The CBS affiliate in Atlanta has problems switching between the network feed and the local content. Is someone sleeping at the switch? I watch a lot of the 'You're watching HDTV on CBS' promo. They don't seem to monitor their digital broadcast.
When the switch is thrown you can hear a difference in the sound. For the last several days the local stuff has been soundless, but it usually is just a difference in the sound level.
The other stations don't seem to have the problem, though there is not much content there.
For all stations I also perceive a change in the sound localization; the network sound is more Dolby Digital. The dialogue is in the center channel. Sounf originating locally is surround soundish, mostly coming from the left and right speakers.
How should this stuff work? I am curious.
[This message has been edited by tombarry (edited 05-29-2001).]
It's not just affiliates that have this difficulty; the CBS O&O in Detroit also does not put local inserts in HD programming. And now that I think about it, I don't think our ABC affiliate does, either; instead of local commercials during HD programming, we get PSA's (public service announcements).
Roger in DTW
Most stations don't yet have a digital master control switcher capable of switching a network stream. So, CBS conveniently provides filler material (You're watching...) during local breaks so your picture doesn't go black. And, since there are so few of us watching, local stations don't care if they lose local spots on their digital channel.
I suspect stations which operate this way have to actually go pull or push in a patch to get HD on the air. I think in Seattle, only one of the 5 on-air DTV stations has a switcher capable of handling both inhouse digital and network digital.
There is an effort on our CBS local dtv to cut away from the HD network feed to insert local commercials and promos. I can watch all the NTSC stuff on the digital channel, so they are 'switching' regularly. Art, are you saying you don't get the local news on dtv?
We have no locally originated HDTV. So you've suggested a flip side to the issue; how are stations going to integrate local HD with network HD? Does WRAL do it well? By well I mean no viewer should notice it.
And the audio problem also happens on NTSC here. The volume jumps up or down when the switch is made.
Thanks for the comments!
Tom, here's what happens here:
KIRO/CBS: No local hdtv, but they manage to switch to CBS' ATSC feed at start and end of each program, unless there are two of them back-to-back, in which case they simply stay with CBS. CBS covers local breaks in cases like this with those hdtv promos. All NTSC upconverted to 1080i.
KING/NBC: Local hdtv news. They carry their own live local news in hdtv and NBC evening news on tape stretched to 16x9. Otherwise their digital channel shows tape loops. Carries no NTSC pictures, except news footage, which is stretched. 1080i.
KOMO/ABC: Local hdtv news. They carry full schedule. Some station promos and local commercials are in 16x9. No stretch on any 4x3 images. All new, complete digital production/news facilities. Local news crews use 16x9 (non-hdtv) digital cameras in the field. All NTSC is upconverted to 1080i.
KCTS/PBS: Reduced schedule 2pm-11pm showing hdtv travel tapes and PBS hdtv shows live. Sloppy (and noisy) switching between tapes/id still stores/net feeds. 1080i.
KCPQ/Fox: Broadcasts in 480i/14x9 (yes 14x9) cropped picture full time. They expect a new receiver this summer which will enable them to carry Fox 480p/16x9 live. But, their current digital switcher doesn't have capability of switching ATSC feed. Their 480i picture is very good, in my opinion.
The main problem for stations currently is getting digital switchers capable of seamlessly integrating NTSC and ATSC video streams. I suspect it will be another two years before many stations can handle this.
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