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Portland, ME - HDTV - Page 4

post #91 of 4993
If he means "12 hours per day", Southern Maine could be waiting for a long long time. This certainly isn't national policy at Time Warner. Here in Austin, -DT channels are being added as they become available and as the station owners negotiate carraige agreements. In some markets (Houston, for instance), all the major -DT channels are carried (Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS).

As far as what is available now, CBS only averages about 20 hours/week week days plus weekend specials. NBC has maybe 10 hours/week plus specials, and ABC has something in between. Nobody I talk to believes that there will be a significant increase -- there CAN'T be -- most local, syndicated programming is repeats of old NTSC shows. About all that can be easily added are the national news/reality shows, plus more of the daytime soaps.

OK, to other news,

Titan TV did indeed add channel 13-2 (CBS-HD); they seem to show it active 24/7, which (from what the station engineer told me) might be incorrect.

Titan TV also shows a new digital channel, WENH-DT 57-1, with PBS Demo programming, out of New Hampshire. Can anyone pick this up? They are broadcasting at fairly high power, 589kW ERP, from Durham, NH, about 60 miles to the south-southwest of Portland.

Take care,

post #92 of 4993

I sent my e-mail to customer service on Monday night and received these answers yesterday. You might want to try this address with your questions.


She has been very accommodating
post #93 of 4993
12 hours a day? That IS pretty steep. Sounds like a party-line stance regarding ESPN. Hopefully it doesn't apply to the locals.
You would think TWC Maine would be eager to bring them up as fast as they could. Carriage of local stations has always been an advantage for cable over satellite, and with the terrain issues in Maine you certainly would make a lot of people happy to get the digital feeds over the line instead of OTA.
If they could get the local DTV stations it would be a real bonus and would easily sway me to TWC over DirectTV or Dish when I move up there. Who wants to be on their roof fiddling with antennas....in January? Maybe TWC doesn't know the potential? Think the market penetration is less than it is? Dunno. Guess I can try that email and find out!
post #94 of 4993
Thread Starter 
It's great to see that that there are others in southern ME since I started the thread. I'm in ME (Cape Porpoise area of Kennebunkport) from late April to late October (should arrive 4/26). I have a 50" Pioneer plasma, DirecTV (Sony 200) for HBO, Showtime & HDNet and OTA stations, a MYHD card in a HTPC to record OTA stations in HD, a Hughes dual recording Tivo for D* (SD) and a Bell ExpressVu (Canadian) receiver for all networks in HD from both coasts. The WMTW non-HD is a disappointment, but I can still watch ABC in HD, just not record it. See you all up there soon.
post #95 of 4993
What a surprise yesterday when I checked out the HDTV lineup. Not only was the Masters channel on the line up, but channel 513 was labelled WGME and it was actually showing the prime time line up in HD for those shows scheduled to be HD. The drawback was that there was no audio, but this is an encouraging sign that a deal has been struck between TW and WGME and testing is taking place OR this channel is up just for the weekend, since the Masters are on. I will keep all those in Southern Maine posted as to the status of WGME and TW. Here keeping the fingers X'd that it's here to stay.
post #96 of 4993
WGME HD had no audio on ota reception either last night. Hmm, it did look good though. I just wish adelphia would get HD so I don't have to spend 700 for a satellite receiver. Now if I can figure out how to use dscaler I can use my regular directv for the projector!
post #97 of 4993
Thread Starter 
I have adelphia, too. I wouldn't count on HD from them anytime soon. TW & Cox seem to be rolling out HD the quickest. I don't know of any adelphia HD locations.
post #98 of 4993
Just put an offer on a house in Greene.

One-hour commute for me but my wife loves the house.

We'll see what develops.

post #99 of 4993
Thread Starter 

Originally posted by DrJoe
Just put an offer on a house in Greene.

After this winter, they should call it White
post #100 of 4993
Hey Joe, good luck with the house!

Here's what I got when I sent another email to the customer service email address at TW:

"I'm unsure if we have a definite answers for future HD offerings. We currently don't offer CBS in HD. I know the local affiliates for NBC, CBS, and ABC are currently testing their HD signals but have not told us when they would be available. I know this probably doesn't help but nothing is sure yet."

