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Flint, MI - HDTV

post #1 of 1105
Thread Starter 
There was an article this morning in the Midland Daily News talking about local stations digital plans, so I think this would be a good way to start an HDTV thread for the mid-michigan area. Link to the article It talked about local stations plans for hdtv, and the general concensis was that there's nobody in the market who wan'ts hdtv (WNEM in particular who claims to be the "leader in the broadcast field in Mid-Michigan"). If you live in mid-michigan and can receive these stations dtv signals, give them a short e-mail telling them that people like us do exist, and that we do want hdtv. Here are all their e-mails:

WNEM: gsurma@wnem.com
WSMH: jgrover@wsmh.sbgnet.com
WEYI: jbengtso@nbc25.net

Right now most of these stations think hdtv is a dead investment, so if we can convince them that it's not, maybe they will change their minds about hdtv.

Also feal free to post questions about dtv reception in mid-michigan here too.

Steve
post #2 of 1105
I find this article both interesting and depressing.
Basically, I've given up on Hi-def in our market.
WEYI filed a six month extension when they had transmitter problems, promising in the application to be on the air substantially before May 01 2003. Once approved they seemed to lose interest in fixing the problem.
I'd be surprised if WNEM has 100 viewers and personally I hope they have less. Since they made the decision not to pass through CBS's Hi-def feed, anybody with any gumption and an Antenna has pointed to Cadillac or Lansing. Fox... Maybe they'll build a tower this century. PBS seems to be doing the best that they can with the funds that they have. People can bitch about WJRT's stretch of standard def but at least they transmit, and at a reasonable power.
All in all we have a sorry state of affairs.
post #3 of 1105
Thread Starter 
What I find most interesting about this article is that WSMH said they could do all the work necessary to upgrade to digital in six months if they had the permit. WEYI has had their permit for coming up on 4 years now, and they still want more time. Out of all the stations in mid-michigan not currently broadcasting, it seems like WDCQ is the only station spending their time trying to go on the air. Everyone else is just trying to find ways to delay going on the air...
post #4 of 1105
I sent Greg Surma at WNEM a message. I don't expect it to do much good. Its in their interest to lowball their viewers. They are Meredith owned and no matter what local execs want they will not get the budget for HDTV. I have no idea where they got the 100 viewership figure from. Sounds like a number pulled from a hat.
I would actually predict their viewership is zero. Anyone I know either pulls WWTV or WLNS.
post #5 of 1105
Thread Starter 
sjhenry,

How has your reception of WWTV and WLNS been lately? I just got two Televes DAT75's, and using one I was able to pull in WWTV, but I took it down Thursday for more testing and never got a chance to get it back up. I did some more research about long distance UHF reception, and found out that the most common mistakes people in poor signal area's make are 1) not probing for the best signal and 2) not having a view of the horizon. I'm guilty of both, so I think that once I get my DAT75 higher I should have a better chance of receiveing WLNS. Getting a view of the horizon would probably be impossible with all the trees we have in midland, but some extra high should be enough to do the job.
post #6 of 1105
Well. I sent WNEM a note too but I think it will have little effect.

Steve, just out of curiosity have you ever pulled up a topographic map to see what you elevation is? I don't know if I discussed this with you or someone else awhile back. It's been awhile since I've been up in Midland so I don't recall the terrain. I got my info from http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com . I found out I'm at 750'.

Lansing has been coming in so well for me lately that I've pretty much abandoned Detroit. Friday night WLNS hit 100 on my set, tonight WILX was hitting about 88 for Boom Town. Fox is strong too. I only watch WXYZ's ABC feed from Detroit anymore since I'm boycotting WJRT.

I have to believe with dual Televes you should be in good shape up in Midland.
post #7 of 1105
SteveZ,
I missed your PM's until tonight. You have a PM answer.
Whats your elevation based on Terraserver...

Matt,
Midland typically sits between 635 and 690 give or take a foot.
I'm about 3 miles north of town at 690. Most of town seems to be at about 635 to 660 (according to terraserver).
post #8 of 1105
Thread Starter 
Matt,

I found out my elevation is 625' while the surrounding area's are 750-800', so that puts me at a big disadvantage. This probibly reduces my line of sight to around 50 miles, so with WLNS at 60 miles, thats most likely my problem. To counter this I would need a 100-150' tower, which isn't worth the cost considering that I would only need it for a year or two, or untill WNEM starts broadcasting hdtv. So I'll probibly go for WWTV because of their higher elevation and tower hight. Also about boycotting WJRT because of their strech... it is kind of annoying, but you have to give them credit for being the only station in mid-michigan sending out hdtv and 5.1 sound. So I still think they are a great station. Now boycotting WNEM; thats another story...
post #9 of 1105
Thread Starter 
Matt,

