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Wichita, KS - HDTV

post #1 of 3098
Thread Starter 
Hello all,
May 1 2002 is soon approching so I figured I would start a thread about our locals going digital.

I just got off of the phone with the engineer from the local WB station KWCV Digital CH. 31 and it looks like they WILL be broadcasting in Digital starting May 1. It will just be upconverted from 480I to 480P at first but it should be an improvement from the cable or OTA anaolog signal. It is too bad the WB doesn't have any HDTV programming yet. He did say they would go on full power for the first couple of months.

I think all of the rest of the stations filed for an extension except KPTS the PBS affiliate which doesn't have to be ready until next year anyway.

I think the next station to go digital will be KAKE the ABC affiliate on digital CH. 21 last I heard they were shooting for early spring. I have a call in to their head engineer and will post back when I hear something.

If anybody wants to read all of the extension requests they can be found here on the form just select service as digital TV select CP extension under application type and put KS for Kansas in the state box.

APPLICATION SEARCH HERE


I also have links to maps of where all of the towers will be located. It looks like they were all smart enough to put them in the same general direction from Wichita- NW. It looks like KWCH will have the furthest tower about 40 miles from Wichita but that still shouldn't be a problem. Here are the links.

KAKE ABC Digital CH. 21 digital tower link

KSAS FOX Digital CH. 26 Digital tower link

KWCV WB Digital CH. 31 Digital tower link

KSNW NBC Digital CH. 45 Digital tower link

KWCH CBS Digital CH. 19 Digital tower link

KPTS PBS Digital CH. 29 Digital tower link

KSCC UPN Digital CH. 35 Digital tower link

It looks like all of the extensions that were filed by our locals were granted so let's hope they are all online by 11/01/2002.

If anybody wants to call some other stations or has anything to add feel free to post it here. Maybe if there are enough people in Wichita we can get a newsletter going or something.


Thanks
Kevin C.
post #2 of 3098
Good work Kevin. It would be interesting to see if I could pull in the Wichita stations from up here in Manhattan. I seriously doubt I can as the spreadsheet I have says I am 115 miles. Perhaps on a good day. I do know KAAS is replicating KSAS and that tower is in Salina so I would expect when they do digital, the replicating tower will too. I will try that one as I watch a few shows on FOX that I would like to see in EDTV.

Again, lots of good work and good luck with down there!
post #3 of 3098
Thread Starter 
Yahoo!!
WB is on the air with a test signal. The first digital signal in Wichita. I am getting a signal strength of 90-94 on my dish network 6000 and about 85-90 with my DTC-100.
Oddly enough on both receivers it comes in on CH. 33 not 31 which is where it is supposed to be. Wierd.
I talked to Marty Heffner the engineer and he wasn't sure why it was coming in on 33-01 either. He said they would probably have some prime time programming on there by the end of the week and maybe as early as tomorrow night. He said they are upconverting everything to 1080I.

I am using a large rooftop radio shack antenna right now. I will try a smaller indoor antenna tonight and get back with you guys.

Hopefully this will push some of the other locals to get off their asses and get theirs done.



Kevin C.
post #4 of 3098
Kevin,
Where is the tower located for the WB station? Also, do you know what power they are running at??

Thanks!

I doubt I have any shot at getting it, but I can dream can't I.
post #5 of 3098
Thread Starter 
Here is the Map for WB Tower

Marty told me they were running full power right now and for the first few months they will keep it at that just to run it in, then they are going to back it down.

Yahoo maps show manhattan is about 135 miles from Colwich, which is where the tower is. It is probably a little closer as the bird flys. I would get a tall pole and put a good large radio shack antenna on it and give it a try.
Just point it just slightly to the west of Wichita. Who knows on a good day you might get it.

Right now they are only running 4:3 480I.


Thanks
Kevin C.
post #6 of 3098
WB is temporarily off the air - until maybe tomorrow (5/30) or Friday. I found this out when I called the station to ask for an antenna recommendation since I was able to pick up NOTHING on my Radio Shack High-Definition powered set-top antenna. I'm all dressed up with my new 65" HDTV and Hughes E86 Hi-Def receiver, and I just happened to try to tune in when the only station broadcasting in digital is offline!

