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Macon, GA - HDTV - Page 9

post #241 of 2133
Anyone noticing WPGA-DT missing the cut back to HD tonight after spot breaks?
post #242 of 2133
Does anyone have any suggestions/recommendations on antenna installers in the area? I want to put up an antenna that will pick up the Atlanta stations prior to the Super Bowl.

The back of my house is 3 stories and I really don't feel that I need that kind exhilaration at this point in my life.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
post #243 of 2133
I would hope that viewers that put up an antenna for Atlanta would go ahead and install a rotor. How much more does it cost? There is also the possibility of picking up Columbus. (I don't know if anyone has successfully tried it) I believe that our local management is now convinced that we need to do HDTV pass through, though I cannot speak for them. It looks like the next thing we will be doing is dynamic PSIP. That will just cost money, without any benefit. Yet, the FCC is mandating it. If they did things right, they would have required that all TV sets sold have DTV receive capability as soon as a modulation standard was decided on, regardless of whether it was an HDTV set or not. Since then, tons of NTSC only sets have been sold. What a bungle. That would have improved the profit picture for HDTV signifigantly. Then improvements would be driven by profit outlook, not FCC mandate. a tuner for this could have been mass manufactured for pennies. Anyway, we are where we are. I believe it will catch on, but it will take a little while.

Ralph Carson
Assistant Chief Engineer
WGXA TV
post #244 of 2133
I recently tried a Channel Master CM4221 UHF antenna, and about all it did was make ABC rock solid. Still can't get NBC or Fox reliably. I should have gotten the eight bay Channel Master. If anyone would like to try the 4221, give me a call at 922-9711 (evening), or email wirvine@mindspring.com.

My setup now is the cheapest RS combo, the CM4221, and a CM Titan 7777 preamp. The Titan preamp has separate, switch selectable VHF/UHF and UHF Only inputs. Setting the switch to allow the UHF Only input, also changes the VHF/UHF input to VHF.

Regards
Walt Irvine
post #245 of 2133
Quote:


Originally posted by Ralph Carson
[b]I would hope that viewers that put up an antenna for Atlanta would go ahead and install a rotor. How much more does it cost?

$80-$100. Kinda steep on top of mast, antenna and amplifier. My thoughts are "get it pointed for Atlanta, and lock it down."

Quote:


I believe that our local management is now convinced that we need to do HDTV pass through, though I cannot speak for them.

We appreciate the tough spot you're in... but until we see an HD Superbowl picture, and HD NASCAR on Fox, WAGA-DT is still the winner for those with the capability.

It's been said, and I agree, that the number who care/have the ability is miniscule. Of course, some of us can be vocal
post #246 of 2133
If the cost of a rotor is $80.00 to $100.00, that's not too bad, considering that it is a one time cost. People routinely pay up to $40.00 a month for cable. And after you have spent that $100.00 for the rotor, the programming is free. It's always good to have a backup, and the ability to swing that antenna around is just that. I wouldn't put up a tall antenna without one.

Ralph Carson
post #247 of 2133
Quote:


58-1, WPGA-DT
63-1 through 63-4, WHSG-DT (TBN channels, believe this is a bad PSIP, too, think it's supposed to be 58-1 to 4)

If WHSG-DT used 58-1 then it would conflict with WPGA-DT. It's anybody's guess as to how your receiver would handle it. But according to FCC records. WHSG's NTSC channel actually is 63 and their DTV is 44 so their PSIP major channel number is correct.

Speaking of WPGA, this morning they upgraded the software in their upconverter. I thought it already did an outstanding job but Hal Sutton says the quality should now be even better, with more consistent chroma levels and less scaling artifacts. He also recently tracked down the problem they were having with digital closed captioning, that's working properly now. His next task is an encoder software revision that will let him change the MPEG program stream number from 2 to 3 (this is not the same as the PSIP minor channel number, but apparently some receivers incorrectly display this number instead of PSIP minor channel which might be why some of you are saying you see it as 58-2). The reason he has to change it is so that the video and audio PIDs will comply with the FCC's new minimum PID number rule. When that happens you may have to rescan, keep that in mind if you suddenly can't see WPGA-DT in the coming weeks.
post #248 of 2133
$80 bucks may not seem that bad, but when you consider it is $80 on top $100 for an antenna, $300 for a receiver, $40 for a mast and mount.
It's really not a cheap way to get four or five channels, not to mention the hassle.
Unlike the majority of people, I love this stuff. So I deal with the hassle just so I can enjoy the HD, but I wish cox, dish, et al, were allowed to provide me the content that is available, that I am willing to pay for, and weren't forced into this non-capitalistic protection of the little guy. The locals don't provide me any added value and in some cases are just unable to keep pace. Yet others aren't allowed to come in and compete for my business. Maybe I am just missing something, but I think that if Cox wanted to retransmit anchorage Alaska locals, and I am willing to pay for it, then it should be allowed.

