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Greenville, SC - HDTV - Page 4

post #91 of 10303
Jerry and Co.

Thanks very much for your time and accessibility while I reported the HDTV story in today's Greenville News ... especially since it was held late Friday after speaking to many of you. The upside was that I was able to expand on some things -- most notably Charter, since their top executives just happened to be in town Monday.

There's a related Charter story that ran next to the HDTV piece on the front page today that may contain some added interest for you -- I can't post the URL because I'm new to this forum and AVS thinks I'm a spammer .... but go to our umbrella page (greenvilleonline.com) and you should see the headline below the HDTV link.

Question: Did most of you already know that WLOS and Charter say they'll roll out HDTV later this year? The comments from Fox indicate they are a ways off before they have anything in HD to offer. Reaction?

This is obviously a key consumer story, so just because I've written about HDTV doesn't mean I'm done paying attention. By all means, please keep posted about advancements, observations, etc. Feel free to call or e-mail.
Thanks, all.
Ben

Ben Szobody
Business Writer
The Greenville News
bszobody@greenvillenews.com
864.298.4860
post #92 of 10303
I thought it was a very good article.

I was gratified to hear that WLOS does plan to have HD. Their plans were unknown to me. Charter's plans were unknown to me also. I haven't had service with Charter for years, and they would have to do something spectacular for me to give them another chance.

I'm not surprised by WHNS's lack of an HD plan. I do think that HD finally has enough momentum so that all of the locals will have to go HD eventually.

It was nice to see the article, and even nicer to see it make the front page. Thanks.

Jeff
post #93 of 10303
Thread Starter 
Ben: The Charter information, coming from your source, was new to most, if not all, of us. Most HDTV viewers have been given so many dates by WLOS that have come and gone that no one really has any confidence in Sinclair. This is the first time the Station Manager has been so candid.
So...in reality, you have provided us good, solid information that is appreciated.
As for Fox, the latest official announcement for the Fox O&Os is that they will start with an "enhanced" widescreen (digitally transmitted SD)sometime this year...and are still promising a HDTV network feed by Fall "04. This may or may not apply to Meredith owned WHNS.
post #94 of 10303
Er, thanks. Honestly, I wasn't lookinbg for praise -- the stuff from Charter, WLOS and others had to go in the story regardless, in order to inform the general, less knowledgeable reader. But I was curious about what you -- the savvier crowd -- had heard, either officially or mere scuttlebutt. That helps me going forward, as I attempt to dislodge 'news' from old information.

Another tip: Those of you who read the HDTV story in the paper saw a version that was shortened for the space we had. The story online is longer, and includes more quotes and info.

For example: One of you mentioned to me that the Greenville market doesn't have any stations that take advantage of the digital signal to add 24/7 weather or other secondary programming on alternate channels. In the online version of the story, you'll notice WSPA says it is working on those capabilities, adding full-time weather and perhaps some other services, and planning for ways to turn HDTV into revenue -- a key to getting the TV stations as a whole to jump on the wagon.
Ben
post #95 of 10303
Another thing:

Charter, as reported, typically competes with satellite HD choices by including the local broadcast stations' HD programming in its own HDTV package. In order to do this, they must negotiate with network affiliates in each market they target, in order for the local CBS channel, for instance, to be included in Charter's HDTV cable package for Greenville.

questions:
(a) Since Charter then includes the HD receiver in its own cable box, and you'll also be able to get the broadcast channels via its digital cable, doesn't this mean a lot of expense down the drain for you all? i.e. Doesn't this eliminate the need for the housetop antennae and seperate HD receivers? We're talking a few hundred bucks, right? Reaction?

(b) Is it that satellite providers just haven't tried to include broadcast stations in their own HDTV packages, or is there some technical reason that DirecTV, for instance, can't give you WSPA in HDTV as a part of the subscription. Just wondering ...

Also, you'll note that both the Charter CEO (in the side Charter story) and the senior VP (in the HDTV story) said they would prefer to get the local broadcast channels involved in its HDTV plans, but will roll out the service this year regardless of how many deals they can strike.