Marty Heffner, chief engineer at KWCV, tells me that all the towers are in the same general direction, so a medium direction antenna placed in my attic and oriented correctly should allow me to pick up all the stations. That's way cool because I was dreading the battle with my HOA, and irritating my upper crust neighbors!

I will post more when I am able to pick up their signal.

BTW, the chief engineer at KAKE channel 10 Dale xxxxxx tells me they are ready except for an antenna, and hope/expect to be on the air in "a few weeks" or "by the end of June."

The General Manager at KSN 3, Al Buch, put this spin on things: "KSN will be transmitting a digital signal sometime this fall. However, very few programs on any network will be transmitted in High Definition Television. Right now only the Jay Leno show is in HDTV and NBC does not have plans to significantly increase HDTV programming. The reason is because very few consumers can afford the full HDTV sets. Sets which can display the full 1080I signal today still cost around $7500." I just bought a 65" widescreen TV and Hi-Def receiver for a total of $3800, so Al needs to update his database.

Not a peep out of KWCH 12 after an email and a voicemail two days ago, so I called again today and was told by one of their engineers, "this fall...tower problems". When pressed he suggested "October."

At one time I'd heard the PBS station would be on ahead of schedule, but I haven't heard anything more. I haven't called them yet.

Oh, Marty Heffner offered that WB had no HD programming currently but was talking about four hours per week this fall. Which shows had not been announced. I'll take 4 hours.

David


18-June - Corrected a typo. KSN Wichita is channel 3, not channel 12.
post #7 of 3098
One addendum to add to my experience so far, this in regard to getting DirecTV. Radio Shack (the 800 number I called to schedule installation) was insistant that I get a letter from my HOA specifying where the dish could be placed. I offered that I would sign a release accepting full responsibility for the cost of relocating the dish if required by my HOA. No go, They were intransigent. Fortunately the local RS installer tells me they will accept a signed release and will put it where I tell them to put it.

I'm not being an a-hole - I have called the head of the architectural committee (left a message), and I had a prefessional AV installer recommend a good mounting location, which I pre-wired for. It's the most inconspicuous possible location. What's funny is, when I walked outside to double check where the dish was going to go, I noticed the dish on my neighbors house, not 20 ft from where I'll be putting mine. I had never noticed it before.

I am relieved to hear that an attic antenna should work just fine for me, since I did NOT want to put a big ugly antenna on my roof but was afraid I was going to HAVE to in order to pick up the DTV feeds. The local cable company is saying "end of this year" and the "local-to-local" programming available from DirectTV will be digital NTSC only, not HD. In other words, the only option right now is an antenna.

David
post #8 of 3098
David,
I assume you mean Cox when you say they tell you end of the year??
I called our local tech here in Manhattan, and he said they would be doing it, and I asked if by the end of the year, and he said he didn't think so. But Topeka is market 138 and you guys are in the top 100, so maybe that is the reason.

Tim

Can you tell me who you talked to?? I have the email of the VP of Cox Kansas if you would like?
post #9 of 3098
Thread Starter 
David,
Thanks for taking the time to make some contacts.
Yes I too was wondering what happened to the WB.
How far are you from the tower David?
I am about 15-17 miles from the towers and I got it real well with an indoor antenna from radio shack. About a 90 signal strength.

Good news on the cable carriage too. I didn't even bother calling them because I thought it would be a long time before they would carry it.



Kevin C.
post #10 of 3098
Kevin, I could swear I replied to your post. I must have forgot to click the Submit Reply button. I hate it when that happens.

I am told I am only maybe 10 miles from the tower. It beats my why antennaweb lists me in the red zone. I'm in far NW Wichita, so there's not a whole lot between me and the tower. It's not like there are any mountains or skyscrapers out here. I ended up with an 8' Radio Shack antenna, the VU-90XR (on sale for $25). Right now it's mounted on the deck. It will get moved to the attic, but I want to know first if it's is going to work before I go to the trouble. It picks up the analog channels just fine and dandy, but I won't know if it handles HD until WB is back on the air.

Don't jump for joy just yet about the "rumour" that Cox cable will be HD this year. I will believe it when I see it. In the meantime I am not waiting - my DirecTV dish gets installed in the morning.

