Hey Guys FYI
To:mark - fox48TV
Subject: WNTZ Pineville
I live in Pineville, LA. I am having problems getting reception using an off air antenna. I do live on the slope of an hill an feel that could be part of the problem. What antenna would you recommend and what compass heading is the best orientation? Also, could you tell me what plans you have for implementing a digital station for the Pineville area and when will HD be available. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Subject: RE: WNTZ Pineville
Our local transmitter, channel 47 is a low power translator / repeater, and is located between Lee Street and I 49 between Douhon and Terminal adjacent to the old railroad maintenance yard. Our full power transmitters are located in Frogmore, between Jonesville and Ferriday just off of hwy 566 about 4 miles north of hwy 84. At that site we have a new full power analog transmitter on channel 48 that reaches into some of the Pineville area, and a new full power digital on channel 49 that should cover most, if not all of the Pineville area. Of course the compass heading is going to depend on your location with respect to the particular transmitter, and your message did not include that information. Hopefully the information on our transmitter locations will allow you to determine the direction you should point your antenna. The exact definition of HD is something that varies, since there are several formats on the market. The digital format that we use is considered to be one those considered as HD. The last projection I have heard on the channel 47 switch to digital places it sometime this fall, but that is significantly less than official or definitive. I will not know the answer to that for sure until about a week before it happens. Those kinds of schedules are in flux depending on details with the manufacturer of the transmitter, (since we are switching to state of the art transmitters just off the assembly line) the delivery schedule, the availability of the tower crew, every change in the weather between now and then (because that changes the order and scheduling of jobs that the tower crew has to do between now and then) etc. When it does come, it is my understanding that we will no longer be on analog in this area other than what is covered by the Frogmore transmitter, but the digital signal will go into all the areas now serviced by our current analog transmitter. At that time we will be off of the air for about 2, maybe 3 days during the swap.
I hope that I have provided sufficient information, if not, please feel free to contact me again. In the same light, it should be noted that although I am the only engineer at this location, I am nothing more than a staff engineer. Decisions are made by corporate leaders in various corporate offices from Lafayette to Baton Rouge to Fort Worth Tex. I am just available to do what they say when they say to do it. Some times I get a little general information, and sometimes that is subject to change. I have no input, and as I noted am frequently not even informed until I am told to be there and do that.
Mark Barbee - Staff Engineer - WNTZ FOX 48TV - mark - fox48TV
Subject: RE: WNTZ Pineville
Thanks for the info. I swung my antenna toward the ENE and I can pick up the digital station fine on 49. I do have a question about the HD part. Can you elaborate on the resolution of you signal? I was watching a show last night that should have been HD, but it did not appear that I was receiving HD. That is the screen stayed in a 4x3 format. My hopes are to get NFL in HD from you. The most common HD resolutions are 720p (1280x720 @ 60 Hz and 1080i (1920x1080 @ 30 Hz. Is WNTZ broadcasting either of these or just 480 @ 60 Hz? I personally do not consider 480p HD, but I assume some will. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
From: Mark Barbee
The decision to go to 480 @ 60 was a FOX corporate decision. I have heard, sort of off the record, that at some point this will be increased, but nothing official right now. I agree, that this is the bottom rung of what may be considered HD. There are ongoing experiments throughout the industry with many more formats, and competition between formats and companies working on those formats. I think that the idea was to wait a while to see what is around when the dust settles before moving to some form of higher definition. Some of the higher formats are mutually exclusive, that is they require specialized equipment or architecture which is not compatible with other formats. The 480 @ 60 is a platform that is almost universally compatible with the concept of expanding to a higher format when that decision is made. It is true that there is significant pressure, even within our small market, to say nothing of the nationwide picture, to move to some higher definition.
At our Frogmore location we have 2 full power transmitters. One is currently being used to broadcast the analog signal, but it is exactly the same as the one broadcasting the digital signal except for the exciter and some of the signal processing equipment and software. To transition that to a digital signal would probably be a one day operation. Within the digital format, it is possible to broadcast more than one signal within the same frequency allocation, and for that matter the antenna is now broadcasting 2 separate signals. I realize that it involves some speculation, but it may be that they are planning to use the second transmitter to broadcast a second format, maybe even on a separate frequency, when it is no longer being used for analog. I know for sure that they didn't spend the millions that they spent on the transmitter and antenna etc. for the fun of it; there is some plan afoot that is not being talked about yet, not even to us employees.
In saying this, I have told you everything I know on the subject and some of what I guess. Of course I am the bottom rung of the ladder from the standpoint of the corporate structure, and there are probably some things known higher up the chain that have not been discussed with me, even from the standpoint of speculation. I may well not be told of things until the day before they transpire, such has been the case before. I am sorry that I cannot be more definitive, sometimes I sure wish that I knew beforehand if and when such things would happen. I keep my eyes and ears open trying to catch a drift from somewhere, and of course when I do hear some update, I pass that info on to anyone who asks subsequent to that.
To: Sharon - Fox48TV
When is WNTZ planning to go HD? Before football season??
We're sure working on it!
WNTZ FOX 48