Anyone get Charter's HD cable from either Columbia or Charlotte? Does that include the local broadcast HD as well?
Ben
post #96 of 10303
My answers to those two questions are:
a) I'm unlikely to deal with Charter (at least for a long time), so for me it makes no difference. But yes, I think it would eliminate the need for our current (mine is 4 years old) HD receiver.
b)Directv doesn't have enough bandwidth to carry local HDTV markets at the moment. There is some talk that they may use a different type of satellite to do this at some point. I believe if you a search on "Spaceway" on these forums you could find information on these plans.
post #97 of 10303
Ben,

I don't think you will find to many people here very sympathetic to charter. They pretty much drove all of us away from them in one shape or another before HD. I currently have D* with 5 receivers including an HD receiver. So their was some cash outlay upfront, but it is worth every penny to not have to deal with charter (they were finally evicted in april 03). And that doesn't include that I get sunday ticket and gameplan for football in the fall. My satellite bill now with hbo, hd, 4 extra receivers, the sports packages I get plus dsl end up being less than I paid for charter when I had three extra boxes all the channels (90% never watched) and a cable modem. And I don't have to deal with charter's bs or crappy service.

Yes, they will rent you a box which will save some people money up front but you'll end up paying them more in the long run, through higher rates and continuous payments for their hd box.

Also I recall reading a letter to editor in like the summer of 02 from a charter executive stating that they would have hd service in greenville in the fall of 02. So I'll believe it when I see it.

The answer to question b is that the satellite companies currently don't have enough bandwidth to offer all the locals in hd. You'll be able to find more in the hdtv programming forum. But the basics are that 1 hd channel equals the amount of bandwidth that 6 sd channels take up, and one of the reasons that the satellite providers hd boxes pretty much all come with an ota tuner to pick up your locals.

Mike
post #98 of 10303
Let me also add that the newer Directv HD receivers integrate over the air signals fairly seamlessly with the Directv channels. Some people, of course, don't want an antenna. But with digital signals you don't have snow and ghosts. I haven't found antennas to be difficult to use with HDTV, though it would help if all the locals would broadcast at full power.
post #99 of 10303
Quote:
Originally posted by jerry birdwell
As for Fox, the latest official announcement for the Fox O&Os is that they will start with an "enhanced" widescreen (digitally transmitted SD)sometime this year...and are still promising a HDTV network feed by Fall "04. This may or may not apply to Meredith owned WHNS.

FOX O & O's have been providing network 16:9 480p since September 2002. And on the O & O here in NC, WGHP Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem has been providing FOX Wide screen since Nov 2002.

The network is scheduled to start 720p broadcasts this fall (2004) as soon as the sat network receive sites upgrades are completed this summer. It is assumed that the O & O's will go HD at that time. (We only need one piece of equipment that switches the 720p signals to complete that transition.)

As for the other owners of FOX affiliates, this time table may not apply.
post #100 of 10303
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately most of the stations, both local and elsewhere, have not been forthright in keeping the public informed. The low power issue is a prime example. WLOS, until recently, was approximately 10% of authorized power; WSPA went to full power during the past year, WYFF is now (if memory serves me) at 60 percent power. People were investing in equipment and not finding the low power signals...and couldn't understand why. That was one of my main motivations for establishing a Western Carolinas HDTV forum.
Our mountains both block signals and cause multipath for analog signals, and at times play games with the DT signal. Therefore an antenna installation is somewhat trial and error...but for me it has been the difference between no watchable picture on analog for several stations, and a very reliable studio-quality picture on DT. I use a large all-band Radio Shack antenna on a rotor in my attic and it receives all local DT stations, although only two are line of sight. It was installed during construction. I have a second 4-bay Channel Master antenna that is remarkable, and CM makes an 8-bay--these are UHF only and simple to install. I don't have cable in my area, but do have DirecTV which I prefer although it has limited choices of HDTV programming. Between UNCTV-HD and SCETV-HD, NBC and CBS and DirecTV, I have almost no time to watch DVDs and I am a movie fan. As a old broadcaster, you can't imagine the thrill I have seeing a widescreen HDTV broadcast of a Baseball game or the New Year's Rose Parade, or a CSI--Miami series.
I know of many people who have HD cable that maintain an antenna system for OTA as a backup for cable outages.