David
post #11 of 3098
I sent the following question to Martin Heffner, Director of Engineering for KWCV, the local WB station:

"What kind of antenna do I need to pick up your digital broadcast? I live in Reflection Ridge in northwest Wichita. I have a Hughes E86 Hi Def receiver."

Here is Mr. Heffner's reply:

"A standard vhf/uhf antenna or a set of rabbit ears should be sufficient. I know that Radio Shack has quite a selection of what they call digital set top antennas. I have not had any experience with them, but they maybe fine. I prefer the outdoor antenna do to the fact it is directional and has better gain. If an outside antenna is not allowed in Reflection Ridge then placing the antenna in the attic should work well in respect to your location of the transmitter. Our transmitter is located NW at Colwich. I live just west of you about three miles and I was using just a set of rabbit ears and got ch31 just fine. I would not recommend using the rabbit ears in lower levels of the house such as the basement. It may work but may not be reliable.

Our DTV transmitter is currently shutdown at this time do to an up converter failure. I only have one at this time and should have a replacement in today or tomorrow. I hope to be back up and running Thursday or Friday."

The problem right now is there are SO few people even aware that WB is on the air, and maybe fewer still with the equipment to see it, that we just don't KNOW yet what kind of antenna's will work and which won't. I guess maybe the 8' boom antenna is overkill, but for $25, it's not like I can go too far wrong. Heck, the 50' of RG6 cost more than the antenna. The amplified "High-Definition" set-top model was around $80.

-David
post #12 of 3098
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have an update for WB 31 DT?
I still am not getting it. Is it still off of the air or
do I need to rescan for it using my DTC-100?

Kevin C.
post #13 of 3098
Kevin,

I'm picking up WB on 33-1. It has been back on the air since last Saturday or Sunday.

David
post #14 of 3098
Just a brief update. I installed the Radio Shack VU-90XR antenna in my attic over the weekend. I'm reading a signal strength on my sat box between 92 and 100 for WB 33, indicating my 8' antenna is overkill. Analog channels 10 and 12 are as good as cable but channel 3 has some "snow" and channel 8 (PBS) is weak. Since all I use the antenna for is local HD broadcasts, I think a much smaller antenna would have been perfectly adequate. On the other hand, the 8' antenna cost only $25 and fit into the attic just fine, so why spend MORE for a smaller antenna?

I haven't heard any more about KAKE channel 10, which I was told about a week or two ago would begin broadcasts in "a few weeks". I sent another email to their chief engineer today asking for an update.

David
post #15 of 3098
Thread Starter 
Thanks David,
I did a new channel scan on my DTC-100 and WB is now back. I am getting about 88% with my indoor powered rabbit ears.
I will be watching for KAKE DT 21.

Kevin C.
post #16 of 3098
I just received this email:

Quote:


We are currently waiting for delivery of our DTV transmit antenna. A tower crew has not yet been scheduled. I would now estimate the on-air date to be sometime in July. I hope this helps.

Dale Morrell
Chief Engineer
KAKE-TV

David
post #17 of 3098
Donald Vest, Director of Engineering at CBS affiliate KWCH channel 12, reports "tower problems" will delay their DTV broadcasts until October. As you can see from his message, he didn't elaborate on what these problems might be, but it sounds like a euphamism to me.

David


Quote:




Due to tower problems I do not believe we will be on before October.

Donald H. Vest

post #18 of 3098
Thread Starter 
I bet most of them just make in before the end of their 6 month extension deadline. Hardly a coincidence I think.


Kevin C.
post #19 of 3098
David Travert, General Manager of KAKE-TV, channel 10, reports "We're just waiting for our antenna to be built and hope to be up by the end of August."

"Hope" rather than "expect". From "a couple of weeks" back in May to "the end of August" in July. Oh well, as long as the local stations are on the air this fall, September or October, all will be forgotten, but I sure wish I had more than two HD channels to watch (HD Net and HBO)!

David
post #20 of 3098
An article in today's Wichita Eagle reports:

KAKE Channel 10 has received their tranmitter and a crew is scheduled to begin installing it next week. General Manager Dave Trabert says "We hope to be one the air with digital by the end of August." I guess they figure it's going to take two weeks to install the transmitter.

