of the side-conversion was to improve picture quality, with a better scaler than those in our ATSC tuners. Now it "seems" that bandwidth is having a greater effect than scaling (i.e. ESPN & Fox).

Good memory John. While I think your suggestion has merit, the decision to side convert from 720p to 1080i was made at the corporate level. Of the 21 stations Belo owns (in 17 markets), only 4 are ABC affiliates. They made the decision that all of their stations were to broadcast 1080i. I checked back with them a year or so ago - when Fox made the announcement that they would take the 720p road - and was told to stay 1080i. I'll check again as it is something I am curious about.

Quote:


Originally posted by Bruce Lowekamp
...I really can't understand why Neilsen doesn't even rate DTV reception. I mean, don't the broadcasters pay for Neilsen? If you're putting so much money into it, I don't understand why you aren't forcing them to rate it.

You need to understand how Neilsen works: They are not out looking for DTV viewers. They are looking for viewers - preferably families with a good demographic spread (Dad, Mom, a teenager or two and a preteen) - who typify an average viewing environment. They go about selecting "families" from some type of pool. If that family is willing to participate for five years, Neilsen sends in technicians who wire all their viewing electronics (TVs, recording/playback devices, video games, etc) to their sampling computer. IF that family has a DTV receiver, that will be wired up too. Earlier this year, only two of their families - nationally - had DTV receivers: One in San Diego and the other in San Francisco.

This speaks to the fact that, while there is a good core of DTV enthusiasts, that core is, unfortunately, still a small percentage of the total viewing public.

Peter Dennant
XBE Group
[former Director of Engineering for WVEC-TV/DT]
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post #9 of 6675 Old 10-01-2004, 08:54 AM
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I agree with John . ABC should just pass 720p and not to upconvert the signal to 1080i. Maybe ABC can experiement with this. Peter you thnk you can run an experiement like this and have people give you feedback??

I know that FOX's is advertising that they are using 720p with 5.1 Dolby Digital durning there broadcast of games.
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post #10 of 6675 Old 10-01-2004, 03:31 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by pdennant

You need to understand how Neilsen works: They are not out looking for DTV viewers. They are looking for viewers - preferably families with a good demographic spread (Dad, Mom, a teenager or two and a preteen) - who typify an average viewing environment. They go about selecting "families" from some type of pool. If that family is willing to participate for five years, Neilsen sends in technicians who wire all their viewing electronics (TVs, recording/playback devices, video games, etc) to their sampling computer. IF that family has a DTV receiver, that will be wired up too. Earlier this year, only two of their families - nationally - had DTV receivers: One in San Diego and the other in San Francisco.

This speaks to the fact that, while there is a good core of DTV enthusiasts, that core is, unfortunately, still a small percentage of the total viewing public.

Interesting. I think I read somewhere that if you watched DTV or Tivo (until the last couple of months), they wouldn't measure your viewing because they lacked the technology to observe it (i.e. they had TVs and cable tuners, but not Tivos and DTV receivers). I know for a fact that they didn't monitor Tivos until very, very recently. If they do have DTV receivers that work, but there's just not enough use of them to be statistically significant, I guess that's another thing.

Actually, I think their previous policy of ignoring Tivo usage already caused lots of methodology questions in their results---especially considering the popularity of PVRs with D* and E* subscribers. Unfortunately, already predisposing their surveys against the high end.

Bruce
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post #11 of 6675 Old 10-01-2004, 04:47 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by pdennant
...the decision to side convert from 720p to 1080i was made at the corporate level...and was told to stay 1080i. I'll check again as it is something I am curious about.

Oh... so the suits vs. techs battle still rages, eh.

IF they could accept such an experiment, how tough would it be, technically, for you guys to switch to and pass 720p?

PLEASE keep us posted!

John Chester

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post #12 of 6675 Old 10-02-2004, 12:44 PM
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Serious lip sync issues with the 3:30 ball game...

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post #13 of 6675 Old 10-02-2004, 01:55 PM
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Great job Peter.

'Better Living Through Modern, Expensive, Electronic Devices'

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post #14 of 6675 Old 10-03-2004, 12:08 PM
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Ive often wondered why stations multicast on the digital spectrum if there is no ratings data?
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post #15 of 6675 Old 10-03-2004, 01:55 PM
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What's the deal with no HD on Ch. 3? I'm getting an HD feed over D*'s East Coast feed (CBS) but not on our local CBS station?

This really makes the fact that D* blacks out the ST games that your local station provides a slap in the face when the game is in HD but your local is not carrying it

Life is good...
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post #16 of 6675 Old 10-03-2004, 04:02 PM
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Congradulations Les on the excellent NASCAR (10-1) and Redskins (43-1) presentations today. I wore out the remote switching back and forth....

Interesting that Directv's national HD feed from NY had serious audio problems. It alternated between missing, studdering and popping. Lip-sync problems on the post race interviews was very evident. I didn't see it on WAVY-DT. I would have assumed the feed was the same. Maybe just a Directv problem?

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post #17 of 6675 Old 10-03-2004, 04:23 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by hjriver
Interesting that Directv's national HD feed from NY had serious audio problems. It alternated between missing, studdering and popping. Lip-sync problems on the post race interviews was very evident. I didn't see it on WAVY-DT. I would have assumed the feed was the same. Maybe just a Directv problem? [/b]

Interesting...I only noted a couple of stuttering problems but nothing else. Maybe I was not paying enough attention

Life is good...
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post #18 of 6675 Old 10-03-2004, 05:57 PM
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WTKR-DT

I understand there was a problem with the NY/Miami game at 4pm. I just got back in to town (8:45p). I will check with CBS in the morning and report back here. It was schedule to be in HD.

