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The Magic 8 Ball speaks out on FOX HDTV - More Bits Are HERE! - Page 9  

post #241 of 292
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
Not true. CTV took the Fox HD fronthaul for American Idol. I assume they do that for any live HD show.
You are missing the point. To be a FOX HD affiliate, you must use the Splicer.
post #242 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
That's not technically true. Canadian networks take the Fox fronthaul feed and re-encode them for air. I think they have to standards convert them too. However that's a small exception to the rule. I've never heard of a Fox affiliate that doesn't use a splicer.
Please explain what you mean by fronthaul feed. Since I can't see what 20th Century Fox is doing for their programming, but I do know that the SD versions are prefed to Canada (otherwise known as the Canadian clean feed) and I wouldn't be surprised if they don't send HD via the bird either. Last I heard, the Canadian clean feeds are done in the 8PSK ATSC mode, not in QPSK DVB or 8PSK DVB mode.

The ATSC stream is fed into an external box that tears apart the ATSC stream and put it out in the format needed by the station, more than like HD-SDI.

As for standards conversion... what standards conversion. All of North America is NTSC.

BTW, the splicer system is for direct to air, not direct to tape or direct to server.
post #243 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H
You are missing the point. To be a FOX HD affiliate, you must use the Splicer.
You are missing the point. Your statement was:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H
Unless they use a Splicer, a local station can't do FOX HD.
It is technically possible. I don't think CTV was using a splicer, but I should double check that.

Not done and can't be done are two different things. It's correct that all Fox stations are using splicers.
post #244 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo
Please explain what you mean by fronthaul feed.
Fronthaul feeds are the feeds from the network to the affiliates, at least that what Fox called them. Shows can be prefed if they are not live. Standards conversion would be for 720p to 1080i.

Canadian networks will sometimes get a backhaul feed and use the network fronthaul as a backup.
post #245 of 292
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
You are missing the point. Your statement was:It is technically possible. Not done and can't be done are two different things.
I didn't say technically possible, I said it can't be done. FOX won't allow it.
post #246 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
Fronthaul feeds are the feeds from the network to the affiliates, at least that what Fox called them. Standards conversion would be for 720p to 1080i.
Ah OK. I just call that the in-pattern or network feed.

Sorry, so use to a standards converter being used to do NTSC<->PAL.

Is a 720p<->1080i format converter still called a standards converter?

Speaking of getting ones hands on a backhaul, the MTV VMAs had a HD backhaul that was very clean, clean in that it didn't have any censorship. Since the show originated in NY, a feed from the site to MTV wasn't necessary, so I suspect it was for Canada and/or overseas. There was about a 15 second delay from what I saw in the HD feed to what appeared on MTV SD (via the BUD). Gotta love those truly clean feeds.

What was extremely annoying was that the only material that originated out in the auditorium was HD. All other camera shots, backstage, etc., were 4:3 pillarbar'd. Pre-show - 4:3 pillarbar.

In any event, that is an example of a true backhaul.

As for AI, there used to be a backhaul of that from the location to Fox network operations, so Canada could have gotten their hands on that. But, I believe that these days, the location is now wired for fiber to Fox net. It has been a while, but I think that was during the days of their widescreen 480i operations.

Is CTV covering the Fox bug, or is Fox feeding a bugless version over one of the other streams for Canada? For some reason, I've noticed that the Fox bug is used during this show, and only this show, but the local bug is used for all other shows.
post #247 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H
I didn't say technically possible, I said it can't be done. FOX won't allow it.
As another voice, to say that something can't be done, also means to me that it can't be done technically (if it is a technical issue).

The point is that it can be done technically, it is just not allowed to be done via whatever contract they signed in order to get the station equipped for HD at Fox's expense.

Fox does supply the equipment that converts the ATSC stream into video that can be displayed on an HD monitor, so that master control can see what is being fed to the splicer. Nothing would technically stop a station from taking that output and doing something else with it, like put it on air. Who knows what kind of repercussions would happen if Fox found out about it.

