Note: half way down is a limited FAQ (part 2) regarding OTA, DBS, and cable access from a post made 2/18/2005.
Part 1: Detailed Columbia Station/Channel Information:
Note: as of April 1, 2004, all DTV stations are required by the FCC to broadcast digital programming 18 hr/day. This programming may be SD simulcast of analog channel or HD. (Neither network nor local station is required to provide any programming in High Definition). (local station broadcast hours to be confirmed) Note that stations do not always use virtual remapping of their digital channels. Most stations use virtual remapping on OTA receivers to make their digital channel to show as their old analog number (maintains station channel identity). This remapping sometimes is turned of so the station will show up as their digital number. (ex: WRLK might be found as 32 vice 35). When in doubt try both numbers. (station power levels are listed further down this posting)WOLO-DT ABC (8)
....HD OTA Ch25.1 TWC Ch 815 DD5.1 capable
....SD OTA Ch25.2 TWC Ch 816 Weather radar
....SD OTA Ch25.3 TWC Ch 817 ABS News NowWLTX-DT CBS (17)
(12:00 noon to 12:35am
....HD Ch19.1 TWC Ch 810 DD5.1 capable
....SD Ch19.2 TWC Ch 811 weather radar
....SD Ch19.3 TWC Ch 812 (started for DNC/RND conventions; potentially now a permanent SD simulcast of Ch810)WIS-DT NBC (41)
(12pm to ~12:35 am)
....HD Ch41.1 TWC Ch 805 DD5.1 (started ~8/12 in time for Olympic coverage)
....SD CH41.2 TWC n/a 4:3 simulcast of 41.3
....SD Ch41.3 TWC Ch 806 weather radarWRLK-DT SCETV/PBS (32)
....SD Ch35.1 TWC Ch 801 simulcast of analog channel
....SD Ch35.2 TWC Ch 802 South Carolina Channel
....HD Ch35.3 TWC Ch 800 DD5.1 capableWACH-DT FOX (57)
.....HD Ch57.1 TWC Ch 820 DD5.1 (added to TWC 2/4/05)
----SD Ch57.2 TWC Ch 821 "TheTube" music channel (added OTA ~06/05; TWC ~9/7/05)WBHQ-DT WB/UPN (39)
10am to 10pm
....SD Ch 63-1* TWC n/a (UPN part went away 9/10/04) Cola area DT broadcast not expected till June 2006.WZRB-TV UPN (47)
on the air as of 0001 hours 1January 2005.
(NTSC only, TWC ch 13)
side note: formerly known as WRBJ-TV Ch 47, this is a new station that has assumed the UPN mantle for the Cola market. It is listed on the FCC web site as having a Construction Permit (appl date April 2004). They are replacing WBHQ as the UPN affiliate (UPN ceased UPN programming as of 9/10/04 and there was a "hole" for some time). FCC Application data list station as analog, not digital. They do not have a separate channel assignment for digital and so will most likely just switch over somday to digital (not likely for 2005).
*WBHQ Ch 63 (formerly known as WQHB and UPN/WB) has analog tower near Columbia and is on TWC. Their digital tower however is just east of Sumter, transmits very low power, and pretty much can be received in/near Sumter. Broadcast hours are approximate and subject to change and are SD only (No HD capability). They went WB only after 9/10/04. Word came on 10/07/04 however that WBHQ-DT is constructing a new digital broadcast capability in Columbia. They will be using the same tower they now use to for their analog signals and their coverage will be kidney shaped (wide east to west; more south than north); and ERP = 500kW). They expect to be up by June 2005 and able to pass through HD at that time. UPDATE: According to Station Manager S. Rein, their full DT buildout (with HD capability) on the Columbia tower (same one used by WACH and WOLO) has a new drop dead/expected date of July 1, 2006.
** SCETV's Sumter station WRJA-DT Ch 28 Sumter started broadcasting Mar 10, 2004. Their programming is, for now, the same as WRLK-DT and will extend/improve SCETV's DT broadcast area (Sumter, Florence/MB, and other points east).
*** NBC initial DD5.1 broadcast was on 4/3/2004(American Dreams
); more to follow)Additional/Premium Channels on TWCSCHBO HD
East-Ch 901 West-Ch 902 DD5.1 capable Subscription reqdShowtime HD
East- Ch 921 West Ch 922 DD5.1 capable Subscription reqdDiscovery HD Theater
Ch 930 (TWC HD Tier)HDNET Movie
Ch 931 (TWC HD Tier)INHD1
Ch 940 (TWC HD Tier)INHD2
Ch 941 (TWC HD Tier)SEHD
Ch 813 (NBA/HD, Fox Sports, etc (when available; otherwise simulcast of Ch940) (Ch 814 is spare HD channel for specials)TNT-HD
Ch 840 (free) (but mostly 4:3 material stretched/zoomed to 16:9)ESPN-HD
Ch 950 (TWC HD Tier)
Other/Future Cable Services: ESPN2HD: unknown.
