Broadcasting & Cable's take on CBS's Super Bowl XLI - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 36 Old 01-28-2007, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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No Trick Plays
By Glen Dickson -- Broadcasting & Cable

Although the biggest NFL game of the year is often a place for networks to introduce the latest production gizmos, for Super Bowl XLI, CBS is keeping it simple.

That is, if deploying some 500 staffers, positioning 47 HD cameras and replacing the lights at Miami's Dolphin Stadium is keeping it simple.

To be sure, the scope of CBS' Super Bowl production in Miami on Feb. 4 is typically immenseevidenced by multiple production trucks provided by vendors NEP, Coreplex and New Century Productions with sophisticated replay, graphics and audio units. But there won't be anything radically new for the matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saintsjust a lot of state-of-the-art equipment, all in one place.

"We want to make sure we're putting the game first," says Tony Petitti, executive VP/executive producer, CBS Sports. "It's not about using any one camera or how many replays you do. It's really about letting the game happen and not trying to force any plan you have onto the game."

For example, he says, CBS may be forced to use fewer replays than usual when the Colts are on offense because quarterback Peyton Manning often uses a no-huddle attack that speeds the pace of the game.

One gizmo that won't be seen is the CBS Eye Vision system that gives viewers a 360-degree look at replays. CBS used it in 2001 and 2004 but decided it was prohibitively expensive to do in standard-definition, much less HD.

"That technology is old, but it never really matured just because of the flat-out cost," explains Ken Aagaard, senior VP of operations and production services for CBS Sports. "The system costs over $2 million to build and $400,000-$500,000 to move." It wasn't hi-def, and he decided it wasn't worth it.

This year, CBS will deploy the latest super-slow-motion technology. That includes three ultra-high-frame-rate cameras capable of capturing hundreds of frames per second: two NAC Image Technology units that shoot at 300 frames per second and a Phantom camera that can capture 2,000 frames per second, manufactured by Vision Research Inc.

Such "overcranking" by the camera allows a slo-mo replay that can document a player's motion in pain-staking detail. It was good to have in CBS' playoff coverage, used to replay a critical third-down catch in the Colts' divisional win over the San Diego Chargers.

CBS will also use six of Sony's latest-generation super-slo-mo camera systems, four hard-wired units and two handhelds, a technology it used successfully during the regular season.

Aagaard has been planning the Super Bowl XLI production for a year and a half, holding weekly meetings for the past year. CBS wants to be prepared. Aagaard wants no surprises come Super Sunday, when more than 90 million viewers are likely to be watching.

"We made the determination early on that whatever we were going to introduce in the Super Bowl was something we were going to introduce in the season," says Aagaard. "We've probably added five or six more camera positions than before, for angles down the end-zone lines and sidelines. We have various angles, so we don't miss a guy stepping out of bounds. There are going to be lot of cameras that will never get on the air; you just don't know which cameras they will be."

A huge stockpile of gear
The nine cameras dedicated to slow-motion replay applications are just a start.

CBS will have 21 hard (or wired) cameras, three cabled handheld cameras, two wireless handheld cameras, one wireless Steadycam camera, one CableCam camera, two robotic goalpost cameras, two robotic "coaches' cameras," two talent-booth cameras, one unmanned camera for inside beauty shots, one robotic camera atop a tower at CBS-owned WFOR Miami for outside shots, two clock cameras and a spare hard camera.

CBS will also use seven cameras to calibrate the virtual-first-down technology provided by Princeton Video Image, compared with the usual three.

Other key equipment for the game includes two Chapman sideline vehicles, six HD videotape decks, 18 EVS multi-camera edit/replay devices, six EVS super-slow-motion replay devices, one tape-based linear edit suite, three VizRT graphics systems, and eight parabolic wireless microphones.

Because signal interference is always a problem at massive sports events like the Super Bowl, CBS tries to keep the use of wireless camera units to a minimum. That explains the high percentage of cabled units.

"If I could use no wireless, I would," says Aagaard, "but you need to give the guys some freedom."

In pure tonnage, the equipment CBS devotes to this game is mind-boggling. For example, just for the Super Bowl Today pregame show, which will use an outside set and a main set inside the stadium, CBS will dedicate 21 cameras. In addition, the pregame show will utilize seven HD tape decks, seven EVS replay units, two linear edit suites, five Avid nonlinear editing suites, five VizRT graphics systems, and two roving satellite newsgathering (SNG) trucks.