As for the collateral uses of the DT channels, there are many possibilities. UNCTV is a national leader at present in this technology and I urge you to contact Wayne Estabrooks at Triangle Park. He can give you both the limitations and range of possibilities. At present, SCETV is pushing the envelope in broadcasting one HD and two SD-DT channels on its system. This causes artifacts duriing certain video scenes on both HD and SD broadcasts.
(More later)
post #101 of 10303
Thread Starter 
foxeng
DTV Eng/Misfit
Some of the Fox O&Os describe the current and planned wide screen broadcasts as "enhanced." They carefully avoid the term HDTV. In Miami, DC, LA and Atlanta I have never seen a 480p broadcast that I could identify. I often watch 24, and sometimes stretch the picture for filling my 16x9 screen. It is acceptable, but not high definition. In that we get very little information from WHNS, can you offer any insight as to Meredith's plans?
post #102 of 10303
Quote:


Originally posted by bszob
Another thing:
(snip)
questions:
(a) Since Charter then includes the HD receiver in its own cable box, and you'll also be able to get the broadcast channels via its digital cable, doesn't this mean a lot of expense down the drain for you all? i.e. Doesn't this eliminate the need for the housetop antennae and seperate HD receivers? We're talking a few hundred bucks, right? Reaction?

(b) Is it that satellite providers just haven't tried to include broadcast stations in their own HDTV packages, or is there some technical reason that DirecTV, for instance, can't give you WSPA in HDTV as a part of the subscription. Just wondering ...

Also, you'll note that both the Charter CEO (in the side Charter story) and the senior VP (in the HDTV story) said they would prefer to get the local broadcast channels involved in its HDTV plans, but will roll out the service this year regardless of how many deals they can strike.

Anyone get Charter's HD cable from either Columbia or Charlotte? Does that include the local broadcast HD as well?
Ben

Ben: answers from a viewer of the Columbia channels:

a: Perhaps in the long run. But it will take some time for all your local stations to get on cable. It also provides a backup option and possibly a way to get other distant DT stations that will not get on cable (may not apply to all areas). I also doubt your local Charter could just put the HD channel on their cable w/o the stations permission and those can take months if not years.

In the Columbia area we have Time Warner, not Charter cable. ABC and CBS have succesfully negotiated with TWC for cable carriage. PBS is on TWC but IAW a national agreement. ABC and CBS are recieved OTA by TWC and inserted into their system. PBS is connected by optical fiber. So CBS, ABC, and PBS HD (along with other cable type HD channels) can be viewed through a HD cable box.

NBC and FOX stations have NOT completed agreements and are not on cable. The WB-DT station in this area (Sumter technically) is not on cable nor can it be received OTA in Columbia. A HD cable user I also can receive NBC, FOX, and WB digital because I have a ATSC receiver and antenna.


b. No, not enough bandwidth to carry hundreds of HD channels. Your local commercial broadcaster (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX) essentially owns your eyeballs by contract with the network. They have an exclusive right for you to view their commercials which pays for the programming). Some areas do overlap (physics). Rights can be waived but rarely are. Recent DirecTV contracts with CBS and FOX apply only to Network Owned and Operated affiliates. To put your local ABC/CBS/NBC/whatever HD channel on satellite would require them to put all of them on satellite and control your access to your local one (as they do with LiL of the analog ones). Technology is not there to allow that too happen yet (insufficient satellite resources).
post #103 of 10303
Barney: What antenna/pre-amp combo are you using to pick up those Charlotte staions and what azimuth are you using to get those staions. From my back deck, I have clear west view and good view due east. Its that southeast(Greenville/Spartenburg) that I cant get any reading from the DTC100 and just bad readings from the 3200A. I am using a CM4228 bowtie/no preamp and off Old Toxaway (1 mile from hwy178). By looking at a map,I should be able to aim due East at 90 degrees and hit close to Charlotte. What do you suggest? Thanks , Fishman
post #104 of 10303
Quote:


Originally posted by jerry birdwell
foxeng
DTV Eng/Misfit
Some of the Fox O&Os describe the current and planned wide screen broadcasts as "enhanced." They carefully avoid the term HDTV. In Miami, DC, LA and Atlanta I have never seen a 480p broadcast that I could identify. I often watch 24, and sometimes stretch the picture for filling my 16x9 screen. It is acceptable, but not high definition. In that we get very little information from WHNS, can you offer any insight as to Meredith's plans?

These are the FOX O & O markets:

WAGA-5: Atlanta
KTBC-7: Austin
WBRC-6: Birmingham
WFXT-25: Boston
WFLD-32: Chicago
WJW-8: Cleveland
KDFW-4: Dallas
KDVR-31: Denver
WJBK-2: Detroit
WGHP-8: Greensboro
KRIV-26: Houston
WDAF-4: Kansas City
KTTV-11: Los Angeles
WHBQ-13: Memphis
WITI-6: Milwaukee
WNYW-5: New York
WTXF-29: Philadelphia
KSAZ-10: Phoenix
KSTU-13: Salt Lake City
KTVI-2: St. Louis
WTVT-13: Tampa Bay
WTTG-5: Washington D.C.
KMSP-9: Minneapolis
WOGX-51: Ocala
WOFL-35: Orlando


Nowhere have any of the O & O's said they do HD. I know WOFL passes the network upconverted to 1080i, but that is because FOX bought that station already on the air in 1080i and it was cheaper to keep it at 1080i than to retrofit down to 480p. Each says different things but it is always along the lines of "High Res" or ED or DTV or they say nothing. We say FOX Widescreen here at WGHP.

As for Meredith, you would have to talk to them, but I do know that WHNS currently has no way to send the 16:9 signal to their transmitter up on mountain. They are running a Microwave Radio 6G analog system. It would take a new digital microwave link and the necessary switching equipment at the studio. Right now they just tee off the analog video and audio microwave signal at the transmitter and one leg runs to the channel 21 analog transmitter in one room and the other leg runs to the SD encoder on the channel 57 transmitter in another room. It is all in the analog domain and I am not sure if their SD encoder will do 16:9 digital input. I know it is an analog to digital converter as well as a MPEG2 encoder all in one box so it might take quite a bit to get a 16:9 signal of any type on the air there.
post #105 of 10303
Thread Starter 
All: Regarding UNC-DT PSIP:
Here is information received from Wayne Estabrooks:

Later this week if all goes well, we will shift our electronic program
guide (EPG) generation from Tribune to in-house. The EPG updates will be
dynamic and originate from our traffic department.
Our new traffic system, Meyers Pro-Track will automatically update the
program guide almost continuously. Last minute changes to the schedule
will be available on the EPG.
Hopefully it will not have any adverse effects on the PSIP.

This should be accomplished late this week and I will try to advise you
when it takes place.
post #106 of 10303
We have updated our PSIP server to include programming information for our HD service. You should now see a full PBS HD schedule on your EPG.

-Shaun
post #107 of 10303
Thread Starter 
Shaun: Re: PSIP/SCETV
It is really great to have access to your programming schedule and to be able to select viewing in advance. Is it necessary to go to "Regular Schedule" at 7:00 p.m.? Otherwise, it helps to have the time periods by half-hour increments so that receivers such as the Sam TS160 can be programmed for the day.
post #108 of 10303
Jerry,

Please check your email, I have a question about what you are seeing. Thanks.

