Originally Posted by goldrich
I've recently noticed an audio issue with WRTV. While watching local coverage of the area tornado damage on WRTV, WTHR, WISH and WXIN I've noticed that it seems to be a constant issue. Local and network audio on WRTV sounds as though it's being passed through a bad fiber optics line, as it has an empty and hollow quality. I find it very distracting to listen to. I first noticed this a few weeks ago.
Overall, I find the audio from WISH and WXIN to be quite good from local and network sources. While network audio on WTHR sounds fine, the audio from staff members in the studio sounds muffled, as though you were listening to them via an AM radio station as opposed to an FM station. Even the remote field reporters on WTHR sound better than those in the studio, which is just the opposite of what most radio station setups tend to be.
IndyJeff, any feedback from your email to WTHR?
Yes, I did get a very good note back from Al at WTHR. Here it is:
Thank you for your report of your observations and your question.
I am very much aware of the AVS Forum. I know Steve Rich and have been following the AVS posts for the ten years plus that the Indianapolis area Forum has been in existence.
What’s been most interesting recently is the variation of AVS Forum observations, in particular the posts of 10/20 that “It seems obvious, at least to my eyes, that WTHR has conducted some video tweaking, installed some new equipment (encoder??) or a little of both as tonight's NBC SNF game from Lucas Oil Stadium looks the best I've seen for a long time. A big reduction in macroblocking and the fast-motion blur as the NBC Peacock dissolves back into live action. A very nice improvement!”, “looking really good on DirecTV. This is the best it's looked on channel 13 in a long time” and “watched the game last night, and was very impressed with the picture quality. My old eyes thought the picture was much improved over previous games”.
To let you in on what video tweaking or equipment changes were made that resulted in those 10/20 comments…the answer is absolutely nothing! The WTHR equipment and settings on 10/20 were exactly the same as always and for any other broadcast. As those comments demonstrate, at least part of what you see comes from variances in the network feeds to us. Thursday night’s Colts game is a case in point. A mistaken assumption you are making is that the NFL Network feed to us was the same NFL Network on Cable/Sat/UVerse – it was not. We had to use a separate subfeed that NFL Network specifically set up for us that did not have the embedded NFL Network Nielsen ratings service codes so that WTHR would properly receive Nielsen ratings credit. I compared that NFL Network special OTA broadcast subfeed to their main Cable/Sat/UVerse program feed and noted myself that the OTA broadcast subfeed coming to us from NFL Network was not quite as sharp as their main program feed. So a good deal of the picture detail/quality Thursday evening was the network subfeed to us.
I understand that some Forum posters have at times commented about differences in picture artifacts compared with stations in neighboring markets. The range of those comments, including the very positive comments on 10/20 noted above, demonstrates how subjective these observations are.
I’m not saying that there are not variations in picture quality, there are. Many factors affect picture quality, and the answer to your question is that WTHR’s encoder is and has been exhaustively set up, finely tweaked and maintained to provide the optimal HD picture possible with incoming feed quality, resolution and subchannel content. The WTHR encoder operates in a “statistical multiplex” mode, which dynamically shares bits among the HD and two SD channels – with by far the highest bit allocation priority given to WTHR HD 13.1. So the encoder dynamically uses every bit available to optimize the HD picture while keeping a minimum service level to the subchannels.
I appreciate and value your observations and comments and those of the other AVS posters. Be assured that we’ll continue to insure that the entire signal path and transmission systems are optimized to provide the best possible picture quality.
Director of Engineering & Operations
WTHR NBC 13, WALV-CD 46, MeTV & COZI TV