If a station modifies the installation of the equipment for HD, from the LNB all the way to the receiver rack and Fox sends someone to find out why the signal level isn't right and the reason is because of a local mod, the station is slapped with at least a $2500 service charge (even if it only takes 5 minuites to remove the offending part :)

Fox is the only network that I know of that is extremely anal about their feed. For every other place, the station is responsible for everything (except that sat receivers are normally supplied by the network). The CW HD feed is totally the resposibility of the affiliate, including the purchase of whatever receiver they want (CBS might be the same way). A world of difference between the networks.
post #248 of 292
Besides programming, the splicer allows for regional spots. Canada doesn't have that requirement. I think the SD has been more regionalized than the HD. Without proper splicer control I suppose a station could not satisfy the network requirement for airing the proper stream. If that's taken into account then a station cannot air Fox HD without a splicer, even though it might be possible to extract HD material from the stream.
post #249 of 292
I've speculated inthe past whether a station could store the splicer output on a TS server and play it out as needed. I read tht KTVU had delayed Fox streams, but it sounded like they needed to record other data and play it out in through the splicer. Not having any direct experience with the splicer, I'm still not sure why it couldn't be done post splicer.
post #250 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo
Fox is the only network that I know of that is extremely anal about their feed. For every other place, the station is responsible for everything (except that sat receivers are normally supplied by the network). The CW HD feed is totally the resposibility of the affiliate, including the purchase of whatever receiver they want (CBS might be the same way). A world of difference between the networks.
Fox offers a complete solution to get their network on the air, so their involvement is higher than for other nets. I guess that's the price an affiliate pays.

OTH, I've wondered if there is a limitation Fox station fed the splicer into a rate shaper/muxer so they can add more subchannels if they wanted too. Service chargers are one thing, but ad revenue is another. If the downstream device fails, it could be bypassed to see if that fixes the problem.

I've speculated in the past whether a station could store the splicer output on a TS server and play it out as needed. I read that KTVU had delayed Fox streams, but it sounded like they needed to record other data and play it out in through the splicer. Not having any direct experience with the splicer, I'm still not sure why it couldn't be done post splicer.
post #251 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
I've speculated inthe past whether a station could store the splicer output on a TS server and play it out as needed. I read tht KTVU had delayed Fox streams, but it sounded like they needed to record other data and play it out in through the splicer. Not having any direct experience with the splicer, I'm still not sure why it couldn't be done post splicer.
The splicer would be needed to make the switch between the recorded stream and the local encoder unless the stream was decoded and re-encoded.
post #252 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
Besides programming, the splicer allows for regional spots. I think the SD has been more regionalized than the HD.
Actually they might not be able to do regional spots for HD. As pointed out by one of the local Fox station engineers, the splicer cannot change a net feed input while it is live. Case in point was during a Sunday game, some stations had their feed changed and the station ended up airing the wrong game and nothing could be done about it until that feed had a local break. I personally consider that a design flaw. I understand the reasoning, i.e., so that a glitch doesn't occur during that change. But forcing stations to air the wrong material for quite a while, all the time getting angry phone calls, is not good either. I can see another Heidi event happening where Fox master control screwed up and an extremely important event happened during a game and the viewers didn't see it, all because of an "on purpose design flaw."

Because the splicer isn't allowed to change streams while "live," it is a little bit impossible to have the HD output show a spot for a particular region. With SD, that isn't a problem, since there isn't a splicer in the SD chain.

Thinking about it though, I suppose that a market, like Chicago, could be told to use a completely different stream for a whole segment, which contained the different spot. Obviously with a limited number of HD streams (8), there can't be many regions :) Same goes for SD, only 8 streams.
post #253 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by spwace
The splicer would be needed to make the switch between the recorded stream and the local encoder unless the stream was decoded and re-encoded.
The Leitch DTP allows for rate shaping, muxing in added channels and TS splicing:

"Per-program splicing to allow local promos and advertisements within network feeds."
post #254 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
I've speculated in the past whether a station could store the splicer output on a TS server and play it out as needed. I read that KTVU had delayed Fox streams, but it sounded like they needed to record other data and play it out in through the splicer. Not having any direct experience with the splicer, I'm still not sure why it couldn't be done post splicer.
As I understand it, the output of the splicer is meant to go directly to the transmitter and nothing else.

