***TVFool Alert*** New database has serious issue *** 10/26/17 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 41 Old 10-26-2017, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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***TVFool Alert*** New database has serious issue *** 10/26/17

A new database with the timestamp of 201710251434 was installed overnight(?) Unfortunately, it has major issues that render it problematic, at best.

Specific issues noted so far (I've only checked a few cities so far) appear to be those stations with new construction permits (CP) for their post-repack reassignments. Those either are completely missing from reports or they are listed under their post re-pack channel assignment, some of with are still as far out as almost 2 1/2 years.

That means that up to almost a thousand full power and Class A stations in the country may have incorrect (premature) or missing data in the reports generated from this new database.

Hopefully, the proprietor will be able to address this.


Update (0930 CDT):

I'm not sure how pervasive the issue might be. The first two cities I checked (Richmond, VA and St Louis) had the serious errors noted so I posted the notice. I've stepped through the top ten major markets just now and looked briefly at them.

Based on a quick check, here's what I've observed:

So far, Boston is the only top 10 market that I didn't quickly spot an error on.

NYC, LA, Philly, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington DC all have errors with at least one re-packed station that is missing.

I'm short on time ATM and can't check more cities. If forum participants want to review more cities and comment that would be welcome.

.

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Last edited by ADTech; 10-26-2017 at 07:33 AM.
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post #2 of 41 Old 10-26-2017, 11:12 AM
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Thank you for the alert. I was wondering why WAND was missing from a Decatur IL report.

now you see it:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a4a919cbff4e

and now you don't:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...0013f89f2f9a1f

also missing from TVFool Interactive Map
http://www.tvfool.com/index.php?opti...pper&Itemid=90



but it is listed at rabbitears.info search
http://www.rabbitears.info/search.php




http://www.rabbitears.info/market.ph...&callsign=wand


http://www.rabbitears.info/tvq.php?r...ms&facid=70852
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Last edited by rabbit73; 10-26-2017 at 11:25 AM.
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post #3 of 41 Old 10-26-2017, 12:07 PM
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Oh, crap. I've been waiting for TVFool to update their database, but I was sure the reason it's been so long was to address exactly this issue. So I certainly would have expected that when they finally loaded the new database, they would have gotten it right!

There are two kinds of CPs TVFool has to deal with: those (mostly older ones) that were effective when granted, and the new repacking ones that are only effective as of their particular repacking phase date. So it's kind of a new challenge for them, but I would expect the latter to appear only after their 2019 repacking phase, unless the "Pending Applications Included" option is selected. That's kind of the point of that option: to see what things will look like in the future so you can plan ahead.

Oh, well; if they got Boston right, then I guess there's hope. They probably need to make some fixes and reload the data. If that will take more than a day or two, I hope they reload the previous database until they have the new one fixed.
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post #4 of 41 Old 10-26-2017, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't think it's a matter of that they "got Boston right" intentionally, I'd suspect it's more that it just didn't get screwed up by some chance. Also, I only looked at each City's listing for a minute or two, I didn't spend a lot of time poring over each line and double-checking it. As soon as I found a full-power missing or incorrect, I put that city into the "has an issue column" and moved on.

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post #5 of 41 Old 10-26-2017, 04:55 PM
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Using Other Resources with a TVFool Report

In the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of errors in the TVFool signal reports because of a shortage of staff to keep the database current.

It still is the best resource to help posters with reception problems, but repack will probably cause more errors in the reports. We will need to use the TVFool reports in combination with other resources to have enough information to give good advice.

Forum member Trip in VA runs rabbitears.info and works for the FCC. His site has a search page that gives a report similar to a TVFool report, that lists the channels and will, as an option, list the signal strength of each channel.

He has stated that while he keeps the channels up to date for each area, the signal strengths of the channels are not as accurate as given by TVFool because a different software is used.

EDIT:
Please see correction and clarification by Trip in his post below.

This is his home page:

http://www.rabbitears.info/

You can research an individual callsign at the top of the list at Web Listings.

If you scroll down to Searches
http://www.rabbitears.info/search.php

you will be able to enter search information for a report here:



EDIT:

You can do a zip code search, a zip code plus address search, or you can add a Strength Search. Please add the Strength Search only when necessary; it increases the traffic load on the RabbitEars server.