TWC HD Tier: The HD Tier currently costs $6.95/mo plus tax and includes HDNET, HDNET Movies, INHD1, INHD2, and ESPN-HD. Note that while TWCSC's Sumter and Orangeburg's service area lineups are virtually identical to Columbia, other service areas are not (and have different system capabilities as well).Time Warner High Definition Converters:
Models currently available in the Columbia area are:
SA3100HD (note there is a bug tuning Ch815; go one channel up and then down). good remote.
SA3250HD: preferred box; small footprint; has DVI; has scaling and zooming; good remote; Firewire model limited availability (as of Apr 04)
SA8000HD: HD Digital Video Recorder (DVR; can record about 20 hours of HD); limited distribution; no DVI (scheduled for summer 2005); software bug prevents output via analog outputs (update for DVI scheduled for late summer; firmware update to enable recording options/analog ports scheduled for early June); mediocre remote.
SA8300HD: preferred DVR if one can get one (check in person with local office); Improved PQ over 8000; reportedly has functional DVI and analog ports.Station connectivity to TWC for Digital broadcasts:WOLO
: OTA (B. Davis)WIS
: awaiting feedbackWLTX
: Fiber with OTA backup (D. Stalnaker)WBHQ
: n/a; no DT signal in Cola or on TWC yet (Mr Smiley)WACH
: n/a (no DT on TWC yet)WRLK
: hybrid.... an RF feed pickup is taken off the transmitter and fed into fiber optic going to TWC's head-end. TWC users must still depend on the transmitter being up and operational to get SCETV/WRLK-DT's signals. A pure fiber feed into their MC is in the works but will take some time (right of way issues with the RR to work out). (H. Griffin)Station Power Levels
: The Columbia Market is served well by all stations as is Sumter. Florence/Myrtle Beach areas are iffy and vary by station. On 09/20/04, a query of the FCCC database revealed the following:FOX: WACH-DT/Ch 48
is licensed for 520 kW ERP; antenna height (ant ht) 460 meters AGL; the antenna's polar plot (radiation pattern) shows it may be difficult to get in FLO/MB. (and they are not yet doing HD yet though expected any day now).ABC: WOLO-DT/CH 8
is licensed for 43 kW ERP; ant ht 527 m AGL; polar plot shows it might be okay for parts of FLO/MB (Provo okay in some areas by viewers). (agrees with Bob Davis obviously)NBC: WIS-DT/CH 41
is licensed for 874 kW ERP; ant ht 427 m AGL; polar plot shows it might be okay for FLO/MB (but will vary by viewer location).CBS: WLTX-DT/CH 17
is operating under a STA license (Special Temporary Authority) that I understand means they are operating at half power; 500 vice 1000 kW ERP; Ant ht ~ 478m AGL; polar plot indicates FLO/MB reception is probably difficult at best.PBS: WRLK-DT/Ch32 (SCETV/Cola)
is licensed for 65 kW ERP; ant ht 396 m AGL. polar map not shown (but should be relatively circular but be advised that Florence reception has always been very difficult; try Sumter SCETV station instead.PBS: WRJA-DT Ch 28 (SCETV/Sumter)
is operating under a Construction Permit still and licensed for 98.4 kW ERP; ant ht 354 m AGL. polar plot is not shown. Understand decent reception is possible in some parts of the Florence area.Area Antenna Solutions:
gleaned from previous thread postings (not inclusive; additions welcome). CM = Channel Master; RS = Radio Shack
Cola/Harbison Forest, CM 3016 (~27ft mast atop a 15ft hill / CM7777 preamp)
Cola/NE Corridor (I-20/Clemson Rd), Silver Sensor
Irmo, Winegard PR
-4400 (attic mount)
Irmo, RS Double Bow-tie
Harbison/Broad River Rd vic, CM 3021 (attic mount; 2 story house; no pre-amp)
Elgin, Coat hanger er Single Bowtie
Florence, CM 4248 plus Winegard YA-1713 (high band VHF Yagi)
Garners Ferry Rd , CM CM 4248 (unk mast; rotor)
Rock Hill, Winegard PR8800 (WOLO, WIS) (25ft mast; CM7777 preamp)
Sumter, CM 3021 (10ft mast; no pre-amp)
Sumter, RS Double Bow-tie (but not WRLK)
Sumter, Winegard Square Shooter (UHF reception was okay; about the same as CM3021; VHF reception was poor). May be better for multipath situations which is not a problem here. It uses a different mount than standard antenna (similar to dbs mounts though). Tested late Feb 2004.
01/01/04: corrections to WIS (hours) and WACH (audio capabilities)
01/14/04: addition of WRJA-DT information
01/16/04: added converter boxes available from TWCSC
01/20/04: updated/corrected WLTX hours of operation
02/05/04: corrected one antenna installation
02/12/04: updated WIS-DT information (DT added to TWC)
02/16/04: added Irmo CM 3021 antenna solution
02/17/04: corrected 2/16 post to read Harbison/Broad River Rd vic
04/05/04: added Winegard Sq Shooter info; info on NBC DD5.1; update for WRJA, and note about April 1, 2004 requirement for DTV.
04/08/04: corrected WRLK cable channels 801 and 802 (were reversed).