-Shaun
post #109 of 10303
I get nothing but "Regular Schedule" on my Hughes E86 on 9-1,9-2, and 9-3. I have DirecTv and the only digital channels I get guide data for are WYFF-DT, WSPA-DT, WBSC-DT, WASV-DT.
post #110 of 10303
Fishman

I am using the big Radio Shack yagi VU-210 VHF/UHF on top of the chimney with no preamp. I tried a CM preamp but it made reception lots worse. I'm pretty much aiming due East, but I get a reading on my rotor of 68-83 because I don't have the mast aligned exactly with true North - I wanted to be able to aim at Mt Pisgah and have some "play" without going all the way back around West.

Man this antenna stuff is so hit or miss, I don't know what to suggest. I think I'm just lucky with my elevation (3300') on Rich Mountain. I have a clear view West and North towards the Parkway, but there is a ridge East and SE in Henderson county I have to get over, but I still get 88 signal strength on WSPA and FOX in Charlotte (which is I think at full power). CBS out of Charlotte (3-1) comes in OK on my 3200 now too. There are some others I can receive, but don't watch as there is either no HD or nothing of interest.

CBS ran their HD promo of the sitcoms - HD video, I guess - during one of the football games and it still makes my jaw drop after watching HD for 4 years. I wish everything looked that good. Good luck and keep trying.

Barney
post #111 of 10303
Barney: Thanks for the info. I am just under 3000', so, looking at terrain, think my best bet might be to try Charlotte. There just too much mountains between here and Spartenburg /Greenville area. Surprised the RS ant has such range. Imight pick one up and erect a second mask and give it a try..Thanks again...Fishman
post #112 of 10303
Thread Starter 
Fishman and new HD owners:
Do experiment with locations if you add an antenna. My Radio Shack all-band antenna is on a rotor in the attic, and fortunately receives all stations but must be aimed correctly for several. There is one sweet spot for receiving at least 6 stations. My UHF-only antenna is very easily moved around my 5 acres and I have yet to find a better location than the corner of my deck. I can neither increase the height nor lower it to improve the first placement chosen by accident/convienence. I have tried up to 150' higher elevation on the mountain, but lost stations in doing so. I just looked for an antenna placement for my son in Washington DC and found only one location that received the maximum number of stations and that was only 15' off the ground beside the house, with no place on top of the two story home working. I am convenced you must search for the best location. I do not like using the rotor, so usually expect to receive all stations on the fixed position deck mounted antenna, and use the high-gain RS and rotor only during bad reception days--usually weather related. Good searching.
post #113 of 10303
Anyone else out there getting the stuttering audio during the Pats/Colts game today? It is an intermittent problem and seems to be the same problem they have had off and on for months. I was told they were hoping to have their 5.1 up by the Super Bowl, but I really just hope they can at least get the 2.0 right.
post #114 of 10303
Thread Starter 
Yes, I had the same audio problem with 7-1 today...but it has been that way frequently lately. I have sent Ron Peeler a note each time. He has not responded this week, but a couple of weeks back he said they are working on (or trying to find) the problem.
post #115 of 10303
I'm seeing the same thing, but also intermittent video breakup as well. Watched the UNC UConn basketballl yesterday and none of this. Thought maye the wind was blowing my antenna. Maybe its blowing their antenna. SZ
post #116 of 10303
Thread Starter 
Didn't have the breakup...but it was a continuation of the frequent prime time audio problem for the past couple of weeks.
post #117 of 10303
The video was dead-on with no break-ups for me. I did have to teak my rotor a bit due to the wind, but when I point straight at WSPA-DT I never have break ups.
post #118 of 10303
I switched over to WBTV after about 2 minutes of listening to the horrible audio on WSPA, no problems on WBTV.
post #119 of 10303
Same here, I switched to WBTV because of audio problems.
My receiver showed Dolby 5.1 for the football game. That's the first time I've noticed them doing that for a game.
post #120 of 10303
Thread Starter 
Although the sound was bad, I double checked for surround sound and it was only 2 channel here. (Samsung 160, digital coax into Onkyo receiver.)
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