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Little Rock, AR - HDTV - Page 3

post #61 of 12505

Originally posted by tmcelmurry
comcast hdtv is $5 a month. we were told that we would get cbs, nbc, abc, and you would get HBO HD and Showtime HD if you already had there packages.

The lady that I talked to also told me that they had plans to add one or two other channels shortly, but who knows.

Have you got this installed yet? How is the quality?

Until Dish comes out with their 921 HD PVR, I'm going to pay the $5 for HD CBS and ABC. I was told that NBC is not yet available.

Also, if your interested, they said I could add HBO HD east and west feeds for $9.95 a month. I only have the limited basic package, so I'm going to do this for a few months because I can't wait to see HDTV at home.
post #62 of 12505
Thread Starter 

Originally posted by Tusk
... I'm going to pay the $5 for HD CBS and ABC. I was told that NBC is not yet available.

The Little Rock NBC affiliate, KARK-DT is only broadcasting digitally @ 480i STANDARD DEFINITION, and aren't showing any NBC network HD programming. They are too cheap to install HD equipment.

Since KARK-DT is only broadcasting in 480i SD, it would be a waste of comcast's bandwidth to carry the digital channel, when the picture is identical to the analog channel.

Send complaints to KARK here.
post #63 of 12505
Hey arxaw,

How do I tell which LR stations are VHF and which are UHF? I hope to get a STB soon and I have never tried using an antenna before. I was trying to figure out what I might need.

I looked on antennaweb.org and everything is listed as red except KATV-DT, KVTN-DT, and KWBF-DT (which is not live yet) and those are blue. I live in chenal and can see the towers on shinall from my driveway.

If this has been covered before, I apologize. Thanks for any input.
post #64 of 12505
Thread Starter 
Antennaweb shows the actual channel numbers being used. The digital channels end in "-DT".

Channels 2 - 13 are VHF; channels 14 - 69 are UHF.

If you live near Shinall mountain, you should have little problem picking up KARK-DT (NBC), KLRT-DT (FOX) & KTHV-DT (CBS). They are all broadcasting from Shinall. KTHV-DT is the only VHF digital channel, but since you're so close, a UHF-only antenna would work for you.

For ABC (KATV-DT) and KASN-DT (UPN), you'll need to aim the antenna ~SouthEast of your home. See Antennaweb.org for exact directions on the "map" there. PBS (KETS-DT) is not on the air digitally.

If you want an indoor antenna, try the Silver Sensor from Sears or Circuit City. They'll let you return it, if it doesn't work for you.

A good outdoor antenna is the CM 4221. It's small, unobtrusive, and not expensive.

If you want a good OTA-only set top receiver, the Zeniths (Circuit City) have the strongest tuners. I have a Samsung, but if I were buying a STB today, I would get a Zenith.
post #65 of 12505
Thread Starter 
BTW, the CM 4221 is a better than "code blue", high gain antenna.
post #66 of 12505

Since KARK-DT is only broadcasting in 480i SD, it would be a waste of comcast's bandwidth to carry the digital channel, when the picture is identical to the analog channel.

After it was installed, the installer told me almost the exact same same, but did say they were looking into possibly getting hdtv feed from another nbc station on some "true hdtv" feed in the future.

I watch CSI last night and the picture was great. I couldnt believe that I was able to see every piece of glass fly though the air or see every drop of rain from the sky. I havnt been able to see a abc "true hdtv" show yet.

I dont know what the hbo feed will look like yet, since I am know told that they will not have hbo hd till tommorrow, because, as the person on the phone said, "We have put the cart in front of the horse."
post #67 of 12505
Thread Starter 
Your comcast installer was BS-ing you. They can't show another NBC network station in KARK's market. KARK would immediately have the FCC on comcast's tail.

I've been watching CSI on KTHV-DT for about a year now, and yes, it looks fantastic. Some of the blood & gore scenes are a bit too much detail....

ABC's HD offerings although very good, don't seem to have the "punch" that CBS' 1080i shows do. That may be due to the fact that 720p must be converted to 1080i for my TV. If your display does native 720p, it may look better.

HBO on DirecTV is very good, but a bit below CBS quality, IMO. Of course, films transferred to HD look somewhat softer than the HBO original programming.

DirecTV also has:
Showtime HD
Discovery HD Theater
HDnet movies (better than HBO-HD, IMO)
HD Special events channel
post #68 of 12505

Originally posted by arxaw
Your comcast installer was BS-ing you. They can't show another NBC network station in KARK's market. KARK would immediately have the FCC on comcast's tail.