The camera count at Dolphin Stadium includes two cabled cameras on jibs, one fixed-wing-aircraft camera and four robotic cameras in the hallways leading to the team's locker rooms.

"We're plastered [with cameras]," says Aagaard.

Adequate light is critical to the performance of the ultra-high-frame-rate cameras. So CBS technicians got to work replacing the existing lighting configuration at Dolphin Stadium with a more powerful one.

"We're relighting it with a different scheme," says Aagaard. "The existing lights were an older system, and they weren't giving us the foot-candles [a lighting metric] that we needed."

That attention to detail extends to processing the 5.1-channel Dolby Digital audio, which remains intact for HD viewers and is down-mixed to stereo for analog viewers.

A new development for CBS' high-definition NFL coverage this season was that, in addition to producing everything on-site in HD, it also relied on a single high-definition transmission path back to the CBS Broadcast Center in New York, where the signal is then downconverted to support standard-definition analog broadcasts. The network will employ the same approach for the Super Bowl, although, of course, it will have multiple satellite and fiber paths (four outbound and two returns) for redundancy.

"It's the Super Bowl, so there is no stone unturned," says Aagaard.

This is the 18th Super Bowl for Aagaard, who worked at NBC and as an independent consultant before joining CBS. Surprisingly, he says, "It's not necessarily the biggest event we do. From an operation and technical point of view, nothing is bigger than the NCAA tournament."

But, he adds, "every time the Super Bowl happens, it's the largest audience for a single event, every year. The most important thing is to try to handle the pressure in a constructive way. You've got 400-500 people, and you've got to keep everybody calm. At the end, it's still a game."

http://broadcastingcable.com/article...isplay=Feature

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post #2 of 36 Old 01-28-2007, 07:53 PM
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For a comparison from last year's Super Bowl on ABC, here is what KenH posted from B&C last year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenH View Post

ABC Sports announces extensive production plan for Super Bowl XL

ABC Sports will use 36 cameras, 29 vehicles and more than 400 people to cover Super Bowl XL.

To cover this year's Super Bowl, the network's 36 cameras will include:
Twenty hard cameras, including six Super Slo-Mos.
Seven handheld cameras, including two Super Slo-Mos.
Two RF and one SteadyCam.
Five robotic cameras, two of which will be fixed on the goal lines.
Two remote pan and tilt cameras on the field goal posts.
One Sky-Cam camera suspended above the playing field.
One unmanned fixed camera.
Other production equipment will include:
One 1st & 10 electronic first down marker.
Forty digital video replay sources
Three Telestrators
Sixty mics, including 12 on-field parabolic microphones;
Five-hundred television monitors;
Ninety miles of camera and microphone cable.

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post #3 of 36 Old 01-28-2007, 09:03 PM
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But there won't be anything radically new for the matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saintsjust a lot of state-of-the-art equipment, all in one place

I hope they do a better job with the production aspect then trying to figure out who the hell is actually playing in it. DaBears!!!
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post #4 of 36 Old 01-28-2007, 09:07 PM
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I didn't see a blimp cam mentioned. Is that forbidden by the TSA under the "Black Sunday" rule?
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post #5 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 03:29 AM
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Lookinf forward to this broadcast lets hope it is as good as it sounds.
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post #6 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 04:30 AM
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But there won't be anything radically new for the matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saintsjust a lot of state-of-the-art equipment, all in one place.

New Orleans Saints? The people of Chicago are not going to be to happy with this!
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post #7 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paule123 View Post

I didn't see a blimp cam mentioned. Is that forbidden by the TSA under the "Black Sunday" rule?

The list does include a fixed wing aircraft, CBS has used this in the place of a blimp in the past.
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post #8 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Such "overcranking" by the camera allows a slo-mo replay that can document a player's motion in pain-staking detail. It was good to have in CBS' playoff coverage, used to replay a critical third-down catch in the Colts' divisional win over the San Diego Chargers.

Except the Colts didn't play the Chargers in the playoffs.

I don't remember the exact play - was it in the Colts-Ravens game, or the Patriots-Chargers?

