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post #631 of 1604 Old 01-27-2007, 09:27 AM
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I had the craziest problem this week. I had NCIS and The Unit set up to record from KEPR-HD and only got one of two. I am recording using a ViP622 and using the setting to record only new episods.

I watched NCIS and it was fine (little late turning on HD), but when I went to watch the Unit, I instead got Two and a Half men and then that Christine show. Did my DVR freak out or was the Unit even on this week.

The time stamp on the recording looked correct.

Thanks,

John
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post #632 of 1604 Old 01-27-2007, 10:52 AM
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Anyone else not seeing KEPR-HD (19-1)

Won't come up on a rescan either. Was so hoping to see golf for the first time in HD today. Not sure how longs its not been broadcasting.
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post #633 of 1604 Old 01-27-2007, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bizeesheri View Post

Anyone else not seeing KEPR-HD (19-1)

Won't come up on a rescan either. Was so hoping to see golf for the first time in HD today. Not sure how longs its not been broadcasting.

Whew!!! They started transmitting at 11:58. After watching the first two rounds on the Golf Channel in SD, what a difference in PQ.
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post #634 of 1604 Old 01-27-2007, 02:44 PM
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Looks good. When I wonder how good the HD looks, I quickly change the channel to the SD just to remind me.

Can someone explain why the PBS station (I'm getting all my HD OTA), looks SO MUCH better than the networks? It just seems to really jump out at me more than the other channels. In fact, I watch more PBS now because of it.
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post #635 of 1604 Old 01-27-2007, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firebolt View Post

I had the craziest problem this week. I had NCIS and The Unit set up to record from KEPR-HD and only got one of two. I am recording using a ViP622 and using the setting to record only new episods.

I watched NCIS and it was fine (little late turning on HD), but when I went to watch the Unit, I instead got Two and a Half men and then that Christine show. Did my DVR freak out or was the Unit even on this week.

The time stamp on the recording looked correct.

Thanks,

John

I think it got bumped off the schedule because of the State of the Union Address running during Prime Time on the East Coast. I am pretty sure it was a rerun that was scheduled this week.

-YakHDTV06
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post #636 of 1604 Old 01-30-2007, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bizeesheri View Post

Looks good. When I wonder how good the HD looks, I quickly change the channel to the SD just to remind me.

Can someone explain why the PBS station (I'm getting all my HD OTA), looks SO MUCH better than the networks? It just seems to really jump out at me more than the other channels. In fact, I watch more PBS now because of it.

I agree with your observation that our KTNW-HD ch 31.1 seems to have a better picture more of the time. I don't claim to have all the answers, since KTNW has a sub channel and is not devoting the maximum data bits to picture quality. Thus other factors are involved. I can share a few such factors that I have read about.

First is the picture quality of the source material they broadcast. In a number of cases, especially movies and reruns of older material, a digital copy must be made from film or even videotape. Taking the film example, each frame of film must be digitized, just like you would scan a photo into your PC. Since film runs at 24 frames per second, as scan resolution goes up, it takes longer and thus costs more to create a digtital copy of a movie or TV program at maximum HD quality. I have read of cases where networks and HBO etc. have apparently used such digital masters created for DVD production, which are NOT as high a resolution as HDTV. If they just upscale such DVD masters instead of paying for a new HD digital master copy of the movie, we see the result in HD as "soft" resolution.

Second, HDTV camera lenses vary in quality. HD broadcast lenses used to cost several hundred thousand dollars each! Prices are coming down now, so better lenses are more likely, but a lot of cheap ones are probably still around. So some production companies may be using cheaper HD lenses on their cameras than others, and this shows up in the finished product. Portable HD cameras used in the field are almost certain to have lower quality lenses, since good HD lenses are large and heavy and not very portable. I have seen sports broadcasts that still are using old SD cameras for some of their cameras, and quite often still use SD equipment for "replays" that is just upscaled to HD. Resolution is not the only factor, since contrast and color accuracy are also very important in lens design, and and to get good blacks and colors costs money for a good lens.

Lens quality is quite obvious in the consumer digital cameras on market that advertise "5 megapixel" chips, but put cheap lenses on the camera that don't even have 2 megapixel resolution. Look at any catalog of high end digital cameras with interchangeable lenses and you will see lenses costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars to fully utilize the resolution of 5+ megapixel chips.