I wonder what the exact rule is for cable. I'm well aware of the SHVA for Dish, but when I lived in Fayetteville, we had the FS/Fay NBC, CBS and ABC, and we also had the Tulsa CBS and ABC as well as the Little Rock NBC. This was part of basic cable even though FS/Fay is its own DMA.
post #69 of 12505
Thread Starter 
My dad used to live in Heber Springs, AR. Their cable system carried ABC stations from LR & Jonesboro. But both of those stations can also be received there OTA.

That would have a lot to do with it, as well as who the various stations are owned by.
post #70 of 12505
Are KASN-DT and KATV-DT broadcasting from the same tower?

I have a Channel Master 4228 antenna with rotar and a CM 7775 preamplifer.

I can get a 77% reading on my samsung receiver for KASN-DT but I have no signal at all for KATV-DT. After changing the antenna position I can get a 77% signal for KATV-DT I have a 33% to 0% signal for KASN-DT?

Any suggestions anyone ?
post #71 of 12505
Thread Starter 
I was having problems with KASN-DT 38-1 yesterday. Now, it's a "0" on the signal strength meter.

All the other digitals 4-1, 7-1, 7-2, 11-1, 11-2 & 16-1 are coming in perfectly, with no dropouts.

Anyone else having problems with 38-1?
post #72 of 12505
Thread Starter 

Originally posted by hpb
Are KASN-DT and KATV-DT broadcasting from the same tower?


But both towers are in the Redfield area, just a few degrees apart, depending on where you live.

Maybe it has something to do with KETS-DT adding their digital antenna to KASN-DT's tower. (KETS' analog antenna is on KATV's tower). I hope so. It would be nice if KETS would get their long-overdue station on the air.

I tried to call Allen Finne, chief engineer for KLRT/KASN, but he's out of the office until early August.
post #73 of 12505
I'm getting a zero on 38-1 as well!
post #74 of 12505
Thread Starter 
KASN-DT, channel 39 (aka 38-1), is back on the air.
post #75 of 12505
Thread Starter 
Does comcast carry both 11-1 & 11-2 on their HD/digital cable in LR?
post #76 of 12505
I was able to find a spot to point my antenna between the two towers where I can pick up all the channels. The problem is sometimes I get dropouts on the channels from this position. It was happening during CSI, so I turned to that tower, because I mostly watch CBS and FOX. With football season approaching, I will have to have ABC as well. Would it be better to get a rotor and switch between the towers, or get an amplifier to pick up all the stations from the position between the towers. Does anyone have any suggestions on which I should try, and which models to try? Thanks.
post #77 of 12505
Thread Starter 
You are getting dropouts probably because the antenna is getting mulitpath - reflected signals causing the disruptions. Multipath can change, depending on time of day, time of year and atmospheric conditions. A preamp would likely make multipath problems worse.

Also, the type of antenna you use can affect reception. LR has digital channels in both the VHF & UHF bands, so you need a VHF+UHF antenna. CBS and (soon) PBS digitals are in the VHF band. All the rest are UHF.

What antenna are you using right now? Brand and model, if possible. Also, what part of town do you live in? What's your nine digit ZIP code?
post #78 of 12505
Thread Starter 
I haven't been able to receive (UPN) KASN-DT most of the day. Anyone else having problems?
post #79 of 12505
I just checked KASN and it was coming in fine.

I saw this article about Nbc and HD http://www.adweek.com/aw/national/ar...ent_id=1941056

I emailed Perry Chester @ Kark and asked if they were going to be broadcasting in HD any time soon .... Still waiting for a response !!
post #80 of 12505
I just found out that Comcast was offering HDTV when I scrolled through the guide on my digital box and saw HBOHD and SHOHD. Placed my order today and I should have an installer out here Thursday.

I previously had OTA HD reception through a Zenith HDV420 set top box, but the only channel I could get was KTHV 11-1. I live in an apartment building and can only use an indoor antenna. CSI in HD is an awesome experience though. My only dissapointment was sometime in February of this year when KTHV changed something about their signal and I could no longer receive it at all!

I have no idea who to contact about these things. After a couple of weeks with no KTHV in HD, I just said "screw it" and packed up the Zenith box and stored it away.