Next up is expected to be FOX and UPN, KSAS 24 and KSCC 36 respectively. David Caruso, chief engineer for the sister stations says they should be up by October 15.

KWCH 12, in the person of general manager Kathy Mohn, is now saying Nov 1, which would be the last day of their 6 month extension.

KSNW 3 is bringing up the rear, with GM Al Buch now saying they "should be ready by year's end". I'm going to send an email to Al and ask him what's up, and whether they believe the FCC will grant them another extension.

David


BTW, what's up with Fox advertising Wide Screen High Definition on episodes of the X-Files? I thought they were strictly 480p? That is NOT High Definition, but ANY industry standard.
post #21 of 3098
From www.coxkansas.com

"Cox is planning to make HDTV available to approximately one half of our digital customers in 2002. The remaining markets will be launched as soon as possible thereafter. Cox has not released a specific system-by-system launch schedule at this time, but we will keep you informed about exciting new offerings in your area."

I switched from cable to DirecTV since two months ago there was no CLUE as to when DTV would be available via cable and I wasn't willing to sit on my hands and wait. But I also thought the local stations would be on the air May 1, and as of today, there is exactly ONE station broadcasting a digital signal (WB 33) and they don't have ANYTHING in HD - it's all upconverted NTSC. Anyway, I am VERY pleased (and impressed!) to hear that Cox plans on offering DTV before the end of the year. Alas, this is more an "estimate" than a promise, so I remain skeptical, yet hopeful. I just can't imagine very many people going to the trouble of mounting an antenna just to receive the local HD feeds, and I have always felt DTV wouldn't really happen until it was available on cable. And when it IS available on cable, maybe it really will take off and never look back.

No mention of specific monthly cost for HD service or the price of the cable box.

BTW, their FAQ is generally accurate, but I continue to laugh at their comparison with satellite. Is it somehow easier to connect a cable box than a satellite box? And the antenna is no big deal since the sat box includes the local stations in its channel guide and handles the two sources seamlessly. Ugly/unsightly dish? Heck, my next door neighbor had one for a year before I ever even SAW it, and mine is just as discreetly mounted. On the other hand, getting it all hooked up WAS a P*I*T*A and beyond what most people could manage, so I must concede they do have an advantage over satellite in convenience.

David
post #22 of 3098
KAKE TV did indeed begin installation of their DTV transmitter last week. A friend saw a piece on the news and they reportedly said they hoped to be fully operational within 2 months. The Wichita Eagle reported they would be up by the end of this month, i.e. two weeks, so I don't know who to believe. I haven't talked to anyone at KAKE recently, so this is all just what I've heard and what I've read.

Speaking of what I've read, I did send Al Buch (KSN channel 3) an email about the Eagle article where he said they would be up by the end of the year. He responded "All I'm allowed to say is what you read." Not sure what's up there, but it doesn't sound good. This obviously means they will be requesting an additional extension from the FCC.

According to document FCC 97-115, here will be the DTV channels for the Wichita stations. The first number is the current (analog) broadcast channel, the second is the new (digital) channel. The number in () is where DirecTV lists them in my channel guide. For example, WB, which is broadcasting upconverted NTSC material on their DTV channel, shows up on my HD set-top box as 33-1 rather than 34. Fox and UPN, which are expected to begin broadcasts by October 15, already have entries in my channel guide. KAKE does NOT yet have a listing in the guide.

3 (NBC) - 45
8 (PBS) - 29
10 (ABC) - 21 (??)
12 (CBS) - 19
24 (Fox) - 25 (18-1)
33 (WB) - 34 (33-1)
36 (UPN) - 35 (36-1)

Kansas DTV channel allotments

I'm going to start checking channels 21 and 10-1 every few days, in hopes KAKE will be broadcasting SOMETHING before they make a public announcement. I'm guessing (OK, hoping would be a better word) they might broadcast during the day, perhaps at low power, while they are testing.

David
post #23 of 3098
I am sure glad that somebody is keeping track of the HDTV progress in Wichita. I am just getting into home theater and really thinking about getting a dtc-100. I just never seen hdtv and would love to check it out before I spend the money. Do both Kevin and hayesdb have projectors or do you guys have rear projection systems. Drop me a line if you have a chance. Thanks.