Third, I have read that some stations use analog equipment to insert their ads into the HD program from the network. In some cases they may convert the network HD digital stream to analog, insert their analog TV ad, and then re-digitize and upscale the mix back to 720 or 1080. If they leave this equipment in the loop and have D to A and A to D conversions even during the HD programs, picture quality loss is inevitable. Since KTNW-HD is not inserting local ads, perhaps this may be a cause. IF the station Logo appears down in a corner of a HD network program, I wonder how they superimposed that logo locally and are they using fully HD compatible digital mixer equipment to do that logo insertion?

Finally there is compression. We see a program after a long chain from the source to our HD sets. This chain may include wires, fiber optics, satellite and microwave links. Each has a bandwidth limit, and most are sending more than one program stream over the system. By compressing the data more they get more programs onto their transmission at the same time- read more revenue!!!! The temptation is to shave bits off the signals of everyone.

I think it boils down to human management decisions which balance picture quality vs. quantity and reducing picture quality often means more revenue. Since PBS is not a profit making organization, perhaps the pressure to shave quality is not as strong on the PBS HD network. Since most people are still watching network programs in SD on old analog sets, some in in broadcasting may decide, "why spend more money" for just a few HD viewers, since they will watch our program anyway?
It takes management commitment to get maximum quality. I see this in DirecTV's HD channels where HDNet and HDNet Movies ( run by HD promoter Mark Cuban) and HD Discovery channels consistently have better picture quality than the others most of the time.

I am sure no one on this forum is guilty of the following causes of poor picture quality, but a survey of people with "digital" cable found over half thought they also had HDTV on an analog TV! Many people buying HDTV sets do not connect them to the HD inputs, or even subscribe to HD program material and then complain that HDTV is not "any better", so a lot of education of viewers on how to connect HDTV is still needed. That is where forums such as this will help.

I am sure there are other factors, and even corrections to my understandings, so I welcome other posts.

Don
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post #637 of 1604 Old 01-30-2007, 04:18 PM
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Don, well said in your post above, and you are generally right on. One minor point I would like to make though..

The stations that take HD network feeds and have to insert local commercials do not work the way you described (or at least they really, really shouldn't). The HD content from the network is passed through to you with the ATSC compression added right before the transmitter. When they go to local commercials, they will upconvert those to HD and insert that HD feed into the path, which is why the local stuff may not look as good. It shouldn't affect the network feed in any way.

I can't comment on a particular station, but I can say that I'm sure the bug generator is digital HD. It would be crazy to downconvert the whole thing to SD to insert a bug. There really isn't any analog HD production gear.

If you search for my recent posts you will see one in the LCD forum about compression for broadcast that you may find interesting. Sort of a perspective of bit rates and bandwidth.

-Erik
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post #638 of 1604 Old 01-31-2007, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikU View Post

Don, well said in your post above, and you are generally right on. One minor point I would like to make though..

The stations that take HD network feeds and have to insert local commercials do not work the way you described (or at least they really, really shouldn't). The HD content from the network is passed through to you with the ATSC compression added right before the transmitter. When they go to local commercials, they will upconvert those to HD and insert that HD feed into the path, which is why the local stuff may not look as good. It shouldn't affect the network feed in any way.

I can't comment on a particular station, but I can say that I'm sure the bug generator is digital HD. It would be crazy to downconvert the whole thing to SD to insert a bug. There really isn't any analog HD production gear.

If you search for my recent posts you will see one in the LCD forum about compression for broadcast that you may find interesting. Sort of a perspective of bit rates and bandwidth.

-Erik

Thanks very much for the informative answer from one who knows . As I said, most of my post was based on reading about this question over the past 7 years and seeing wide picture quality variations in HD programs. My description of the analog casuses came from a google search , which is probably outdated info which is why I requested any corrections to my post. In the past I have shot and edited several hour long church related analog videos and have used chroma/luma key overlays including blue screen mixing of two scenes, so I have seen first hand the picture degradation such analog methods can produce. Good computer based digital mixing that I do now can be perfect, but I have not graduated to HD digital production yet.

I agree that it is crazy to take an outstanding network HD feed that cost a lot to produce, and then degrade it. However, we do see HD program quality differences on various HD channels and HD networks that are not true "HD" quality" and wonder why it happens.