TVFOOL Report Alternatives

http://www.rabbitears.info/

Here is an example using the FCC map site:

https://www.fcc.gov/media/engineering/dtvmaps
(gives signal power and azimuth when you click on callsign, for some channels)





The FCC list shows 7 strong channels, but the TVFool list only shows one: WIS.

https://www.antennasdirect.com/transmitter-locator.html

http://copradar.com/dtv/tvtower/index.html 
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post #6 of 41 Old 10-26-2017, 06:11 PM
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The current TV Fool listings are not all correct. In some markets there is a mix of the current channels and the future repack channels. And some channels are completely missing. I have looked at Charlotte and Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville and there are numerous mistakes. They need to maintain the current listing, and perhaps add a future list of the new repack channels and projected reception patterns. Right now it is a mixed up mess of current and future channels, with some channels omitted.
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post #7 of 41 Old 10-27-2017, 04:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
He has stated that while he keeps the channels up to date for each area, the signal strengths of the channels are not as accurate as given by TVFool because a different software is used.
It's not that it isn't as accurate, it's that it's horribly slow. I maintain that it's quite accurate (it does use different software--the same software that produces the RabbitEars coverage maps), but note that it only gives a strength search result if a full address is given--zip code only searches are run without strength search capabilities to prevent the server from bogging down.

The code supporting it needs some work. Many stations filed within the past 6 months or so (KHPK-LD in Dallas is a good example) are missing, though as of right now, many of those filings are not actually on the air, so it's not very noticeable in most locations.

- Trip

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post #8 of 41 Old 10-27-2017, 07:08 AM
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Thank you for the correction and clarification, Trip. I have edited my post above.

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post #9 of 41 Old 10-29-2017, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip in VA View Post
The code supporting it needs some work. Many stations filed within the past 6 months or so (KHPK-LD in Dallas is a good example) are missing, though as of right now, many of those filings are not actually on the air, so it's not very noticeable in most locations.
I solved the KHPK-LD issue. The coordinates that are filed in LMS for new applications (after about May) are no longer being backported into CDBS (this is a bug in LMS) and I'm manually specifying the coordinates for those filings in different database fields. The code that provides the transmitter locations to the Strength Search was missing the reference to those new fields, so it successfully found KHPK-LD on 10 in the database, but since the coordinates were given as 0,0, it correctly assumed the data was bad and discarded it.

It now functions as expected and shows KHPK-LD.

- Trip

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post #10 of 41 Old 10-30-2017, 05:59 AM
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Will TVFool Survive Repack?

Will TVFool Survive Repack?
By rabbit73

TVFool has helped us a lot;
It showed us what we should have got.
The repack plan has caused it pain;
Will TVFool go down the drain?
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post #11 of 41 Old 11-02-2017, 04:50 AM
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I sent an e-mail to Andy Lee, who runs TVFool, but I've not gotten a response from him to any of my e-mails in some time. The last time I spoke with him directly by e-mail was, I think, 2012 or so.

Separately, the FCC's TVStudy software actually has a TVFool-like function, but it's not attached to a web interface. One of my long-term goals on RabbitEars is to make it usable from a web interface, but it's way down my priority list behind porting my website code to the FCC's new LMS database. I'm making progress on that, too; all antenna patterns now come from LMS with a fallback to CDBS just in case, and I'm getting close to moving the transmitter data over to LMS as well, at least in the main listings. (The TV Query, among other things, might lag.) I can't make the move until the coverage map code is overhauled, or else it would probably already be done in a half-finished state.

If I wasn't so terribly busy, I'd offer to provide reports from a local installation of TVStudy to anyone who needs them. Maybe someone else wants to try it out? I can help set it up.

- Trip

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post #12 of 41 Old 11-02-2017, 06:12 AM
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Trip,

I'd be very interested in that, I'll send you a PM.
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post #13 of 41 Old 11-02-2017, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ProjectSHO89 View Post
Trip,

I'd be very interested in that, I'll send you a PM.
Sorry, I forgot to mention the pre-requisites, which meant ProjectSHO89 couldn't try it out.

TVStudy is very large and requires a decent computer that runs either Linux or MacOS. If you include Canadian terrain, and you probably should, the base installation is about 60GB. I don’t recommend running it with less than 3GB RAM, since 2GB is the bare minimum and it does odd things if you run it that low.