/end rant - maybe I should contact my congressman rather than a message board
post #249 of 2133
Yeah, I don't really care for exclusivity either, as in syndex or network protection. However, that is very common in many industries, and is a contractural agreement between the content provider and the distributer. it draws a lot of ire because the public is exposed to it, and everyone loves their freedom. Regardless, there has to be money made by all parties concerned in any business enterprise, and television is unique in that we do give away the product to the general public. However, it isn't free, in fact it is very expensive. So we have to be sure that when middle Georgia viewers see a program that we air, that we are getting paid for it, since we are the contracted distributor. Duplicate signals from other markets just serve to water down the market because they are paid for from somewhere else. The advertising is worthless because no one is going to drive a hundred miles to buy a product in another city, unless it is something very unique, and in that case, then they will get it over the internet. So, we would be harmed by another station that isn't even competing against us. That is the reasoning, and I think it's fair. However, in return it is our duty that we should provide an equal air product, and I will always work toward that when I can. However, I do understand how folks feel about the blue screen. I wish there was a better way. Thank you,

Ralph Carson
Assistant Chief Engineer
WGXA TV24
post #250 of 2133
hoping for Fox HDTV this nascar season on Cox. Any idea when this might happen?
thanks
post #251 of 2133
I wouldn't count on seeing NASCAR in HD until the Pepsi 400, when NBC takes over coverage (and that assumes that the master control operator at WMGT can be bothered to put the HD on the air... watching HD on WMGT-DT is painful - entire segments between commercials left in 4x3, etc... but I do understand that it's bothersome to do all that switching and takes away from quality cell-talk time).

The only way you'll get NASCAR in HD is to put up an over the air antenna, or call up DirecTV and get set up there... just be sure your service address is in the Atlanta market, so you can get WAGA-DT. Either way, for the first half of the season, your only HDTV alternative *is* WAGA-DT/Atlanta
post #252 of 2133
Sure would have been nice to have seen the superbowl in HD! I guess I'll have to live with the highlights on ESPN HD that are being shown in HD. Now all I have to live with is "24" not being in HD......it's truly a shame.

Bob
post #253 of 2133
I must say it was nice to see the Budweiser Shootout in HD. Pretty pictures

Unfortunately, in order to do so, I was forced to view a non-local station.

If local stations actually *cared* about their local audiences, they'd get on the horn to their legislators and make it illegal to view out-of-market stations over the air, just like it's illegal to receive stations from out-of-market via satellite.

Or they'd provide their local audiences the same quality the out-of-market stations do.

Of course, option #1 is less expensive, and makes more sense for cash-strapped stations.
post #254 of 2133
Huh?
post #255 of 2133
Rant time...

Satellite delivery of TV signals made it possible to receive television stations from anywhere in the country, no matter where you live.

Broadcasters said it wasn't fair to make them compete for viewers with stations from outside their market, and Congress agreed. So it's against the law for satellite companies to sell you network TV signals from, say, Seattle, if you have an affiliate of the same network available to you over the air.

Now the law has been changed slightly, allowing satellite customers to receive "significantly viewed" stations via satellite... here in Houston County, that amounts to a couple of stations in Columbus, GA. But the network stations in Macon retain the right to force the satellite companies to block the Columbus stations during network programming.

Basically, the laws have been written to favor the local station. Prohibiting people from viewing network programming via any but their local affiliate... but only if received from satellite. Cable companies can carry any channel they want, subject to the same programming blackout rules, though.

That's all been well and good... for the local network affiliates. They've got exclusivity, if you want to watch their network, you have to watch them, and their commercials.

In the past, if you should happen to want to watch another network affiliate, you could... with your regular old TV antenna. But the signal was likely to be less than stellar, so you'd get ghosting, video noise, etc. So very few would do that.

With the advent of digital signals, it becomes possible to watch 2 or more network affiliates of the same network, if the viewer has their outdoor antenna system all set up correctly (amplifiers, rotors, etc). But it's a digital signal. If you can receive it, it's good video... no ghosts, video noise (unless introduced in transmission), etc, etc.

So network affiliates need to do one of two things... they either need to provide the same video quality that other network affiliates in their region provide... or they need to find some other way to keep the eyeballs watching *their* video, and not another affiliate.

In middle GA, we have two cases of network affiliates that can't/won't provide HD programming on their digital feeds.

WMGT-DT, the NBC affiliate, has the *ability* to send HD when NBC has it. But frequently, they "forget" to switch to it. Unlike the CBS and ABC affiliates here, WMGT doesn't have automated equipment to do the switching, and they depend on the master control operator remembering to switch. Watching NBC's HD is painful many times.