Thanks again. It is reassuring that more and more broadcasters of HD material are interested in quality. They will be rewarded as more and more viewers SEE the difference it makes.

Don
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post #639 of 1604 Old 01-31-2007, 05:12 PM
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I made my comment after watching Greys Anatomy and Ghost Whisperer because I thought they were noted as HD. I caught the tail end of the weekend Today show and it looked good. I guess its just dependent as you said on the filming.

Guess that we should expect more and more better quality as time goes on. With more folks getting HD tv's the demand keeps growing for great content.

Thanks for your well, thought out answer.
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post #640 of 1604 Old 02-01-2007, 07:16 AM
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As our local broadcast TV channels are broadcasting OTA more and more HD programming, these channels are being added to the local Charter Cable lineup. Later this year DirecTV is planning to add HD local channels and I assume Dish will do this too.

Other viewers around the country have noticed in their area that some local cable companies compress the local HD channels more to get more HD channels into limited bandwidth. The result is these viewers report getting a better picture off an antenna OTA than on their cable feed. The same can happen with satellite feeds.

This does NOT need to happen, since from a technical point of view both digital cable and satellite are fully capable of retransmitting the local TV stations HD feeds as perfect copies of what one would get OTA.

Thus it comes back to the same point I posted above- management commitment to HD quality! However, there is a strong temptation on the part of cable companies to use bandwidth for other services such as broadband internet and now telephone service which is in direct competition with allocating maximum bandwidth to their local HD network channels.

In our local case I would like to see some forum posts here from those subscribing to Charter Cable's HD feeds of our local HD TV stations vs. the picture quality they get from an OTA antenna on the same HD programs. I hope the answer is the PQ is the same.

I plan to subscribe to DirecTV's local channel HD feeds when they are available later this year, an will do some A vs. B tests of DirecTV vs OTA HD on the same programs, and will report the results I see. DirecTV has had complaints in the past about over compressing channels, and I hope they will not need to do this with their new satellites. However, I am prepared to switch to Charter if DirecTV disappoints me, and Charter should realize that the opposite is true if they shortchange their subscribers by "bit shaving" our local TV station HD channels.

Only by making clear to all companies selling HD program services, that they have an obligation to maintain HD quality bitstream rates can we avoid companies selling "HD services" that are less than HD quality. There are few legal requirements defining what is "HD picture quality" so viewer choice driving competition is important .

Don
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post #641 of 1604 Old 02-02-2007, 12:52 AM
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KIMA-HD started in mono SD for a CSI Repeat at 8PM. About 15 minutes later the HD was finally turned on. Then during the new 9PM CSI episode, the HD was turned off during the commericals about half way through probably to show local ads. I kept waiting figuring the person at the studio just forgot to turn the HD back on but it was mono SD and the HD never came back on during the 9PM CSI or Shark at 10PM.

I know that I probably should let this go and give KIMA some slack for their recent progress. However, I can't because even though the main part of their 11PM news is now out of Tri-Cities, I know there had to be someone there because their Weatherman who originates from the Yakima station came on during a commercial break and they had the usual local thing telling you what is coming up on the news during the last 15 minutes of the show. So someone was operating things at the Yakima station.

I hope this is just a temporary problem for KIMA since we already had to wait 2-3 years longer than we probably should have for Over-the-air HD broadcasts on this channel. I think I will wait a little while longer to bring up the other things that still need to be improved at KIMA to give them the chance to improve them on their own.

-YakHDTV06
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post #642 of 1604 Old 02-02-2007, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donshan View Post

In our local case I would like to see some forum posts here from those subscribing to Charter Cable's HD feeds of our local HD TV stations vs. the picture quality they get from an OTA antenna on the same HD programs. I hope the answer is the PQ is the same.

Its pretty close to OTA for the locals. I notice nothing different from an OTA picture and what is coming through from Charter. It looks really really good. The rest of thier HD channels do not suffer from any type of bandwidth issues. Infact, I think they have a ton of bandwidth available for more HD channels. My old man is getting E* installed tomorrow at his house, so we will see how the two compare.