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post #19 of 6675 Old 10-03-2004, 06:48 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by hjriver
Congratulations Les on the excellent NASCAR (10-1) and Redskins (43-1) presentations today.....

Strange... WAVY's race looked like the fuzzy old "Fox-480-Widescreen" to me... (@55") i.e. LOUSY. Glad I'm not a NASCAR fan. I'd have been p!ssed.

BTW... HDNet's broadcast of the Busch race was in SPECTACULAR HD.

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post #20 of 6675 Old 10-03-2004, 07:30 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by johncchester
Strange... WAVY's race looked like the fuzzy old "Fox-480-Widescreen" to me... (@55") i.e. LOUSY. Glad I'm not a NASCAR fan. I'd have been p!ssed.

BTW... HDNet's broadcast of the Busch race was in SPECTACULAR HD.

NBC's broadcasts this year ARE the same as FOX's 480 widescreen. I'm just glad they had it instead of TNT this time. It's obviously not HD, but looks better than regular TV. However, ALL NASCAR races on FOX, NBC, and TNT next year WILL be in HD!! Yeah! And yes, the NASCAR races on HDNet (Busch North and West series races, not the regular Busch series) do look excellent as did the CHAMP car races...

Edit: For Typo.
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post #21 of 6675 Old 10-03-2004, 07:40 PM
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I happened to see some of the race on 10-1 and it indeed looked bad like the old Fox widescreen non HD.
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post #22 of 6675 Old 10-04-2004, 03:36 AM
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CBS start their first game in SD and switched to HD, but the last time I switched back it was back to SD. The 4pm game was all in SD. Hopefully it will be fix tonight and next weekend.

Let us know what happened.
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post #23 of 6675 Old 10-04-2004, 07:39 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Theo1080
WTKR-DT

I understand there was a problem with the NY/Miami game at 4pm. I just got back in to town (8:45p). I will check with CBS in the morning and report back here. It was schedule to be in HD.

Fair enough and thanks!

PS- Doesn't your contract state anything about not being allowed to leave during Sundays in the Fall/Winter?

Life is good...
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post #24 of 6675 Old 10-04-2004, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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The new High Definition information site sponsored by Decisionmark - ChechHD.com - is now active. If you are a "newbie" to digital and high definition television, I strongly urge you to puruse this web site.

Quote:


Originally posted by johncchester
IF they could accept such an experiment, how tough would it be, technically, for you guys to switch to and pass 720p?

It wouldn't be hard to pass the 720p directly. The question comes later down the road when WVEC starts building out an infrastructure to store, forward and originate HD content. While there is certainly more 720p equipment available now then there was five years ago, the 1080i equipment is certainly more established and available. Who knows, it may all be a moot subject by the time it makes a real difference: 1080p could be ready to go by then.

Don't expect any experiments at WVEC soon...there are far too many other, more important projects going on as we get ready for the November sweep period (11/4 - 12/1) that starts in a month (not to mention the upcoming election).

Peter Dennant
XBE Group
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post #25 of 6675 Old 10-04-2004, 11:39 AM
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1080p?

Im sure that would require even more precious bandwidth that no one has. But, I suppose the response is WM9 or something requiring new equipment for the broadcaster and the consumer. If equpiment for WM9 ever becomes common place wouldnt it be prudent to just try and get the 720p and 1080i right, ie give it the bandwidth it needs along with the multicast stations? Wouldnt 1080p just eat up any benefits that a better compression scheme brings and we'd be back to pixelation and macroblocking issues? Sounds funny saying it but I think most would "settle" for perfect 1080i and 720p video at a bitrate under WM9 equivalent to 19 mbps under mpeg2. But I think thats a big ole "fat chance" too.
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Slight lip-sync issue on CBS primetime tonight...

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post #27 of 6675 Old 10-05-2004, 03:57 AM
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Man...I thought MNF last night was supurb!!! No PQ issues as there was in last week's game. The colors in the Raven's jersey's was impressive!!!

Murphy's New Law --
"If it doesn't fit, force it.
If it breaks it was meant to"
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post #28 of 6675 Old 10-06-2004, 04:02 AM
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Ted... No lip-sync issues between 7-8PM...

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post #29 of 6675 Old 10-06-2004, 06:42 PM
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Amazing...the atmosphere must be real good tonight. I am getting in 33-1 and 33-2 perfectly with no reception problems! Strength is only around 50%, yet it works. One issue though, I ran across "The Mountain" at 9pm and it appears to be HD, but it is squished, making it letterboxed on my widescreen TV.

It's nice to see some HD working at WTVZ though!
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Quote:


Originally posted by Todd
Amazing...the atmosphere must be real good tonight. I am getting in 33-1 and 33-2 perfectly with no reception problems! Strength is only around 50%, yet it works. One issue though, I ran across "The Mountain" at 9pm and it appears to be HD, but it is squished, making it letterboxed on my widescreen TV.

It's nice to see some HD working at WTVZ though!

Todd... You got me thinking. I'm using a cheapo $10 RS VHF/UHF antenna you sit on top of the tube. I moved the antenna in a completely different location and couldn't believe my eyes. Maybe it's the atmosphere, maybe it's the new antenna location... WAVY, WVBT, WTKR, WVEC, WPXV were all hovering around 90 in signal strength on my HD TiVo box. WTVZ (and WHRO) was no lower than the mid-60s! I did lose WUND but a 45 degree turn of the box would easily fix that. WTVZ-HD 33.2 was in stretch-o-vision during the late night hours...

PS: I'm 20 miles away near the Courthouse in VB...

Robert F Corbin
VARTV.com | Virginia Media News & Information


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