However, if one is inclined, one can watch WXIA-DT from Atlanta. They have (every time I've watched) gotten it right every time.

The other case in middle GA is WGXA-DT, the Fox affiliate in Macon. The station doesn't have the equipment to bring high definition TV to middle Georgia.

But, if one wants to see HD programming on Fox, it's possible to watch WAGA-DT from Atlanta.

Admittedly, HD viewer numbers are miniscule (when compared with the number of folks who watch the analog NTSC signal, either over the air, on cable or satellite)... so HD isn't a priority for the stations. It costs a lot of money for a minimal return in viewer numbers (aka ad revenue).

But, as more and more people replace aging television sets with digital/HD sets, those numbers will grow.

So, under the current premise that a TV station has been serving an area as a monopoly, essentially, with a certain network, and therefore has the right to legal protections to keep that monopoly in their area (ie the satellite and cable laws regarding programming blackout, etc), it stands to reason that it is unfair to expect local stations to compete for viewers with out-of-market affiliates of their same network.

If local affiliates actually care about the numbers of local viewers, they will either upgrade their facilities to provide the same video quality as stations in surrounding markets.... which 2 stations in the Macon market have done... or they would get on the horn to their legislators to get laws crafted to regulate what you can legally receive over the air.

Getting laws passed would easily be the least expensive method for local affiliates. Upgrading facilities is terribly expensive.

I fear that's what we'll see. I half expect NAB to start lobbying for market exclusivity requirements being built in to digital/HD receivers.

Personally, I'd like to see the gloves come off, take out all those silly market exclusive rules, and let people see whatever they wanna see, without restriction. If a local station can't provide anything people wanna see... oh well. Sell the license to someone who can/will. The whole notion that any business has any "right" to continue to exist, if necessary with laws to protect their business, is, to me, just downright stupid.

OK, done with the rant. Let the flames begin!
post #256 of 2133
Quote:
The whole notion that any business has any "right" to continue to exist, if necessary with laws to protect their business, is, to me, just downright stupid.

Get a clue Dave.

There is a big difference between satellite and over-the-air. Over-the-air is a direct transmission from the broadcaster to you. On satellite/cable it is not a direct transmission but rather a retransmission. The difference can be summed up in three words:

Retransmitting Is Copying.

Therefore it is subject to all the protections that our nation's copyright laws allow.

You don't have to worry about over-the-air being restricted. You have the freedom to view any direct broadcast signal that your antenna can receive. In fact it's the only freedom you really have in this whole matter.
post #257 of 2133
Quote:


Originally posted by Wayne Bundrick
[b]Get a clue Dave.

There is a big difference between satellite and over-the-air. Over-the-air is a direct transmission from the broadcaster to you. On satellite/cable it is not a direct transmission but rather a retransmission. The difference can be summed up in three words:

Retransmitting Is Copying.

Therefore it is subject to all the protections that our nation's copyright laws allow.

Which is simply parroting the NAB line.

Using TIVO is copying, too. So's using your handy, dandy VCR.

Let's not argue about personal use, etc. I believe, and you cannot disprove (nor can I prove), that NAB uses "copyright law" as a way to keep affiliates from having to face out-of-market competition from affiliates of the same network.

And I'll be honest - if I owned a network affiliate, I'd probably feel the same way about it.

It'll be interesting to see if you're right about out-of-market over-the-air remaining available.
post #258 of 2133
I have given up on receiving NBC or Fox in my area. Just too many darn trees. This weekend I put up an XG91 UHF antenna from antennasdirect, and saw zero improvement over my CM4221. I now own a Terk TV55, the cheapest RS VHF/UHF combo, a CM4221, and the XG91. At least the RS is serving to pick up CBS. Must be time for a garage sale.

My understanding is that locals are coming via Directv. I just hope they will be in HD.

Walt
post #259 of 2133
Dear Viewers:
From WGXA:
Have patience. It will come. I don't know when, but it will come. We have received our PSIP gear from Harris, and are in the process of installing it. I know, that does nothing for HD, but it is an FCC mandate that has to be gotten out of the way. The subject of high def is not dead here. Discussions and proposals have been circulated. That's all I can say. For my part, I have designed an interface that will cause the Fox splicer switch to follow the analog switcher when it goes to network, thus avoiding the problem mentioned that another station is having concerning whole segments being broadcast in low def in a high def program. The PSIP changes will no doubt cause problems, so please report here if you lose reception and we will address it as soon as possible. Thank you,

Ralph Carson
Assistant Chief Engineer
WGXA TV
post #260 of 2133
Is anyone able to get a HD signal from an indoor antenna?
I seem to only get about 60% signal on a good day, and that looks like crap.
I just purchased the Terk HD Pro at Radio shack hoping to see the Daytona 500 tomorrow in HD. I really doubt its going to happen, but one can wish.