One more thing... I was able to pull in WSYM-DT a few weeks ago at midnight. (someone must have forgotten to flip the switch) I was amazed to see that they were broadcasting 1080i and 5.1 sound. Do they switch to 480p or 720p durring fox widescreen shows? Prety much all fox's 480p broadcasts have over SD content is their progressive format, so you would think that this would take away from the quality.
post #10 of 1105
WEYI has filed yet another extension today. Their tale of woe continues. To put it in a nutshell it seems that they strengthened their tower only enough to hold one cable. To overcome this problem they have invested in a "Dieletric Combiner". It broke, they shipped it back for repair, it came back broke, then it was discovered that the one they had wouldn't handle their power requirements so they had to order the one they should have funded in the first place. The final piece of the new one will arrive on April 29th. Once the combiner is installed and operational WEYI promises to expidiciously commence operations.
I wait with bated breath.
post #11 of 1105
Thread Starter 
Steve,

How did you find out that they filed for an extension; that long list of DTV extension inquiry letters on the fcc website? I've heard a lot of conflicting dates for the problem with the combiner to be fixed. A month ago I was told in an e-mail "We don't know the exact timetable however they are talking about Mid June." Then the DTV article in the midland daily news 5 days ago said "The equipment should be replaced in four weeks." Now they are saying four days. I guess we'll just have to wait untill April 29th to find out. Also, I don't know if you've seen it or not, but you have a new PM.
post #12 of 1105
Steve,
You can read their extension letter in PDF format on the fcc website. If you search for DTV and MI, they are the last one to file. In this request they break down their problems in excruciating detail. I didn't get the PM, they seem to take a while to get to me.

Steve
post #13 of 1105
Thread Starter 
Steve,

Do you have a link to their extension letter? I searched through all the letters in the FCC's EDOCs database, but I still couldn't find it. Thanks
post #14 of 1105
Sure,
Go to here
Select service = Digital TV
Type "MI" into the state.
It will return all 132 applications since inception

Steve
post #15 of 1105
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the link. I was only looking through the main search page at the fcc website. It's an interesting letter, but I still don't understand why WEYI would keep buying combiners from these people after 3 failures. As for getting on the air, they should have all the equipment by now, but as of 9 PM there is still a black screen on CH 30. Hopefully they will make it on the air by May 1st... I can't wait to see the Tonight Show in HD every night
post #16 of 1105
Thread Starter 
Well, as of 3 PM WEYI is on the air. I got nothing at 12 PM, so they must have gone up sometime between then. At first I got an 81% signal but a black screen, but after a channel scan the channels were remapped to 25-1 WEYI-HD and 25-2 WEYI-DT. 25-2 has a 704x480i signal at 15.00 MB/s, and 25-1 has nothing as of yet. About 6 months ago they were waiting for an upconverter, so there should probibly be a 24/7 signal on 25-1 sometime soon. Now lets just hope the equipment holds out this time...
post #17 of 1105
I finally got around to looking for them tonight. Good strength on both 25-1 and 25-2, but as of tonight 25-1 has no content. I hope they don't do a WNEM.

Steve
post #18 of 1105
Thread Starter 
What I heard from them was that Wednesday 3PM-5PM they were only allowed to test, and they said they would go on the air once they got an STA from the fcc. And as for HDTV, they do plan on passing the NBC HD signal, and 25-1 shows a 1080i signal, but it is completely black. I think they might be having problems with their upconverter. When I looked and a transport stream from CH30 I recorded, it said that 25-2 was 15 MB/s and 25-1 was 45 MB/s (which is impossible). So im figuring that they just haven't figured out how to use their upconverter yet. They might still pass Law and Order in 1080i at 10PM though...
post #19 of 1105
Steve,
What are you using for recording ?
Steve H
post #20 of 1105
Thread Starter 
Steve,

I use a MyHD MDP-100. I got it about 6 months ago, and it does a great job of recording. Best of all it can decode a signal perfectly with only 21-23% Plus it was $500 cheaper then most receivers, so thats what really got me. HDTV2MEPG2 has always reported the correct bitrate, so WEYI must not know how to use the new equipment yet... Also do you notice that the audio on 25-2 is really distorted? They said there shouldn't be a problem with it, but even the mono audio on channel 25 analog sounds better.
post #21 of 1105
I only watched the station enough to verify that it was transmitting so didn't notice the audio. I've removed my main antenna in preparation for roof mounting so was just using a small indoor antenna run down from the second floor. Since the wife frowns on cables running from the kids bedroom and down the stairs, I probably won't get a chance to check it again for a couple of weeks.