05/11/04: added info on WJRB and station connectivity to TWC
05/15/04: added WIS's weather radar on TWC 806 which was noted new o/a 5/13/04
05/21/04: TNT-HD added to TWCSC; updated firmware update info
6/20/04: removed incorrect footnote data for WBHQ (who does not do HD).
Also; TNT-HD program information. .
7/27/04: Yesterday ABC News Now went live and immediately available on WOLO-DT's SD channel and was added to TWC Ch 816 today.
8/1/04: Added the CBS SD channel used in part for the DNC/RNC conventions
9/1/04: added the fact that NBC/WIS used DD5.1 during Olympics. Other programming with real DD5.1 (not synthesized) appears to be minimal thus far. Also tweaked change for WOLO that occured on 8/11 (added back wxr radar)
9/10/04: updated info on WACH Splicer and added info on WRBJ having been changed to WZRB and will go on air 1 Jan 05. Added ESPN-HD to the HD tier when announced today.
9/20/04: added results of queries of the FCC database on station power levels.'
10/3/04: added fact that WACH can pass HD (the splicer is now working)
10/07/04: added new info on WBHQ-DT and their build out of a new DT capability for Cola.
01/03/05: updated the WZRB info as they went OTA 1 Jan 05; availability of TWC SA8300DVR
2/04/05: updated WACH-DT cable carriage on Ch 820
2/18/05: added Part 2
08/09/05: included info on "TheTube" channel (Ch 57-2).
08/22/05: added fiber connect for WLTX to TWC
9/10/05: added fact that The Tube multicast from WACH is now on TWC
9/26/05: updated WBHQ's DT build out date to July 1, 2006.
11/18/05: updated WLTX adding DD5.1 capability as of yesterday.
Part 2: Limited FAQ regarding OTA/Cable issues in Columbia from a posting made 2/18/2005
Originally posted by iBleedGarnet
First-time poster in this forum. Go easy on me.
I've been looking at plasma displays and have noticed some come with a built-in QAM tuner. First of all, what are its capabilities? And how might it benefit me? Would I have to be a TWC subscriber?
I've also got a question about OTA HD antennas......while I've been trying to decide what service to go with (either DISH, DirecTV or TWC) I've noticed the satellite providers charge more if you want locals. Anyone here with satellite that uses an antenna to get locals? Do the local stations air their news telecasts in HD? Let's say a USC game has been picked up by Jefferson-Pilot but they aren't broadcasting in HD...would I still be able to pick it up if my only source for locals is an OTA-HD antenna? Thanks in advance, neighbors.
Oh, I live downtown in the Elmwood Park area.
Greetings and welcome to our forum. I will step up and try to give you some answers. Do feel free to ask more questions if needed.
An integrated HDTV with a built in ATSC tuner can tune in all the digital signals in one's area given an acceptable over-the-air signal. That same tuner if it is QAM capable can, if connected to a cable system, also receive those digital signals provided in the open (unencrypted). In our area, that should include WOLO, WLTX, WACH, WIS, WRLK, DISCOVERY and TNT. QAM is an acronym for the basic type of modulation that cable uses for digital transmission (i.e. quadrature amplitude modulation).
If the set is also "cable card capable (or ready)" then one can get their cable company to install one and it will give them access to some additional subscription based HD programming (including the HDTV tier). (do note these channels have their own monthly fees). The card itself rents for a couple bucks or so a month and is a simple substitute for a cable converter. Do note that it does not offer all the same capabilities (e.g. no interactive cable guide).
DBS systems in our area offer L-I-L but these are analog broadcasts only; not digital (nor HD) broadcasts. To get our local's HD programming you will need to use the ATSC tuner built into every DISH Network, DirecTV or VOOM HD receiver coupled with an antenna that can see and receive our local signals (most towers are near Elgin, east of town). There are also standalone receivers (STBs) that work for OTA only and others that are both OTA and QAM capable.
Reception from the downtown area should not be a problem distance wise from the broadcast towers though there are other concerns that might cause problems. If there are obstructions between you and the towers (buildings, hills, trees) then you may have get only weak or reflected signals (called multipath). These can be a problem. Unfortunately there is no surefire way to be sure without trying.
What you might try first is a standard combo indoors antenna (UHF/VHF) attached to your ATSC tuner and go from there. Technically there is no such thing called a HDTV antenna. TV signals are broadcast on either a VHF channel or a UHF channel. So you really need is an old fashioned antenna that works at your location (all but one station here broadcast on UHF channels; WOLO is on Ch 8 and thus VHF). Unfortunately some manufacturers do hype their antennas as HDTV models. Check my summary (link in my signature) for antennas that work for some in our area.
To learn more about HD you might want to visit the other forums here at AVS. The Programming forum has a good synopsis plus you might check out www.HDTVGalaxy.com
Basically network HD is available during some evening/Prime Time hours and at various times on weekends (especially sports). No local station produces any HD that I know of (SCETV's WRLK should have some production capability however). Networks can of course come in and produce a local sports program in HD that might well be broadcast OTA here.