I live in Warner Robins.
post #261 of 2133
Unfortunately, I can promise you will not be watching the daytona 500 with an indoor antenna.
The local fox affiliate is not yet broadcasting an HD signal, so your only hope is to pick up the atlanta fox signal.
If you read through the posts above, Oldave has had some success with picking up Fox atlanta and has his setup nicely explained.
While I get excellent reception from all the macon locals, I have not had any success in warner robins of receiving the atlanta locals, with a 90" antenna 25ft up. Of course I am not 100% sure that my receiver's are not contributing to this.
post #262 of 2133
Quote:


Originally posted by gladesteen
Is anyone able to get a HD signal from an indoor antenna?
I seem to only get about 60% signal on a good day, and that looks like crap.
I just purchased the Terk HD Pro at Radio shack hoping to see the Daytona 500 tomorrow in HD. I really doubt its going to happen, but one can wish.

I live in Warner Robins.

Well, first problem is that the 500 is on Fox, so your only shot at getting it in HD is by picking up Atlanta. Your chances of doing that on an indoor is exceedingly small.

As far as other HD, I recommend the Zenith Silver Sensor. I tried three different antennas before settling on that one. The others were the sort available in Walmart and Radio Shack. The difference in results between the Silver Sensor and those others was stunning. The Silver Sensor can be found at Sears and BestBuy, though not necessarily in stock at yours.
post #263 of 2133
Yes, you are right, no HDTV racing for me

However i can report that the "new" Terk HDTV Pro antenna is working GREAT! I've picked up the Fox station in Macon and I am getting nearly 90% signal rate! The picture looks much better than satellite. I say "new" because the guy at Radio shack said they just got them in and he had no idea how they perform. I can tell you that i tried 3 antennas from Wally world and not one would give me a clear signal. The best i got from them was about 60% signal. This Terk is smokin' the Phillips brand easy!

It is a little funny tho........sitting here watching a $3k plasma tv with rabbit ears! LOL !!!

Hopefully Macon gets their act together and starts pumping out HD signals!!
post #264 of 2133
Quote:


Originally posted by gladesteen

Hopefully Macon gets their act together and starts pumping out HD signals!!

Don't worry they will, but when they do they will either fail to flip the switch to actually broadcast HD content in HD or fail to have 5.1 pass through meaning you won't enjoy surround sound on programs that have it.

Although the fox affilate will not have either of these problems (does the 5.1 pass through too though?) if they ever get the hd thing going.
post #265 of 2133
Quote:


Originally posted by Bripeace
Don't worry they will, but when they do they will either fail to flip the switch to actually broadcast HD content in HD or fail to have 5.1 pass through meaning you won't enjoy surround sound on programs that have it.

Although the fox affilate will not have either of these problems (does the 5.1 pass through too though?) if they ever get the hd thing going.

The NBC affiliate is the only one having that problem. WMAZ and WPGA invested the effort to make the switch seamless. Almost like professionally run outfits (Hi John and Hal!)

And we've seen from WGXA that they'll be doing the same once they finally get all the HD gear in.

Which leaves WMGT as one of the nation's biggest amateur TV stations.

Many are hoping that if WGXA doesn't get to HD before the Pepsi 400 on July 2, at least WMGT will bother to switch back to HD after local commercials.
post #266 of 2133
I do not recommend indoor antennas for DTV reception. Since at this time the signals are weak, you need the benefit of a high gain antenna, which would have to be large enough to be outside. Also, high gain antennas are directional, also beneficial to reduce multipath reception. Though you may not see multipath in digital, it still can degrade the signal and make the signal threshhold level higher. Even a simple outdoor antenna setup is better than an indoor antenna.

Ralph Carson
WGXA TV
post #267 of 2133
To a broadcaster it is encouraging to see that someone is having good luck with an indoor antenna. Considering how weak our signal is, it's good to know that it can be sucessfully picked up with "rabbit ears".

Ralph Carson
WGXA TV
post #268 of 2133
We now have our PSIP system operating. You should see program information there. We still have some things to work out, but basically it is running.

Incidently, when we do get our HD up, it will be pass through, and it will be switched without demodulation, so the 5.1 Dolby signal certainly will be intact for network programming. And as for switching, I believe we already have that worked out. Our HD switch, which we already have, will follow the analog switcher automatically and will not require operator intervention. Therefore to the operator, there will be no difference, or new procedures to learn.

Ralph carson
WGXA TV
post #269 of 2133
Thanks for the update Ralph. Do you have any plans to increase the power on the HD signal so more folks can see your broadcast?
post #270 of 2133
That will probably come after HD pass through. There was talk about doing it all at once, but that fell through. That's all I can say about it.

Ralph carson
WGXA TV
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