Well, it's good to know that some people in Arkansas actually read avsforum and they seem to be people in the know. I figured if I ever contacted a TV station here and told them their HD signal was out I would get someone that would say: "HDTV, what's that?" Anyway, from reading this thread, it sounds like my KTHV problems may be resolved. I'll have to pull out the Zenith and see if it's working now.

On another note, which set-top box is Comcast using for HDTV? Is it the Motorola 5100? If so, do you know if the DVI-D port is enabled? I have a TV with DVI-D input and I'd like to be able to use it. All of my component inputs are full...
post #81 of 12505
Thread Starter 

Originally posted by jstrossner
I just checked KASN and it was coming in fine.

...I emailed Perry Chester @ Kark and asked if they were going to be broadcasting in HD any time soon .... Still waiting for a response !!

He never replied to my emails. What address did you use? Their web site shows pchester AT kark DOT com

You can also contact KARK's owner, Nexstar Broadcasting Group.

In addition to no HD, KARK is only transmitting at a measly 4kw ERP (compared to KLRT & KASN @ 1000kw!). And KATV is only 30kw.

If you're having reception problems with KARK or KATV (not HDTV complaints), contact:
Rick Chessen, FCC DTV Task Force Chair
tel: 202 418-2602

Tell him how much you've invested in DTV, only to find out some of the stations can't be received due to low transmitter power. The public is being mislead on DTV.

WRT KASN-DT, they're back on the air. Their chief engineer has been on vacation. That might be the reason KLRT & KASN have been having trouble lately.
post #82 of 12505
Thread Starter 
Comcast has ESPN-HD (which occasionally broadcasts games in HD - but most programming is just "stretched" SD from their regular channel), and SHO-HD & HBO-HD. HBO/SHO-HD channels are included if you rent their HD box and subscribe to SHO & HBO. Comcast only carries two LR local digital stations - KATV (ABC) & KTHV (CBS). For the rest, you still need an antenna and an OTA STB.

According to this thread, some comcast boxes have DVI, others don't. And on the ones that do have it, it's non-functional!

Back in Feb., I think KTHV-DT was only broadcasting at ~8kw ERP. They're now at 27.5kw, which still doesn't sound like much, but they're on VHF (channel12). VHF requires only a fraction of the power a UHF station needs. But it does normally require a different antenna than UHF. What indoor antenna were you using?
post #83 of 12505
I did use Kark's web link email. I'll send a copy off to Nextstar.
post #84 of 12505

Originally posted by arxaw
What indoor antenna were you using?

Terk with an amplifier (for some reason I get a better signal with no amplification though). On a clear day I can sometimes get 16-1 KLRT Fox, but with Fox, what's the point? It's 480P anyway, although 480P widescreen is (slightly) better than 480i 4:3.

If KTHV is coming through Comcast I might as well just get rid of the Zenith box. No sense in cluttering up the home theatre setup with yet another component. Besides, those two component inputs on my Sony set are becoming prime real estate. It looks like the DVD player and HD Cable box are going to win the contest for the only two component hookups, and the Xbox will be relegated back to S-Video...

I know I must be probably the only person that actually wants them to enable DVI-D, because for most it just means copy protection, but my set supports it and I could really use the extra input. Not to mention slightly better PQ.

Thanks for the info.
post #85 of 12505
Thread Starter 
It's a shame to give up on OTA, when I suspect the root of your reception problem is that awful TERK antenna. They are the worst pieces of overpriced over-hyped junk on the market. It's been reported in this forum that a coat hanger works better. Others have reporting signal strength increased when they disconnected their Terk - really.

post #86 of 12505
Funny, I tried the Zenith super sensor first and it was worse... Honestly, living on the bottom floor of an apartment complex and having an indoor antenna, how many channels can I actually get? I pretty much came to the conclusion that to get any decent reception in Arkansas you must have an outdoor antenna. Is that not the case?

Anyway, I just want to watch HDTV, not worry about pixelation, drop outs, or anything like that. Digital cable might suck, but at least I don't usually have signal quality problems with it. I think it's a pretty bad state of affairs when we have all of this high-tech home electronics yet to tune in a channel you have to sit there and twist the rabbit ears around just like it was 20 years ago. I thought technology was supposed to improve things like this. Maybe I'm just jaded but so far my OTA HDTV experience in Little Rock has been less than stellar.

I should have taken the Zenith back to Circuit City before the 30 day return deadline, because it's really not worth it for just one channel.
post #87 of 12505
Thread Starter 
Enjoy your cable.