My cable provider is Netflix
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post #9 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 07:00 AM
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A moment of silence for Eye Vision. That was very cool and would have been very useful in instant replay reviews. Too bad it cost so much.
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post #10 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 07:49 AM
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LOL....while I agree with most that CBS broadcast is the best out of all the networks that carry the NFL, I am glad that their PR department isn't running the show.....

Saints vs Colts ???

Colts divisional win over the Chargers ???

-Brian
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post #11 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeks View Post

LOL....while I agree with most that CBS broadcast is the best out of all the networks that carry the NFL, I am glad that their PR department isn't running the show.....

Saints vs Colts ???

Colts divisional win over the Chargers ???

CBS PR didn't create the article, Broadcast & Cable did.

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post #12 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 11:28 AM
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Whoever edited that should be fired on the spot. The entire article loses all cred when they can't even get the names of the participants of the biggest sporting event of the year right, much less the divisional game teams.

That is pathetic
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post #13 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

CBS PR didn't create the article, Broadcast & Cable did.

I stand corrected. I still find it funny......

-Brian
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post #14 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 12:06 PM
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Maybe Broadcast & Cable got the information from CBS News
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post #15 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeks View Post

I stand corrected. I still find it funny......

I find it funny as hell!!!

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post #16 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

CBS PR didn't create the article, Broadcast & Cable did.

Which all the more reason they should have gotten it right. That magazine costs over $120 a year, not including online article access. It's not like we're talking Broadcast Engineering, TV Technology, DV, EWeek or some other industry freebie. For the kind of scratch they want for their publication, you'd think they could afford some researchers.

Of course, I have a feeling most of the people who actually subscribe to B&C are people who use the classifieds to get a job in a better local TV market. At least that's why anyone I ever knew subscribed. Of course, this was back when the cost was under $100 a year and there used to be ads for bigger cable nets - along with the occasional gem from the broadcast networks. However, I don't think even the cable nets really even post more than occasional ads in there anymore.
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post #17 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 12:40 PM
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How many times will we subjected to the "Simms Spotlight." Ugh.
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post #18 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 04:37 PM
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I was just happy to read they're going to relamp the venue.

Other broadcasters (I ain't namin' names) might have been tempted to open up the f-stop and kick up the gain...
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post #19 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 05:15 PM
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While I'm glad CBS is rolling out all the tech they can for the Superbowl, one thing remains. For many people in Chicago, the stupid WBBM over-the-air digital broadcasts are damn near impossible to receive, due to their low digital frequency.

I know they've put in a request to change to a new frequency, but this won't be happening for a while. That said, the only way I'm going to get to watch the Superbowl in HD this year is to watch the horribly compressed LIL signal for WBBM on my D* receiver, rather than any pristine OTA signal.
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post #20 of 36 Old 01-29-2007, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by pstrauss View Post

While I'm glad CBS is rolling out all the tech they can for the Superbowl, one thing remains. For many people in Chicago, the stupid WBBM over-the-air digital broadcasts are damn near impossible to receive, due to their low digital frequency.

I know they've put in a request to change to a new frequency, but this won't be happening for a while. That said, the only way I'm going to get to watch the Superbowl in HD this year is to watch the horribly compressed LIL signal for WBBM on my D* receiver, rather than any pristine OTA signal.


Yeah, I'm so lucky that I was able to mess with my antenna a little bit and get WBBM, although it does come in and out, lets just hope the cold, dry Chicago weather will keep it on during the game. *fingers crossed* either that or its SD Dish Network
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post #21 of 36 Old 01-30-2007, 04:40 PM
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Everyone who is worried about picking up an OTA signal should remember that the FCC requires all cable companies to offer local digital channels UNENCRYPTED over their networks. That being said, if you already have a tuner or a TV with a built-in QAM tuner, you can get your local CBS affiliate in pristine HD for the whopping price of $0.00.
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post #22 of 36 Old 01-30-2007, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owine View Post

Everyone who is worried about picking up an OTA signal should remember that the FCC requires all cable companies to offer local digital channels UNENCRYPTED over their networks. That being said, if you already have a tuner or a TV with a built-in QAM tuner, you can get your local CBS affiliate in pristine HD for the whopping price of $0.00.