You can run it in a Linux virtual machine if you have a Windows machine capable enough to let you meet the other requirements. I'm running it in an Ubuntu 16.04 Virtual Box on my desk at work.

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post #14 of 41 Old 11-04-2017, 06:50 AM
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***TVFool Alert*** New database has serious issue *** 10/26/17

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip in VA
Sorry, I forgot to mention the pre-requisites, which meant ProjectSHO89 couldn't try it out.

TVStudy is very large and requires a decent computer that runs either Linux or MacOS. If you include Canadian terrain, and you probably should, the base installation is about 60GB. I don’t recommend running it with less than 3GB RAM, since 2GB is the bare minimum and it does odd things if you run it that low.

You can run it in a Linux virtual machine if you have a Windows machine capable enough to let you meet the other requirements. I'm running it in an Ubuntu 16.04 Virtual Box on my desk at work.

- Trip


Just an idea, but since Linux is open source anyway maybe we could have a community pre-configured virtual box “image” with TVStudy? Those interested could just download it and run it out of the box?
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post #15 of 41 Old 11-05-2017, 02:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
Just an idea, but since Linux is open source anyway maybe we could have a community pre-configured virtual box “image” with TVStudy? Those interested could just download it and run it out of the box?
While it's not a bad idea and is one that has been suggested before, it has to be kept updated as TVStudy itself receives updates, and I'm not sure who would take on that task. I have quite enough to do day-to-day at work.

I'll think on it.

- Trip

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post #16 of 41 Old 11-05-2017, 02:44 PM
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Incidentally while doing some searching today I see where a company has ported it to Windows with update capabilities. The problem is they charge over $3k for it :-(
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post #17 of 41 Old 11-05-2017, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
Incidentally while doing some searching today I see where a company has ported it to Windows with update capabilities. The problem is they charge over $3k for it :-(
Yes. That's why I didn't mention it to this audience.

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post #18 of 41 Old 11-06-2017, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
Just an idea, but since Linux is open source anyway maybe we could have a community pre-configured virtual box “image” with TVStudy? Those interested could just download it and run it out of the box?
Supposing something like this were produced, how should it be delivered? Uncompressed, it would probably be at least 70GB. Bit Tor rent is the obvious answer, but may not be convenient.

- Trip

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post #19 of 41 Old 11-06-2017, 08:17 PM
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For those not willing to download such a huge file, perhaps someone could buy inexpensive 128GB thumb drives, load them with a copy of the VirtualBox image, and sell them.

I remember downloading Windows 8 and thinking Windows 9 would probably be out by the time the download finished so purchasing a thumb drive might be an appealing alternative for some. Plus, once installed, the thumb drive serves as a ready-made backup (or the purchaser could erase the thumb drive and use it as desired).

Sandisk 128GB drives are currently under $35 at Amazon. The software is free but there should probably be a markup for the work of copying the image, shipping, etc. So perhaps they could sell for $50-$60?

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post #20 of 41 Old 11-07-2017, 05:54 AM
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I think the USB option would be the most headaches, but also the easiest method of distribution. Either way you still have the issue of updates, etc as well. I'm starting to see why the Windows outfit charges $3k for their version lol.
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post #21 of 41 Old 11-07-2017, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by cpalmer2k View Post
I think the USB option would be the most headaches, but also the easiest method of distribution. Either way you still have the issue of updates, etc as well. I'm starting to see why the Windows outfit charges $3k for their version lol.
There's also coding needed to make the Windows version operate. While the UI is written in Java and therefore largely platform-independent, the engine (which actually does all the calculations) is in C and the memory management code is operating system-specific. There might be other things too, but I know that's the big one.

I put a Virtual Box image together for people to try out. I'm uploading it to the RabbitEars server and will post here when it's done. It's telling me I have 6 hours left.

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post #22 of 41 Old 11-07-2017, 11:13 AM
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Tied up, will follow up later with more information/details. It's 21.2GB compressed, uncompresses to about 67GB.

http://www.rabbitears.info/tvstudy_vbox.7z

Password for operating system login and for TVStudy login is: tvstudy1

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post #23 of 41 Old 11-07-2017, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip in VA View Post
Tied up, will follow up later with more information/details.
So, as noted, the image is about 67GB when uncompressed. It already has VirtualBox tools installed, so you should use it with VirtualBox. Be sure to assign it at least 3GB of RAM; although TVStudy's bare minimum is 2GB, it does fishy things when run right at the minimum.