Only thing that just kills me about charter is their DVR, the Moxi box, and what it does to analog channels. Somehow it destroys the analogs so they look washed out and snowy. When Im forced to watch fox, this is an issue. If you use a regular non DVR HD box from charter you do not have this analog issues. No, this is not an issue just i have, its on all Moxi boxes. I complain to charter and basically am told its a known issue, nothing we can do.
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post #643 of 1604 Old 02-02-2007, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YakHDTV06 View Post

KIMA-HD started in mono SD for a CSI Repeat at 8PM. About 15 minutes later the HD was finally turned on. Then during the new 9PM CSI episode, the HD was turned off during the commericals about half way through probably to show local ads. I kept waiting figuring the person at the studio just forgot to turn the HD back on but it was mono SD and the HD never came back on during the 9PM CSI or Shark at 10PM.

I know that I probably should let this go and give KIMA some slack for their recent progress. However, I can't because even though the main part of their 11PM news is now out of Tri-Cities, I know there had to be someone there because their Weatherman who originates from the Yakima station came on during a commercial break and they had the usual local thing telling you what is coming up on the news during the last 15 minutes of the show. So someone was operating things at the Yakima station.

I hope this is just a temporary problem for KIMA since we already had to wait 2-3 years longer than we probably should have for Over-the-air HD broadcasts on this channel. I think I will wait a little while longer to bring up the other things that still need to be improved at KIMA to give them the chance to improve them on their own.

-YakHDTV06

I watched the 9PM CSI on KEPR-HD and saw similar switching from HD to SD, so what you saw is probably not an issue just with KIMA. I recorded this 9PM CSI episode on TIVO so I went back today and looked at it again. The program was in great HD for the first half hour, with the ads appearing with black sidebars. Then at the half hour ad slot the black sidebars disappeared with switching to full screen, but sometimes I thought it might be an HD ad- too short to be sure. This cut in and out at least two times during the last half, and appeared that the black bars were back again during ads at the end of the recording. I did not watch Shark,

I believe Fisher is in the process of setting up a master control system from Seattle for all their stations, so this could be testing of that system, since we both saw the same thing. Or it might be an error at the network level, but it is unlikely to be a local station problem since it occurred on both KIMA and KEPR at the same time.

I think it is nothing to worry about. They really need to run equipment tests on HD network programs to be sure they get everything ready for mixing ads into the game program feed for the Super Bowl. Those Super Bowl ads cost $2.5 million bucks a pop so they need everything runniing right for the Big Show! This will work out in soon I think. Those ads a pay the ticket price for us and are often better entertainment than the game! I fully expect to see a lot of HD ads during the Super Bowl, so switching between national and local ads could be an issue.

I have a crowd coming over for the KEPR-HD Super Bowl, and remain confident they want a good presentation then!

Don
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post #644 of 1604 Old 02-02-2007, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by mike41423 View Post

Its pretty close to OTA for the locals. I notice nothing different from an OTA picture and what is coming through from Charter. It looks really really good. The rest of thier HD channels do not suffer from any type of bandwidth issues. Infact, I think they have a ton of bandwidth available for more HD channels. My old man is getting E* installed tomorrow at his house, so we will see how the two compare.

Only thing that just kills me about charter is their DVR, the Moxi box, and what it does to analog channels. Somehow it destroys the analogs so they look washed out and snowy. When Im forced to watch fox, this is an issue. If you use a regular non DVR HD box from charter you do not have this analog issues. No, this is not an issue just i have, its on all Moxi boxes. I complain to charter and basically am told its a known issue, nothing we can do.

Thanks for checking this, and Charter management deserves credit for maintaining quality on their HD channels! I really wish them well, but they still have some catchup to do in their HD lineup (D* does too!). Maintaining HD quality is a good first step.

2007 is going to be a "breakout" year with expanding numbers of HD channels and more HD programming on each. My view is a good HD competition between Charter and E* and D* this year will help HD get wider acceptance and a larger HD audience base, and all HD viewers win then regardless what service they subscribe to.

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post #645 of 1604 Old 02-03-2007, 09:07 AM
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There was a rocket booster explosion Jan 30 carrying the NSS-8 communications satellite on the "Sea Launch" facility operated in part by Boeing. The details are discussed on the AVS forum(HDTV Programming thread) at this link:

Sea Launch Explosion

Both D* and E* have satellite launches from this facility scheduled later this year. The DirecTV-11 sat was the one to provide HD local service to this market. While neither satellites were involved in the accident, the investigation and repairs are expected to take "months" and delay all scheduled launches. Thus it looks like it could be "sometime next year" before we get DirecTVs HD local channels here. So OTA antennas are not obsolete yet! This gives Charter a boost too.