Unfortunately, nothing useful. The two trees that are preventing me from receiving Dish or DirectTV are being brought down right now (don't worry, I'll plant more!) I guess at this point, it's time to subscribe to one of those services.
post #101 of 4993
A quick update as promised. I got home from work today and turned on Channel 513 (where they carried the CBS HD Pass Thru all weekend for the Masters and labeled it WGME) and it was gone. I had my hopes up that they reached an agreement with at least one local. Guess it was just for the weekend! As redinger has already stated, we really don't know when we will be getting the locals on a regular basis. Really disappointing! The signal was great all weekend, even watched some shows on CBS I normally would not watch, just because it was HD. Back to waiting and asking TW. As an aside, I did receive an e-mail from WMTW (ABC) and they don't even have the equipment for the pass thru. They are talking about Late 2003 or early 2004. There goes MNF.
post #102 of 4993

Originally posted by darey1
As an aside, I did receive an e-mail from WMTW (ABC) and they don't even have the equipment for the pass thru. They are talking about Late 2003 or early 2004. There goes MNF.

Yep, and this is the killer for me. Actually, I haven't even heard late 2003 yet, DrJoe has been reporting that their station manager says 2004. But for me - when I bought my TV at the beginning of the year, I was looking forward to 3 HD football games a week. The CBS Sunday game, ESPN Sunday Night and ABC Monday Night. And of course playoffs and SuperBowl. If I could get this all from one box (Dish + OTA or TW), they would have my money. But between our local ABC affialite not providing this year, and the ESPN-HD fiasco, I might just end up picking up a cheap, used OTA receiver from ebay, and just watching the CBS games that way this year. Perhaps I'll get a DirecTv receiver, and hope they add ESPN. The only thing that makes me reconsider TW is because they provided that feed for the Masters, and that is hopeful.

Maybe next year will look better for HD in Maine. Thanks to all you guys reporting the status!
post #103 of 4993
Here is the e-mail from WMTW. Just wanted to show that there a little ray of hope for late 2003, but I'm not holding my breath.

We do not have HDTV "Network Passthrough" ability at this time, though we do have over the air broadcasting in Standard Definition DTV daily from 12 noon - 12 midnight on digital channel 46.
We anticipate begin able to bring HD passthrough on in late 2003 or early 2004. Technical equipment upgrades are necessary first.

Local digital channels are not yet on the cable systems. I understand Time Warner Cable of Maine has plans in the near future to add local DTV signals. I have not heard when or if those will be the HD signals, you may want to double check with Time Warner on that and their time table for offering local channels in DTV.


Amy Picucci
Program Coordinator

I'll keep posting as I get more info from the locals and TWC. I don't want another antenna on the house for OTA. That's antiquated in this day and age of electronics!
post #104 of 4993
I'll pass on some Time Warner Austin experience:

Time Warner rarely says anything publically that can tie them down -- whether it is in regards to adding local -DT channels, national channels, or anything else. Generally there are layers of customer service insulation between you and the actual engineers/programmers at Time Warner. In Austin, I was able to get MUCH better information from the local engineers -- they were able to tell me technical info on what progress was being made. At Time Warner, the left hand never knew what the right hand was doing.

If the local engineers (and you should be talking to the engineers whenever possible, not the station managers) say that they aren't working with Time Warner, then nothing is being done.

The solution is to ask Time Warner employees to fill out a channel request every time you speak to them.

Ask them to put in a channel request for everyone of the following:

WPFO-DT (Fox) (when available)
WPME-DT (UPN) (when available)
WPXT-DT (WB) (when available)
HDNet Movies
Any other HDNet channels (HDNet Sports, Entertainment) (when available)
Discovery-HD Theater
Bravo-HD (when available)
Cinemax-HD (when available)
Hallmark-HD (when available)

Now, if they say that "ABC is not HD" or "You requested more than one PBS station", say "I don't care. Put in the request for me. I want ABC because the digital feed is of a higher picture quality than the analog feed" and "I want both PBS Maine and PBS New Hampshire -- request them both for me".

Do this every time you talk to them. Request it every day, if possible. The more requests they get the more likely they are to add the channels you want.

I'm under contract on the house in Greene, and just about under contract on my house in Austin. Looks like I'll be moving in late May/early June.