I have a friend who is looking for an OTA STB. If you're interested in selling the Zenith, send me a PM.
post #88 of 12505
I had emailed Kark to ask about their plans for hd. Here's the response.

"Jeff, Thanks for the inquiry. KARK,at this time ,has no plans to broadcast HDTV this year ,or even early next year.Our company just purchased KARK and there are higher priorities facing us at this time. Conversion to HDTV is important to us.However , it is not the most important item on our list. Thank you!
Perry Chester"
post #89 of 12505
Thread Starter 
That is the response I expected.

They spent millions for a new building, but can't afford the equipment for network HD.

The FCC should allow satellite and cable to carry out of market HD network affiliates in places where the local affiliate is not broadcasting at full power or not passing network HD.
post #90 of 12505
I just wanted to post my experience with Comcast HD in Little Rock. My install was scheduled for Thursday between 10 am and 2 pm (I asked if they would let me come into the office and pick up the box, but no, they would not).

Install Experience:

The installer didn't show up until 4:00 pm, and only after I had called the central office 3 times wondering where they were. They are not good about even calling you to let you know they are running late. I'm a Support Engineer for Sun Microsystems, so it's hard for me to believe the lack of professionalism from their install contractors. If they are running late, that's one thing, but I would expect at least a courtesy call to let me know their ETA. I did receive a $20 credit on my bill as a way of saying "we're sorry for being late."

The installer brought a Motorola 5100 box and a fairly thick looking cable which is basically component video + RCA audio, all 5 wires in one thick white cable. I used my own cables. He didn't seem to know what TOSLINK was for audio, and was kind of surprised that I didn't need to hook up any RCAs to my stereo. The install went very smoothly.

Post-install experience:

My set is a Sony 40" XBR. I checked both SD and HD broadcasts, and was impressed and a little surprised that right out of the box the STB was configured properly for my television. HD broadcasts were sent in 1080i with a 16:9 aspect ratio (of course), and when I change channel to an SD broadcast the box outputs a 480i signal to my television, which causes it to resync and I get a 4:3 aspect ratio so the image is properly zoomed on my TV. The color is a little off on the SD broadcasts for some reason, and this seems to affect both the component outputs and the S-Video output (I connected S-Video into my television also so that I could A/B the SD channels). The color isn't too noticeable most of the time, but watching a few minutes of the Simpsons on KLRT it seemed like I might be getting a little bit of green push. Overall, SD picture quality is slightly worse than watching on a non-HD digital cable box.

When I first tuned to HBO-HD and SHO-HD, I was getting some pixellation and MPEG artifacts every few minutes. I called Comcast and the operator said some of the "rate codes" on my account were not setup properly, and they reconfigured something on their end. After a couple of hours, the MPEG droupouts cleared up. This seemed to affect only the HBO-HD and SHO-HD pay channels.

One other thing to note: This box must have a much more powerful CPU than the other digital cable boxes I've used because channels change much faster. Also, the painfully slow channel guide is much faster. Now screens re-draw instantly. They still have the same fugly guide with banner ads on it though.

Channel quality:

The two local stations (ABC(?) affiliate and KTHV CBS affiliate) seem to be pass-through of the exact same signal you get from an OTA receiver. Of course KTHV is probably the best quality. I've always been very impressed with the HD programming on CBS.

ESPN-HD is really lousy. They are simply stretching SD material to a HD resolution (not sure if they're using 1080i, 720p, or 480p). Eventually they may broadcast some games in HD, which would be nice, but overall I'm not impressed.

HBO-HD seems to have the most movies in pristine 1080i and Dolby Digital 5.1. One of the first movies I watched was Shrek in 1080i and DD5.1, and it was amazing. This is what HD was made for! SHO-HD seems to be broadcasting only 50% HD and the rest of the time it is a pillarboxed SD version of the movie. Also, it seems that Showtime has less movies that are Dolby Digital 5.1, and more that are just 2 channel Pro-Logic surround.


Overall I think it is a good service, especially due to the low up-front cost (you don't have to buy the box). If you're already receiving digital cable it's especially a good deal because it won't cost you anything more per-month to swap your existing digital box for a Motorola 5100. If you're not getting digital cable there is a $5 a month box rental fee.

I live in an apartment complex where I can't get satellite so digital cable or OTA are pretty much my only options. This seems to be the best HDTV solution for me so far, and it's kind of future proofed because I don't have to invest any up-front money in the box.

Anyway I'll post more information after I've had the box a little longer. Let me know if anyone has questions about the service.
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