DirecTv has stated that the land based launch of DirecTV-10 to provide the announced expansion of national HD channels is not affected, assuming this launch is successful, the roll out of the national HD channels is not affected, only local HD channels.


Sad news, but one of the hazards of satellite communications. Follow the other thread for details.

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post #646 of 1604 Old 02-03-2007, 02:31 PM
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I'm new to HDTV and new to this forum-just got my OTA antenna hooked up yesterday and started watching the locals in HD. WOW! I have a Panasonic 42" plasma with a built in ATSC tuner, so I have the antenna hooked up right to the TV. I was watching 1vs100, Las Vegas, and Numb3rs last night and I noticed that 1vs100 was not in HD, Las Vegas and Numb3rs was, so 1vs100 was in 4:3 and Las Vegas and Numb3rs were HD and 16:9. While watching the HD shows the commercials would vary between 4:3 and 16:9. It seems to me that some commercials are HD and some are not, as I would see one then the other, then back again on the same break. I could be mistaken, however, as I said I have only watched HD for one night.

I would like to say I am very happy I found this forum! It's nice to see posts from people in the Tri-Cities! There is a lot of wonderful info on here, and I am going to check back often. Thank You to everyone contributing to this forum!

Does anyone know if Fox is broadcasting in HD OTA? I am in a very low reception area in south Richland, so I may not be able to recieve it.

Thanks in advance.

Jim

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post #647 of 1604 Old 02-03-2007, 02:32 PM
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Since Charter encrypts the HD locals, my sister has been watching them using a Charter HD cable box, via firewire. This has worked pretty well for the last several months.

Now, it apears Charter has started encrypting the firewire data as well.

I guess this means I will be putting up an antenna for her, when I visit at the end of March. Once I put up an antenna, it would be a small step to just drop Charter and switch to Directv.

Because Charter insists on encrypting the local HD channels, they have probably lost a customer.

John
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post #648 of 1604 Old 02-03-2007, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donshan View Post

I watched the 9PM CSI on KEPR-HD and saw similar switching from HD to SD, so what you saw is probably not an issue just with KIMA. I recorded this 9PM CSI episode on TIVO so I went back today and looked at it again. The program was in great HD for the first half hour, with the ads appearing with black sidebars. Then at the half hour ad slot the black sidebars disappeared with switching to full screen, but sometimes I thought it might be an HD ad- too short to be sure. This cut in and out at least two times during the last half, and appeared that the black bars were back again during ads at the end of the recording. I did not watch Shark,

I believe Fisher is in the process of setting up a master control system from Seattle for all their stations, so this could be testing of that system, since we both saw the same thing. Or it might be an error at the network level, but it is unlikely to be a local station problem since it occurred on both KIMA and KEPR at the same time.

I think it is nothing to worry about. They really need to run equipment tests on HD network programs to be sure they get everything ready for mixing ads into the game program feed for the Super Bowl. Those Super Bowl ads cost $2.5 million bucks a pop so they need everything runniing right for the Big Show! This will work out in soon I think. Those ads a pay the ticket price for us and are often better entertainment than the game! I fully expect to see a lot of HD ads during the Super Bowl, so switching between national and local ads could be an issue.

I have a crowd coming over for the KEPR-HD Super Bowl, and remain confident they want a good presentation then!

If this problem is happening down at KEPR-HD too I guess the situation is worse than I thought, unless this was a CBS Network problem or they were testing the control system in Seattle. Because if it was happening at both stations and neither station could contact their employees over in Seattle to let them know when to turn the HD on, I would assume this is going to be a regular problem.

Well I shouldn't be just picking on KIMA-HD tonight because KAPP/KVEW had some problems of their own tonight. Like showing Tri-Cities Hockey in place of ABC programming tonight and showing a movie in place of their MYNETWORKTV programming tonight as well. So for tonight they were a semi-ABC affiliate and a MIA MYNETWORKTV affiliate. I don't think these 2 networks would not be too happy with KAPP/KVEW tonight. Why the hockey wasn't on the usual MYNETWORKTV channel I have no idea.