I've pinned the Konsole to the taskbar. Open it and launch TVStudy from the command line (that's the only time you need the command line) as described on page 6 of the Manual, found here: https://www.fcc.gov/bureaus/oet/info...tudyManual.pdf

You'll need to log into TVStudy, the credentials are localhost/root/tvstudy1 and then it should open. You'll need to download LMS (not CDBS) from the Station Data Manager. Set up a General Purpose Study, change the Study Mode to Points and set up a Point Set geography for the specific location(s) you want to test. Set up a scenario with all the stations you want to evaluate in it. In the Parameters tab, go to the Propagation section and change Model error handling to Disregard and the Profile resolution to 10. Then save and run with the appropriate output settings chosen. The Manual will have all the details on these things.

- Trip

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post #24 of 41 Old 11-09-2017, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I noticed that the database date code is now 201711011344.

I don't know what the changes were, but I haven't come across any observed changes from my original report two weeks ago. The originally reported issue still remains making the tool only semi-usable.

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post #25 of 41 Old 11-09-2017, 10:26 AM
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The database with that date code is still defective.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...60ed583289b52c



and the more accurate, as far as listed channels goes, RabbitEars looks like this:



and the FCC DTV Reception Maps for comparison:



TVFool uses true and magnetic north, RabbitEars use true north; and FCC DTV uses magnetic (compass) north for azimuth.

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post #26 of 41 Old 01-30-2018, 07:33 PM
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New database date code! It looks a lot better, although still not perfect: DFW is missing RF 10 (KHPK/28), 40 (KXTX/39), and 43 (KDTN/2), but everything else is there.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...9038c6b638ccf8
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post #27 of 41 Old 01-30-2018, 08:58 PM
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I just checked my area as well as surrounding areas within approx 150 miles. Unfortunately, those test show no difference in the missing stations (for me). Just as before - stations involved in repack are still missing from the channel list. :-(
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post #28 of 41 Old 01-30-2018, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
New database date code! It looks a lot better, although still not perfect: DFW is missing RF 10 (KHPK/28), 40 (KXTX/39), and 43 (KDTN/2), but everything else is there.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...9038c6b638ccf8
It is better than it was, but there are still stations missing. There is also a bug involving channel sharing. The shared channel is listed as having the same real channel as the station it is sharing on - and they are marked as having co-channel interference.
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post #29 of 41 Old 01-31-2018, 11:01 AM
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I'm not surprised. Channel sharing is a wrinkle TVFool has pretty much not had to deal with until the repack.

The repack didn't give us any channel sharing in D/FW, but ATSC 3.0 probably will. TVFool will need to come up with a way to cope with it, without reporting bogus co-channel interference warnings.

Also, pending applications aren't correct. I'd think they want it to show the post-repack assignments, but on mine, a lot of stations simply disappear instead

There are other mistakes too. My TVFool report still has KPFW/18 at an old transmitter location (RabbitEars has it right).

But at least it's progress....

Last edited by JHBrandt; 01-31-2018 at 11:06 AM.
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post #30 of 41 Old 01-31-2018, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
I'm not surprised. Channel sharing is a wrinkle TVFool has pretty much not had to deal with until the repack.

The repack didn't give us any channel sharing in D/FW, but ATSC 3.0 probably will. TVFool will need to come up with a way to cope with it, without reporting bogus co-channel interference warnings.

Also, pending applications aren't correct. I'd think they want it to show the post-repack assignments, but on mine, a lot of stations simply disappear instead

There are other mistakes too. My TVFool report still has KPFW/18 at an old transmitter location (RabbitEars has it right).

But at least it's progress....
From the point of view of the purpose of TVFool - checking signal information, listing the shared channels is of no more value than listing subchannels, which are not included. It would be less confusing to just exclude them.

It's odd that existing stations, which are remaining on, have just disappeared from the database. For example, in the Boston area - WSBE, Providence is just plain gone.

This may be due to how the FCC info is being filtered?
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