Can some one email me info on local Home Theater/DBS stores? I'm interested on who does quality work, who does cheap work, and who does the best of both. Are there any local stores, or just Best Buy/Circuit City? Both for Portland and for Auburn/Lewiston? I'll need to get DirecTV and an outdoor antenna installed immediately after I close. Email me at DrJoe@austin.rr.com


post #105 of 4993
Thread Starter 
For those who really want MNF in HD, you should consider Bell ExpressVu. They offer 11 or so HD channels (all 4 major networks from both coasts). It's not difficult to get. Check the Hardware & Programming forums for more details about Canadian brokers, etc. I've had it for 2 years or so - couldn't wait for the locals to get their act together.
post #106 of 4993
Another HDTV freak here in South Portland. Have Panny L300u FPJ w/Toshiba DST-3000 and DirecTv and outdoor OTA antenna, also Toshiba HD 4:3 42" RPJ. Have intermittent luck getting WGME, and WCSH (use to be much better); get WMTW and WCBB at 100% signal. I have talked in the past with chief engineers at WCSH and WGME via email and I talked on the telephone with programming director at TW. The TW conversation was not encouraging (but based on comments above I am still hoping for local carriage).

PS - Excerpt from email from Amy Picucci at WMTW on Jan. 10.
"Unfortunately, we are not able at this time to provide the "HDTV" version of digital (the 720p). We hope to install the necessary equipment to upgrade to network pass through of 720p HD as soon as possible in 2003, but it is unlikely that will happen before the Superbowl."
post #107 of 4993

Originally posted by DrJoe
The solution is to ask Time Warner employees to fill out a channel request every time you speak to them.

Does anybody know if this works via email? Can we email the customer care address and/or the Laurie Russell address and make this request every day? I know that some DirecTv people do this, but I wasn't sure if it's actually useful.

Also do we have preferred addresses for the ABC folks to make a similar requests to them?

As for the ExpressVu path, I've considered it. Obviously, I'm still hoping for a local solution, and the upfront cost of the dish from ExpressVu is rather staggering for a temporary solution. And, they'll never get ESPN-HD.
post #108 of 4993
I updated the "list" back on page 3; Craig Clark of WGME tells me that 38-2 (the high def feed) is now active from 12:00PM to 12:30 AM -- which means that "The Young and The Restless" is now available in HD (is that a GOOD thing?)

post #109 of 4993

The Young and The Restless in HDTV, that is great news.... what was I ever going to do without it!

Now if I could only receive WGME DT signal consistently enough to actually watch it (or more importantly, shows like CSI and King of Queens).
post #110 of 4993
Well, I ended up getting a used STB on Ebay. Samsung SIR-T151. I picked up a Zenith Silver Sensor on the way home, just to get an idea of how my reception is.

My setup is in the basement of a raised ranch, and I must say I'm pleasantly surprised with the results. I get WGME & WCSH with a greater than 50% signal. WMTW is broadcasting a Digital signal (but not HD), and I'm picking that one up fine. WCBB comes in with a very low signal, but enough that I don't get dropouts. No sign of WMEA.

As for programming. I'm watching Frasier, and everything seems fine. 13-2 gets no sound (For either Jag & Guardian), but I do get sound from everything else, so I'm assuming I'm not the only one with this problem? TitanTv says WCBB has Nova in HD right now, but that's clearly not the case.

So, after this experiment, I guess I'll look at picking up an attic antenna and returning the Silver Sensor. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to get a VHF/UHF antenna. According to Antennaweb, WB (whenever goes HD) will be on channel 4 (VHF).

post #111 of 4993

How does your picture look with 50% signal? Mine tends to freeze slightly and become pixeled if I do not have a consistent signal above 60%. Also, is it a consistent signal or lots of fluctuations? How proximal are you to the towers? Thanks for the info, it is so hard to tell if my issues are me, my equipment, my location, or the TV stations!
post #112 of 4993

Originally posted by switherman
How does your picture look with 50% signal?

I've been playing around with CBS and NBC for the past 20 minutes by turning the antenna to get less signal, so this isn't very scientific. I'm in Yarmouth - 17 miles from CBS, 26 miles from NBC. Pretty close. On the SIR-T151, there is a signal bar that goes from 'Weak' to 'Strong' and 24 bars in between. If my signal is between 7-8 bars, I get very occaisional pixelization. Anything less than that I get quite a bit of pixelization and sometimes dropouts. Above that, I don't seem to have any problems (again, I haven't watched a ton of programming yet, so I don't know how effective things would be at 30% signal consistently).

Did you check out CBS at all tonight to see if you had any sound from 13-2?

post #113 of 4993
On my Toshiba STB it has a signal strength meter from 0 to 100; for WMTW-DT (29 miles) and WCBB-DT (40 miles) I receive a steady 100 signal strength, for WGME-DT (24 miles) and WCSH-DT (27 miles) I receive a variable signal from 0 to 20. I used to receive WCSH-DT at steady 100 but magically it has gone into the toilet (I swear I have not changed anything!). Now that the weather is better, I plan on adjusting the antenna to see if I can improve WGME-DT and WCSH-DT (since they are the only two with any real HD content).