-YakHDTV06
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post #649 of 1604 Old 02-04-2007, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimstick View Post

Does anyone know if Fox is broadcasting in HD OTA? I am in a very low reception area in south Richland, so I may not be able to recieve it.

fox is not OTA HD. barely digital and you can maybe get a signal if your lucky. hopefully they will jump on the bandwagon this summer....
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post #650 of 1604 Old 02-04-2007, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpoet View Post

Since Charter encrypts the HD locals, my sister has been watching them using a Charter HD cable box, via firewire. This has worked pretty well for the last several months.

Now, it apears Charter has started encrypting the firewire data as well.

I guess this means I will be putting up an antenna for her, when I visit at the end of March. Once I put up an antenna, it would be a small step to just drop Charter and switch to Directv.

Because Charter insists on encrypting the local HD channels, they have probably lost a customer.

John


I thought it was against FCC regs to encrypt stuff that is available OTA? I would inquire of the FCC first....
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post #651 of 1604 Old 02-04-2007, 01:40 PM
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ah, the warm glow of knowledge:
I called Charter to ask whether/where CBS-HD was; after telling me 3 times what I can find on the website or looking at the MoxiBox channel listing (by reading from a list, obviously), I finally got "we don't carry HD for CBS." Morons.

Realizing that I needed to check here (my wife complaining that I won't just "accept it"), you came through. We moved to Pasco just before Halloween from Chicago and we're both looking forward to the big game.

Thanks a lot,
Da Bearssss,
DrD
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post #652 of 1604 Old 02-04-2007, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YakHDTV06 View Post

KIMA-HD started in mono SD for a CSI Repeat at 8PM. About 15 minutes later the HD was finally turned on. Then during the new 9PM CSI episode, the HD was turned off during the commericals about half way through probably to show local ads. I kept waiting figuring the person at the studio just forgot to turn the HD back on but it was mono SD and the HD never came back on during the 9PM CSI or Shark at 10PM.

I know that I probably should let this go and give KIMA some slack for their recent progress. However, I can't because even though the main part of their 11PM news is now out of Tri-Cities, I know there had to be someone there because their Weatherman who originates from the Yakima station came on during a commercial break and they had the usual local thing telling you what is coming up on the news during the last 15 minutes of the show. So someone was operating things at the Yakima station.

I hope this is just a temporary problem for KIMA since we already had to wait 2-3 years longer than we probably should have for Over-the-air HD broadcasts on this channel. I think I will wait a little while longer to bring up the other things that still need to be improved at KIMA to give them the chance to improve them on their own.

-YakHDTV06

We finally watched the 9pm Thursday HD CSI last night (recorded OTA on DirecTV HR-20). The Tri-Cities KEPR broadcast was in HD for the entire hour (except for the obligatory SD commercials). There were only a couple of minor glitches that I noticed: once there was some noticeable pixilation, and another time there was a brief, < 1 second audio dropout with some pixilation.

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post #653 of 1604 Old 02-04-2007, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suburbanDK View Post

ah, the warm glow of knowledge:
I called Charter to ask whether/where CBS-HD was; after telling me 3 times what I can find on the website or looking at the MoxiBox channel listing (by reading from a list, obviously), I finally got "we don't carry HD for CBS." Morons.

the call center folks probably wont know about it until the guide shows up on the moxi. who knows when that will be, but it would be sweet so i can record some shows....
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post #654 of 1604 Old 02-04-2007, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mike41423 View Post

I thought it was against FCC regs to encrypt stuff that is available OTA? I would inquire of the FCC first....

Under FCC rules cable companies are required to carry only one channel of each local TV station. Today, each TV station has one analog channel and one or more multiplexed digital channels. The TV station must designate which is their "primary" channel" that must be in the basic cable lineup under the "must carry" rule. Presently that is their usually their old analog channel.

Thus adding a second digital channel to the cable lineup is subject to negotiation between the station and the cable company called "retransmission consent". In a number of cases around the country, TV stations are requiring a fee to be paid by the cable company to carry their HDTV signal. Their position is that cable companies pay a fee to each cable channel provider in their lineup, so why shouldn't local TV stations also get a fee to compensate them for the large investment needed to build HDTV broadcast stations. There have been a number of disputes around the country over this change in making cable pay for HD signals from local stations. Sometimes the compensation is just exchange of free advertising time slots.

