Hi, everybody, long time no see.
Some updates regarding the Quad Cities TV market:
-WQPT is FINALLY broadcasting in FULL HD on channel 24.1 (Mediacom channel 710). Channel 24.2 (Mediacom channel 116) is still MHz worldview in the traditional 480i 4:3 SD format. I just noticed this yesterday (Saturday February 1, 2014) and was quite impressed and excited with the change.
-WHBF had switched its subchannel affiliation on channel 4.2 (Mediacom channel 105) from Retro Television Network (RTV) to Live Well Network (LWN) about two years ago, on January 16, 2012. Although LWN originates as a 720p 16:9 HDTV operation, WHBF carried LWN in a 16:9 letterbox format, while preserving bandwidth for its digital channel by keeping 4.2 in the traditional 480i 4:3 SD format. Most video content seen on 4.2 during the LWN era was in the letterbox format, both locally produced spots and news updates, and national LWN content, with occasional 480i 4:3 locally produced content being seen as well. However, two years later, on January 16, 2014, they dropped the Live Well Network and now there is no subchannel 4.2 anymore. Perhaps this is so there will be better HD video and DD 5.1 audio quality on channel 4.1 (Mediacom channel 704)??
-WBQD-LP, now-former analog channel 26, which had a construction permit to build digital facilities on UHF channel 14 at the former WQPT/Black Hawk College transmitter site (where their analog signal was transmitted from), had ceased broadcasting in December 2011. In June 2013, the FCC officially cancelled the license of WBQD-LP after being off the air for more than a year. As of December 2011, WQAD, which had previously been simulcasting WBQD on channel 8.3, began doing the "MYNetworkTV" affiliation outright on channel 8.3, rebranding it as "My TV 8.3" instead of WBQD's previous "My TV 16." The "My TV 8.3" branding and affiliation with "MyNetworkTV" continues to this day on 8.3, still in 480i 4:3 standard definition, while many other TV markets get the MyNetworkTV service in HDTV. Also, Mediacom has since moved the MNTV affiliation from channel 16 to channel 3, while moving WHBF (non-HD) from channel 3 to channel 4 and Shop NBC has since moved from channel 4 to channel 2, with C-Span (the most recent former occupant of channel 2) going digital-only, moving to channel 96 for customers with digital adapters and digital or HD set-top boxes and channel 101.3 for customers with digital TV sets with built-in digital tuners.
-In 2012, Grant Broadcasting added the "Me-TV" classic television network to both KGCW 26.3 and KLJB 18.3. "This TV" continues on KGCW 26.2, however, it was simulcast on KLJB 18.3 prior to the debut of the local "Me-TV" affiliation.
-In late August or early September 2013, KWQC debuted the Quad Cities' affiliation of NBC Universal's "Cozi TV" network; another classic programming network, on channel 6.3 (Mediacom channel 106). However, unlike the other classic programming networks (Me-TV, Retro Televison Network, This TV, Antenna TV, etc.), "Cozi TV" is in widescreen SD, 480i resoultion but with the 16:9 screen size. KWQC's 24-7 Weather Channel on 6.2 transitioned to widescreen SD (480i 16:9) from normal SD (480i 4:3) back in Autumn 2011. This means that all three of KWQC's subchannels are now in the 16:9 widescreen format, with 6.1 being NBC-HD (1080i 16:9), and the other two subchannels being 480i 16:9 as mentioned above. Most recently, I have also noticed that the 480i 4:3 SD rebroadcast of KWQC on mediacom analog channel 6 and digital channel 90.7 (channel 6 with digital adapters and digital and HD set-top boxes) is also in a letterbox format instead of being center-cut like it used to be. This is probably a good thing since many TV stations (including KWQC) don't properly centercut a lot of their logos and other video material for non-HD/widescreen viewers anymore nowadays.
-During the Fall of 2012, Mediacom moved WHBF from channel 3 to channel 4 and WHBF-HD from channel 703 to channel 704 (HD set-top boxes only). Six months earlier (Spring 2012), the exact same thing was done regarding KWQC, with KWQC going from channel 5 to channel 6 (swapping channel allocations with QVC), and KWQC-HD going from channel 705 to channel 706 (again, HD set-top boxes only). QAM entries for digital TV sets are likely the same as before.
-The mysterious "Channel 53" TV station, licensed to Galesburg, is now on the air, having signed on in August 2012. The station's callsign is "WMWC-TV" and is now the Quad Cities' affiliate of TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network). Northwest Televison, the original owners of the station, sold WMWC outright to the TBN network in December 2012 after 4 months as a mere affiliate of the religious broadcasting network. WMWC currently broadcasts its digital signal OTA on VHF channel 8 (WQAD's former analog allocation) but remaps to virtual channel 53 via PSIP, with only the main channel 53.1 so far, in the 480i 4:3 SD format, and no subchannels yet. WMWC is carried on Mediacom channels 17 (analog and digital adapters/HD set-top boxes) and 79.3 (digital; QAM tuners). Unlike the other QC local stations, WMWC's PSIP, EPG, and virtual channel data is NOT retransmitted by Mediacom to viewers with QAM tuners, so it remains displayed on its physical cable channel 79.3, rather than being displayed as 53.1 like it is over-the-air. The exact same thing is true for IPTV (Iowa Public Television) and its subchannel services. WMWC's transmitter is in orion and uses the exact same antenna for VHF channel 8 that WQAD's analog transmitter used prior to June 12, 2009. I still don't know if the station was to sign on before the DTV transition as analog only or digital only on UHF channel 53, but it was to have flash-cut to digital on VHF channel 8 on June 12, 2009, after the shutdown of WQAD's analog transmitter.
The one piece of information above that excites me the most is naturally the completion of WQPT's conversion to HDTV!! It's about time this finally happened. I had long since been wondering if the station was ever going to be in HD. I had seen programming on 24.1 either in the pillarboxed format for non-HD or widescreen programs or the windowbox (bars on all sides of the screen) for widescreen/HD programs. Also, local station programs and spots/promos were even in the windowbox format so you could easily tell they were PRODUCED in HD or some sort of widescreen format. I wonder if this doesn't have something to do with Fusion Communications in Davenport; the firm they outsourced their Master Control Operations to a few years ago? Perhaps WQPT, after moving to WIU-QC, was able to produce content in HD but Fusion hadn't had the HD Master Control equipment to transmit it over-the-air to viewers until just a couple of days or so ago? Who knows? But either way, let's give WQPT a big round of applause and welcome them aboard to the world of HD broadcasting!! I would also encourage those viewers who may have abandoned watching WQPT due to non-HD content to try switching back over and begin supporting your local Quad Cities PBS station again. WQPT really is a valuable resource to the Quad Cities and always has been since its initial sign-on in November 1983.