PS - Since I was not able to receive CBS, not sure on the audio, sorry.
post #114 of 4993
In case there's anybody else in Maine that watches CBS-HD, I got a response back this morning from Craig Clark, Chief Engineer for CBS:


I have to apologize for the sound problem. I believe it is on our end. Our next HD program is at 12:30 today. We will take that opportunity to find the problem and have it back before tonight's shows.

So, hopefully we'll have some sound tonight.

switherman, what kind of antenna do you have? That's weird that you're getting the stations you are getting, but having problems with others. WMTW and WCSH are roughly in the same direction for you, but then WGME is in between those and WCBB! I'll be curious how your antenna repointing goes. I take it you don't have a rotator?

I'll let you know what kind of signals I get whenever I get my antenna situation figured out, I'm assuming I should see a pretty good increase in strength when the antenna moves up 20 feet, rather than sitting at ground level.

Hopefully this information will help people in the future, rather than annoy the old timers now.

post #115 of 4993
Thread Starter 
Although not HD, DirecTV has announced Portland locals via satellite by the end of the year.
post #116 of 4993
Hello all.......had no idea that this forum existed. I'm particularly curious to hear Steve's reception reports from Cape Porpoise...we are also located there summers.
We have not tried OTA yet....just Direct TV.....

Need antenna advice as well!!!

Back in the port mid -May!! Exciting!
post #117 of 4993
Hi there,

Just wanted to introduce myself really quick. I'm just getting started here with a DTV-100 Card, a PC, and a 30-inch Samsung Widescreen Monitor. I'm picking out an antenna when my DTV-100 comes in in a few days.

I've reviewed this entire thread, and I was wondering what you guys think is the best way to spend under $100 (preferrably arround $50) on an antenna at Radioshack - without extensive installation/eyesoredness (I'm a renter).

I used to work for Radioshack and was thinking about grabbing a VU-120 or something, plopping it up in my attic, pointing it towards portland relatively, and hopping for the best. Any reason this is a bad idea? or should I do this in combination with a set-top? or get two VU-120s and point one at portland, and the other south to somewhere.

I know it's a brute force idea - but what do you think? I have an empty attic. :-)

post #118 of 4993
The one constant I've always seen on this forum is to start cheap and work your way up. I currently reside outside Philly I just got a set top antenna and was pleasantly surprised to find I was recieving 90% of the channels available. Good enough! The rest I couldn't pull in were PBS duplicates from around the area.
When I was back in Falmouth visiting my folks a few weeks back the one thing I had to do was be very particular about the direction of the antenna. I was trying to pull in the Final Four from WGME and I literally had climb up on the roof, call my own house from my cell, and play "Hot and Cold" with turning the antenna until we nailed it. Not very forgiving.
I'll be moving back at the end of June. Not sure where yet, but the wife's got a job in Falmouth so somewhere 'round Portland. Now its up to me. Anyone need an IT Network Admin? :-)
post #119 of 4993
Thread Starter 
Welcome, Cathy & Dan (edit - and jkur - saw your post after posting mine). Glad to have others join this group. As for reception and antenna choices, here are some thoughts. Firstly, the broadcast towers are not in Portland - they are about 30 miles WNW of the city. If you click on TitanTV and input your address, they have an antenna selector. On that page there is a map selection which will show a map to each station from your home and the exact direction to point. Most antennas will have about a 10 degree "sweet spot". As for an antenna choice, you will not get very knowledgeable people locally. You need a UHF only antenna. I chose a 80" Winegard with a Channel Master UHF amp (the amp doesn't increase the signal, just makes sure you don't lose any going from the antenna to the TV). Mine is mounted inside my 3rd floor attic (going through wooden cedar shingles). You may or may not need the amp based on your cable runs. You may not need an antenna that big (I think mine was $80 and the amp $50). I just figured bigger is better. My signal from all 3 networks is strong - better than from my home in VA to the stations there (same setup). I mail ordered my stuff from Stark Electronics . Hope this helps.
post #120 of 4993
Thanks for the welcome, Steve......

Can't wait to try the antenna for the OTA reception. We'll probably try the combo that you are using, since the geographic location is about the same as ours......

Thanks for the information....we will certainly give a holler after we are up and running again.......
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