Once we reach the 2009 analog TV cutoff date, the digital channels will be the only ones left, but the FCC rules say cable only has to carry one digital channel, leaving open the possibility that the SD digital sub-channel will be in the basic cable fee, but the HD sub-channel will continue to be an extra charge item in their encrypted cable lineup.


My personal view is that is is only fair to charge a reasonable fee for the extra quality of HD channels. Both Dish and DirecTV charge extra for HD channels, so why shouldn't cable charge a HD channel fee too, especially if they are paying the TV station a fee for the right to the HDTV network channel? These are profit making companies with a desireable product. Only if they make a profit providing HDTV service will we get more of it.

Only the OTA signals are free under FCC rules.

PS Edit note added:
Broadcasters have tried to get FCC to expand the "must carry rule" so that cable would be required to carry all of station's digital subchannels, which could mean as many as 6 digital sub- channels from one station which would vastly expand a station's ad revenue footprint on the cable system. A lot of cable systems don't have the bandwidth to do this without cutting a number of other channels and have made their case to the FCC. Thus, FCC has not agreed with the broadcasters yet and stuck with the old "only one channel required" rule or " retransmission consent" negotiation. It is not settled yet, and could change by 2009. I have no specific info on Charter, but the "retransmission"agreement contracts are typically private.

Update added Feb 6:
There was an extensive article in the Wall Street Journal just published Feb 5 on this topic, giving dollar figures that more and more local TV stations are choosing to negotiate " retransmission consent" agreements with the local cable company that are expected to result in cable companies nationwide paying $400 million per year to local TV stations for the right to carry their signals. This charge is expected to add a national average of " $2 per month to cable bills, which is expected to double by 2010" The Satellite companies D* and E* are also paying over $250 million per year now to carry local TV channels, also expected to increase to over $450 million by 2010. Thus local TV stations will be collecting about $1 Billion per year in fees from cable and satellite companies after 2010 to carry local digital channels.

OTA antenna reception will still be free, but expect your cable and sat bills to rise as more digital HD is added. I predict we will see more and more interest in OTA antennas!

Don
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post #655 of 1604 Old 02-06-2007, 07:31 AM
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i stand corrected. thanks for the information
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post #656 of 1604 Old 02-06-2007, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mike41423 View Post

i stand corrected. thanks for the information

Your info was correct until recently so I would use the word "updated". The laws changed a few years ago, but only now are broadcasters implementing them.

The title of the WSJ article quoted above is:
"Television's Power Shift:
Cable Pays for 'Free' Shows"

The fact that the WSJ editors wrote this article indicates the rapid changes in digital TV rules and technology occurring literally every day, and the need to inform everyone about these changes. None of us can keep up with the fast pace of changes, which is why this forum is so valuable to me too to learn about new information.

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post #657 of 1604 Old 02-07-2007, 08:16 PM
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Because I'm still deciding which direction to go with satellite or cable (I'm with directv and out of commitment), I decided to email Charter about future HDTV channels. The first reply just provided me a list of the HD channels, which DUH, I could get off the website. So I replied and reiterated what I originally asked. Here is the 2nd reply. (This is probably why I left them and really have no desire to return)

Dear Mrs. xxxxx,

Thank you so much for contacting Charter Communications, my name is Jon. I can definitely assist you with your concerns regarding HDTV services.

Charter HDTV service is not available in your area at this time. We are looking to expand this service to more areas in 2005. Currently, there is not a launch date for your area, however we will let you know when it is available.

Good grief!
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post #658 of 1604 Old 02-07-2007, 11:33 PM
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Has anyone else kffx been out? About two days ago I used to get it on 8-1 and 11-1, but nothing now. Im in Kennewick.
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post #659 of 1604 Old 02-08-2007, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bizeesheri View Post

Charter HDTV service is not available in your area at this time. We are looking to expand this service to more areas in 2005. Currently, there is not a launch date for your area, however we will let you know when it is available.

Good grief!

Keep trying, eventually you will get somewhere maybe even in 2007!
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post #660 of 1604 Old 02-08-2007, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by pun123 View Post

Has anyone else kffx been out? About two days ago I used to get it on 8-1 and 11-1, but nothing now. Im in Kennewick.

I called the station and was informed that a technician was on the way to the transmitter at Spout Springs for repairs. That was two days ago and still no signal.

I was also informed that the plan is for HD in April or May. Won't that be nice.
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