Steve
post #22 of 1105
Hi all...I'm new just joined. I bought a HD receiver and hooked it up and only got WJRT and WLNS so far...gotta fix the rotor on the tower (30 ft)...its stuck pointing west. I hope I can get a couple of Detroit digital stations if I aim to the SE... I'm kind of in a hole here not too far from the river in downtown Flint.
post #23 of 1105
Thread Starter 
paultrip,

From your location you can already get ABC and CBS in hdtv, and with a good antenna probibly FOX out of lansing, and prety soon nbc in HDTV from WEYI, so I wouldn't worry about trying for detroit. Before you buy an antenna though, check www.antennaweb.org to see what kind of antenna you would need. Good luck with your reception
post #24 of 1105
Paul, if you can get WLNS you should be able to get WILX NBC too, try 57-3 and see if it comes in. You might need more than a new rotor, I have an older Channel Master antenna that work quite well but I get poor reception in digital. I popped a Televes over it and get most of the Detroit stations, Lansing and a few Grand Rapids stations, but that's a long story...

I'm only a few miles from the WEYI tower, I can see it at night, but the signal level from the Lansing stations beats WEYI. They may be on low power after all their problems, but the best signal level I could get on my RCA is 82. WLNS often hits 100, WILX 88, The Fox station 85, heck even WXYZ from Detroit is running at 85 for me. Only other thing I can think of is overload, but luckily the Telves is very directional and WEYI is not opposite anything for me.

Good luck with your setup, let us know what you end up doing...
post #25 of 1105
I've just recently gotten into HDTV. I bought a Samsung SIR-T151 and a Silver Sensor indoor antenna. I already have one of those Terk wrap-around type antennas that goes on a satellite dish (pretty much sucks).
The Silver Sensor (inside) does about as good a job as the Terk (on roof). I can pick up 5 channels: WDIV (4-1), WNEM (5-1), WLNS (6-1), WJRT (12-1), and WEYI (25-2). The worst reception seems to be WJRT from Flint (which is closest to me!).
I'm located just north of Grand Blanc along Saginaw Rd. Elevation is ~810ft. Lots of tall trees around the neighborhood.
I want to pick up Detroit HD stations. Would mounting the Channel Master 4228 without a pre-amp get me the rest of the Detroit signals? If not, would the Channel Master Titan 2 7778 pre-amp help to get them (don't won't the pre-amp unless really needed)? It will be mounted on a 5ft tripod mount on the roof.

Unexperienced with antennas and such, any help is appreciated.
Thanks,
Ken
post #26 of 1105
Ken, welcome to HD! I've read a lot of good things about the 4228, and I'm using the 7778 pre-amp, I think it would be a nice combo, of course with a rotor.

As to what channels you'll get, it's a toss up. You should get 58-2 FOX 2, 45-1 WDIV 4, 41-1 WXYZ 7-2, 14-1 UPN 50, 59-1 WLNS 6-1, 36-1 WJRT 12-1, 22-1 WNEM 5-1, 30-1 WEYI 25-1. Odds are you won't get 44-1 WWJ and 43-1 WTVS. When they go on the air you should get 21-1 WDWB 20-1. I'm waiting for WKAR in E. Lansing to power up, I hope they have Hd capability I would love to see some of the PBS stuff in HD.

Use a good quality RG-6 when you do mount the antenna outside, quad shield might be overkill but it's cheap enough so it might be worth it. I use it for all my Sat. and OTA feeds, I get it from Home Depot.
post #27 of 1105
So far I have been able to get WJRT 12, WNEM 5, WLNS 6, WJBK 2, WXYZ 7 and sometimes WKBD 50 in digital. When I fixed the rotor I put up a new yagi type UHF antenna (it was only about $25 what the heck). I'm also using a generic Radio Shack amp w/pre amp.
One thing I hate about my DTV receiver is getting the digital channels to stay on the guide/list. When you do a scan for digital channels and the receiver doesn't see a signal from a station already on your list...it drops it from the list sometimes. So far I haven't figured out a way to just tune to a digital channel (not already on the guide list) by putting in the channel manually (ie. 6-1 or 41-1 etc). I have the Samsung SIR-TS160.
Any words of wisdom out there?
post #28 of 1105
Paul, I don't have a Samsung receiver but any receiver should let you punch in the channel number and if it's active it should save it. My RCA has a 2 box display, I have to input 41, hit the right arrow and then add 1 or 2 etc. There must be a way for you do do this, is that what you're asking?

What kind of relative readings are you getting on the channels you receive? The RS line of pre amps are kind of a mixed bag, many here report better reception without one, mostly due to a relatively high noise factor. Have you tried 57-3 and 38-5 from Lansing? They come in very strong for me, plus they do DD 5.1, not that NBC does 5.1, but I hear Fox does do 5.1 on some of their programming.
post #29 of 1105
Hey, is anyone seeing anything on WEYI's main HD channel? When I tune it in is see a brief flash of a picture then it's all black. The SD sub channel comes in fine.
post #30 of 1105
Using a Samsung SIR-T151.
On 25-1, I don't even see a brief flash. It's a black picture for me (although it IS receiving a signal).
25-2 works fine though.

Ken
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