If the station is equipped for HD-SDI, or whatever HD digital routing, nothing would stop the station from playing out a ATSC decoded to internal station digital routing which would in turn make that no different than any other HD source within the station.

If, on the other hand, the station is trying to play it back as if it were a live Fox net feed, they'd have to record the complete mux data stream so that playback would fool the equipment into believing it was a live net feed.

For the life of me, why anyone would want to go that route is beyond me. Just record it and play it back through the normal house routing.
post #255 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo
For the life of me, why anyone would want to go that route is beyond me. Just record it and play it back through the normal house routing.
TS streams are cheaper to record. Not re-encoding has better quality.
post #256 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
"Per-program splicing to allow local promos and advertisements within network feeds."
That statement confuses me. Fox affiliates do that now. Whenever they want to insert a local spot or commercial, the master control operator at the station just selects the local source for input, instead of Fox net and bingo, there it is.

Why another box would need to be added confuses me.

There is nothing in the splicer data that keeps the local station from dumping net for local material. For emergency reasons, local lockout cannot happen.
post #257 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo
As I understand it, the output of the splicer is meant to go directly to the transmitter and nothing else.

If the station is equipped for HD-SDI, or whatever HD digital routing, nothing would stop the station from playing out a ATSC decoded to internal station digital routing which would in turn make that no different than any other HD source within the station.

If, on the other hand, the station is trying to play it back as if it were a live Fox net feed, they'd have to record the complete mux data stream so that playback would fool the equipment into believing it was a live net feed.

For the life of me, why anyone would want to go that route is beyond me. Just record it and play it back through the normal house routing.
They do it because decoding and re-encoding the stream degrades the PQ.
post #258 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
TS streams are cheaper to record. Not re-encoding has better quality.
I fully understand that. But the number of technical hoops to go through to delay Fox net and feed it back through the splicer, must be horrible.
post #259 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
The Leitch DTP allows for rate shaping, muxing in added channels and TS splicing:

"Per-program splicing to allow local promos and advertisements within network feeds."
I'm familiar with the Leitch DTP and I also know that it costs about the same as the Terayon BP-5100 which FOX provides the affiliates at no cost. My point being, if you can get the splicer free, why would you spend 10s of thousands of dollars for the Leitch.
post #260 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by spwace
I'm familiar with the Leitch DTP and I also know that it costs about the same as the Terayon BP-5100 which FOX provides the affiliates at no cost. My point being, if you can get the splicer free, why would you spend 10s of thousands of dollars for the Leitch.
To rate shape and add more useless channels. How long would it take to pay back the initial cost with another channel? Maybe add an extra :30 during the network's local breaks and slip the network TS? :D
post #261 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
To rate shape and add more useless channels. How long would it take to pay back the initial cost with another channel? Maybe add an extra :30 during the network's local breaks and slip the network TS? :D
Sub-channels, datacasting, $$$ signs are everywhere. Also, the much vaunted "18 ATSC standard formats" aren't, so even more subchannels can be squeezed in with HD-lite and SD-lite. I'm guessing by 2007 the average station will look something like this:

XX-1 Network HD (1280x1080i 9.0 Mbps)
XX-2 Weather (544x480i 2.5 Mbps)
XX-3 News (544x480i 2.5 Mbps)
XX-4 Infomercials (704x480i 3.0 Mbps)
Datacasting 1.5 Mbps

