Been emailing back and forth with Jim at WWMT for a few days. I gave him the link to this thread. He said he used to come out here once in a while but hasn't had time with all their upgrades lately. He said he'd try to stop out here again now and then and that I could post what he said to keep us up to date.
Dolby Digital 5.1 is in and running as we have already seen. The equipment is supposed to switch between 5.1 and 2.0 automatically, depending on what the network is sending down but it's not working all the time (thus the no announcers on the Sat game and audio messed up during Cold Case last night). They are working on correcting the issue.
As for video dropouts, I brought up the fact that we though there wasn't full bandwidth given to 3-1 and we were right. I'll just quote him here:
Yes we are devoting 14 MB to HD and 3.5 MB to the SD. Obviously during sporting events that is not always enough. 1080 I is very demanding as you know.
We are hoping to be able to convince Dish/Direct and cable systems to start down converting our 3-1 to a 4x3 format and then we could drop the 3-2 service but that takes money and time to accomplish.
So basically yes, the HD channel doesn't have all the bandwidth and they use 3-2 to deliver their signal to DirecTV, Dish, and the local cable companies which gives them a clean signal. So I'm guessing that what we have now is about as good as it will get for a while.
I think WOTV doesn't have this issue because they are in 720p (less bandwidth hog) and their only sub-channel is the radar station which takes up basically nothing.
I've always wondered why WOOD doesn't always seem the most crisp and they are probably using the same ratio (or worse) for bandwidth since they have 8-2 for UPN and 8-3 for radar.
WXMI has no subchannels and I would guess we'll get some excellent HD out of them come fall.
Anyway, just wanted to report the latest from WWMT. I think we are a go for 5.1 during the SB (assuming CBS sends it), WWMT is ready to pass it on to us.
Oh, and let WWMT know via email that you enjoyed the 5.1 and improved audio and video overall. Let's let all our stations know in fact that we HD viewers are out there and we watch their local channels and their ads.