Hessman
post #24 of 3098
Hessman,

I have a 65" Mitsubishi rear projection TV, Hughes E86 HD receiver, DirecTV, and an antenna for the local HD channels. Since getting the HD receiver early this summer, I have watched HDNet or HBO 95% of the time, and regular TV 5% of the time. The best HD is breathtaking, regardless of whether it's the Miss Hawaiin Tropic International Pageant, a baseball game, or a documentary.

I will also have a front projector with an 8' wide screen within a couple of days. I am really anxious to see HD on the BIG screen. Imagine watching your favorite shows each week in High Def on an 8' wide screen.

David
post #25 of 3098
David,
I have been reading about the WB going HD, and they say your WB will pass it come next month. Do you know what power they are currently at?? I am putting up an antenna (Cox dropped the discount on cable modems, so I am dropping their basic service) and would try to get them so see Smallville in HD, but Wichita to Manhattan is quite a stretch, but I am willing to try.

Also, Cox is clueless.
post #26 of 3098
What HD programming does WB have? I was under the impression they didn't have any. I don't know about their power, but I'm guessing picking it up in Manhattan is going to be "no way Jose". I think 30 miles or so is about max, but I have no idea where I heard that and it could be completely wrong.

I have been pondering the cable issue myself, and you are right, since the cable modem discount no longer applies, there is no point in paying for the basic cable, except that I currently do not have the other TV's connected to the antenna, one of them doesn't have a sat box (so add $5 a month for another sat box), and the one that does isn't an HD box so we'd be stuck watching the antenna feed even after the local stations begin broadcasting HD, and the antenna signals aren't that great. SO, I'm kinda stuck at the moment.

I called Cox a couple of months ago and was told they already HAD High Definition! Even this sales person didn't know that "Digital Cable" has NOTHING to do with "Digital Television", or DTV, much less anything to do with High Definition.

Digital Cable is nothing more than digitized and compressed NTSC. What you see on your TV is 480i, just like the current analog broadcasts. It's purpose is primarily to offer more stations in the same bandwidth, not to improve quality. As long as COX is quantity over quality, I will keep ragging on them. I have HEARD that they will be offering DTV by the end of the year. I anxiously await. Not. I mean, just what is it they are going to have that I don't already have NOW, with DirecTV and a $50 Radio Shack antenna?

David
post #27 of 3098
Right on. I would venture to guess, however, that you will be getting access to HDTV in Wichita via Cox sooner than we in Manhattan (topeka) will since you are a larger market. It is pretty sad to me that our states capitol has only 4 Tv stations, and only 2 that does news. Heck, the Fox from there is a low power station.

The WB announced that they will be showing several shows in HDTV this fall season. Here is a link:

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/020821/cgw027_1.html
post #28 of 3098
KAKE is not yet on the air. I'm checking every few days, although I'm not absolutely positive I know where to look. It'll be 21 according to the FCC allocations, but it might show up elsewhere on my Hughes E86 HD receiver. I'm not sure of the relationship between the actual channel and the, I'll call it "virtual channel" for lack of a better word. For example, WB is channel 34 in the allocation list, but is on channel 33-1 on my HD receiver. KAKE could well show up as 10-1, or even 10-2 since 10-1 is my antenna feed. And it's not just a matter of flipping through channels since the channels have to be specifically enabled in the Hughes channel guide.

I think I'll send Mr Trabert another email and see if he has any better feeling about when they will be broadcasting than he did two weeks ago, and maybe he can tell me what channel they will show up on.

David
post #29 of 3098
I sent David Trabert an email asking when KAKE would begin digital broadcasts. Here is his reply:

Quote:


We are in the final testing stages and hope to begin digital service in a couple of weeks. Once we begin broadcasting there will be both on-air and web site promotion.

I don't know how the channel guides will list the channel but we're hoping it will be listed separately, even though the programming will be the same as our analog service.

Dave Trabert
VP / General Manager
KAKE-TV
post #30 of 3098
haysdb,

If any of your stations in Wichita start broadcasting do you think some people in north Oklahoma could receive some programming?

Kevin
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