...by 2009 they'll finally find the money in their budget for a new encoder and add a fifth subchannel. :)
post #262 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
To rate shape and add more useless channels. How long would it take to pay back the initial cost with another channel? Maybe add an extra :30 during the network's local breaks and slip the network TS? :D
You can do all of those things with the Terayon splicer.
post #263 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo
Fox is the only network that I know of that is extremely anal about their feed. For every other place, the station is responsible for everything (except that sat receivers are normally supplied by the network). The CW HD feed is totally the resposibility of the affiliate, including the purchase of whatever receiver they want (CBS might be the same way). A world of difference between the networks.
Based on information I received from the HD engineer at the CBS affiliate here, CBS provides IRDs to their affiliates, but the rest of it is up to the station. That's why there are still a few CBS stations not doing 5.1, and more than a few doing 5.1 but leaving their encoders set to 5.1 fulltime with nothing in in the center or surrounds on local programming and shows that air only in 2.0 (Without a Trace and Two and a Half Men). Doing 5.1 requires that a station have both a Dolby E decoder as well as a DP569 encoder, and proper automated switching between 2.0 and 5.1 requires an $8k metadata reader. There's something to be said for Fox's system: every market from #1 NYC to #177 Rapid City, SD gets exactly the same quality of broadcast with no local yokels to screw up the switching or audio or anything else.

The one problem with the Fox splicer system is that it seems to be make it more difficult for stations to do local HD such as sports or news.
post #264 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by spwace
You can do all of those things with the Terayon splicer.
Can the stations configure the Fox unit, or is that all controlled by the network? Ability means nothing without access. I can't imagine Fox would say OK to rate shaping the network with their own box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz
There's something to be said for Fox's system: every market from #1 NYC to #177 Rapid City, SD gets exactly the same quality of broadcast with no local yokels to screw up the switching or audio or anything else.
Until some station starts rate shaping it. How does Fox network send local HD material to the station such as promos?
post #265 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
How does Fox network send local HD material to the station such as promos?
They don't send any local HD material. The promos and everything else not intended for live network airing is 4:3 SD. It comes off a dedicated receiver that has analog composite as well as SDI outputs.
post #266 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz
The one problem with the Fox splicer system is that it seems to be make it more difficult for stations to do local HD such as sports or news.
Not sure why that would be. Once you "splice to local," you can feed in any 720p signal of your choosing, whether it is true HD or upconverted. Am I missing something??
post #267 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
How does Fox network send local HD material to the station such as promos?
I've never seen HD on Fox outside of the network feed. Perhaps it's because I find the local Fox newscast to be the worst in town and their syndicated stuff to be junk at best. There are many things I do enjoy watching on Fox, but most of them are in primetime with the occasional football game thrown in. The Cardinals tend to get bottom billing and more often than not end up as the #7 game on Fox, so those games I do watch really are occasional. The HD ads on Fox all come from the network just like the ones on ABC, CBS, and WB.
post #268 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
Can the stations configure the Fox unit, or is that all controlled by the network? Ability means nothing without access. I can't imagine Fox would say OK to rate shaping the network with their own box.
Fox's splicer system is very precise in what they require - even down the specific cable and F Connectors.

No station can change any of it without permission from Jim DeFilippis or someone right under him at Fox.

If the station does something that causes an issue that requires a service call, they receive a bill for $2,500 as well.

Fox tested the system with the suppliers and is very exact in its requirements and they don't want anyone to fool with it.
post #269 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by videojanitor
Not sure why that would be. Once you "splice to local," you can feed in any 720p signal of your choosing, whether it is true HD or upconverted. Am I missing something??
Having the entire network HD side handed to them on a silver platter seems to have made a lot of Fox affiliates lazy by the looks of it. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of Fox affiliates can't receive a non-Fox-provided HD feed and get it to air. Why spend the money to upgrade the local equipment to handle HD when none of it is needed for the majority of programming anyway?
post #270 of 292
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo
Is a 720p<->1080i format converter still called a standards converter?

Is CTV covering the Fox bug, or is Fox feeding a bugless version over one of the other streams for Canada? For some reason, I've noticed that the Fox bug is used during this show, and only this show, but the local bug is used for all other shows.
720 <-> 1080i is a cross-converter. My slip there.

Because AI was a live HD show and there was no sat backhaul, the only place where CTV could get the HD is from the Fox HD network. The SD was a clean feed from Fox so there was no Fox bug on that.
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