That point is up for debate depending on what cable operator you talk to. Not all interpret the law to mean that. Second, the CBS HD signal would actually have to be carried by the cable operator and that does not happen everywhere. Lastly, it would not be free because you would still be paying for at least basic.
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post #23 of 36 Old 01-31-2007, 05:46 AM
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Nothing in this article means a thing to those of us suffering the HD ota signal from wwmt in west michigan. They are located on the low end of the vhf dial, channel 2 (3.1) and the signal is HORRIBLE. It is prone to electical interference (not just lightning....whenever my furnace fires up, I lose me signal for 30 seconds) The problem is NOT on my end since I invested $600 on the highest end wingard antenna. When the signal IS coming in, I get it at over 90%. However, the video is pixelated constantly, expecially whenever there is quick movement on the screen (thanks to both 1080i and wwmt's low bitrate).

THANK GOD CBS ONLY GETS THE SUPERBOWL EVERY 3RD YEAR!!!!
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post #24 of 36 Old 01-31-2007, 08:15 AM
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THANK GOD CBS ONLY GETS THE SUPERBOWL EVERY 3RD YEAR!!!!

Speaking on behalf of the other 90% of the country that receive CBS's outstanding HD football coverage...

Well, you get the idea
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That's great...for you. You are correct, this is a regional problem. However, it is a complaint heard far and wide that CBS is to be shamed for their lackluster NUMBER OF GAMES IN HD PER WEEK. It has been at least 3 years now and they still haven't gone higher than 3 games per week......3 GAME PER WEEK. Seriously? I would be P.O.'d big time if my team was in the AFC and aired on CBS regularly.
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post #26 of 36 Old 01-31-2007, 12:37 PM
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That's great...for you. You are correct, this is a regional problem. However, it is a complaint heard far and wide that CBS is to be shamed for their lackluster NUMBER OF GAMES IN HD PER WEEK. It has been at least 3 years now and they still haven't gone higher than 3 games per week......3 GAME PER WEEK. Seriously? I would be P.O.'d big time if my team was in the AFC and aired on CBS regularly.

Well, if we're talking about the number of games CBS carries, that's been done to death on other threads. As soon as they get thier facility in NY built-out, that will change, but I'm not going to bust thier chops over the quality of work they've done in the past, what they're doing now, and if they have an affiliate that can't play well with others.

I have the same problem with a FOX affiliate where I live. 50 watt transmitter, no HD. It's not FOX's fault, other than maybe not sitting them down and saying clean up your act or you can find another network to carry.

One lame affiliate does not a network make.


[Edit: Before you rake CBS over the coals, try Scott Flanders, Pres. & CEO, Freedom Communications, WMMT's owner and presumably the fellow who is making the decisions on the station's broadcast performance]
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marnintim View Post

Nothing in this article means a thing to those of us suffering the HD ota signal from wwmt in west michigan. They are located on the low end of the vhf dial, channel 2 (3.1) and the signal is HORRIBLE.

Pearl is also having problems receiving HD in Bugtussle.
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post #28 of 36 Old 01-31-2007, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marnintim View Post

That's great...for you. You are correct, this is a regional problem. However, it is a complaint heard far and wide that CBS is to be shamed for their lackluster NUMBER OF GAMES IN HD PER WEEK. It has been at least 3 years now and they still haven't gone higher than 3 games per week......3 GAME PER WEEK. Seriously? I would be P.O.'d big time if my team was in the AFC and aired on CBS regularly.

Don't forget Az Cardinals fans....Fox's weekly 7th game. Can this thought die now? The season is over and next year should go up to 4 games a week. So either let it go or start whining now about ONLY 4 GAMES A WEEK??!?!?! There's other things wrong with the world you know....this one isn't in my top 1000.

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post #29 of 36 Old 01-31-2007, 03:15 PM
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Normally I would just link to an article like this. But the article only stays up for a day or two, then you would have to pay to get it. So here it is.....

Teams divulge secrets to CBS broadcasters
www.globeandmail.com, January 31, 2007

Long before the Super Bowl starts, CBS broadcasters Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will know in a good amount of detail each team's game plan.

In fact, it goes further than that. They could very well know what the opening set of plays will be.

This extraordinary access is the domain of the television broadcast rights holders only. While sportswriters and broadcasters assemble for prearranged sessions this week, CBS will get the real story behind closed doors.

Yesterday, Nantz and Simms described just how far inside National Football League rights holders can get.

Today and tomorrow, Nantz and Simms, along with CBS's Super Bowl director and producer will meet in a room with the coaching staff and perhaps also the quarterbacks of the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts, respectively.

Nantz described a hypothetical scene in which Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will come in and talk about a special formation he will use for throwing deep touchdown passes.

Nothing is electronically recorded, but notes are taken. And, of course, everything is confidential.

"It's a huge responsibility, because, after you walk out of the second meeting with the second team, you know what the game plan is for each side," Nantz said yesterday. "And you know if someone is prepared to counter what the other has cooked up."

Nantz noted that care has to be taken to not frame a question in a way that tips off one team about the other's strategy. "Obviously, your questioning can't be leading," he said. "You can't steer them in the direction. So, you have to be careful in that respect."

For Simms, the game analyst, the information is invaluable. He gave an example of what the Colts might tell him: "If this week, the Colts say they have a special offence, that they're going to come out with five wide receivers and no huddle and it's going to be really, really, fast -- if they tell us that, we'll know why they're doing it and what they're trying to accomplish. So, we'll be ready for it, instead of guessing at what they're doing."

The co-operation of coaching staffs over the course of a season is often measured by the success of the team. But more often than not, they are surprisingly forthcoming.

"We're sometimes amazed by how long they want us to stay in the room and just chat," Nantz said. "Peyton Manning will come in and, after an hour, you want to say, 'Don't you have something else you need to be doing right now?' "

The relationship between the two sides, of course, is based on trust.

"If you ever go into those meetings and violate anything that's been told to you, you will never have that access again," Nantz said.

The big call

Jim Nantz has been a Super Bowl host before, but he will be calling his first game on Sunday. "I'm going to watch a football game with one of my best friends [Simms]," he said. "Now, there might be a 140, 150 million people who are eavesdropping on our conversation, but I'm going to a football game with a guy I greatly respect and you guys are going to hear how we communicate with each other. It's as simple as that."

Simms says he won't dumb down his analysis. "I'm going to talk about the game the way I always do," he said. "I've always realized that as an analyst, you try to explain as much as you can and make it extremely simple. Nothing will change this weekend."

In 2007, Nantz will become the first broadcaster to call the Super Bowl, U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament Final Four and golf's Masters tournament in the same year. He has already planned his retirement. "I would love to be able to say some day, 'I have broadcast my 50th Masters.' " That would be in 2035, when he's 75. Then, he would pack it in.

Since returning as an NFL rights holder in 1998, CBS has paid an annual fee of $500-million (U.S.) from 1998 to 2005, and $622.5-million in 2006 and 2007.

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post #30 of 36 Old 01-31-2007, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by marnintim View Post

Nothing in this article means a thing to those of us suffering the HD ota signal from wwmt in west michigan. They are located on the low end of the vhf dial, channel 2 (3.1) and the signal is HORRIBLE. It is prone to electical interference (not just lightning....whenever my furnace fires up, I lose me signal for 30 seconds) The problem is NOT on my end since I invested $600 on the highest end wingard antenna. When the signal IS coming in, I get it at over 90%. However, the video is pixelated constantly, expecially whenever there is quick movement on the screen (thanks to both 1080i and wwmt's low bitrate).

THANK GOD CBS ONLY GETS THE SUPERBOWL EVERY 3RD YEAR!!!!

We do feel your pain. However, if you lose reception whenever the furnace fires up, have you ever had the house wiring checked to make sure that furnace and other appliances are properly grounded? That the ground is not leaking into the antenna signal path somehow? I don't have any digital stations on low VHF, so I don't have any experience with the interference issues with ATSC on low VHF, but I'm curious on just how prone to dropouts low VHF is, especially down at VHF 2.

I am also wondering whether the newer ATSC tuners handle interference any better. I have read a number of posts in my local thread and in the Samsung DTB-H260F ATSC receiver thread in the hardware reception forum from people who have found that the new Samsung H260F locks in stations that were dropout prone much better than even just the previous generation. But I have read any posts about whether it is better for low VHF interference. Out of curiosity has anyone in Chicago area tried the latest generation tuners on CBS OTA and seen more stable results?

The good news is the next time CBS has the Superbowl, WBBM-DT CBS will be broadcasting on VHF 11 according to my post analog shutdown digital channel spreadsheet.
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