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post #12421 of 12455 Old 10-02-2019, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by foxeng View Post
If you hear of anyone loosing stations that haven't repacked yet, or won't be, after a rescan, we have found that some TVs and some converters, (yeah, they there are still a fair number out there) do not clear the database completely. Have them do a double rescan where they pull the antenna, rescan to clear out the database then reconnect the antenna and do a scan again. So far, every time we have had this done, the missing station has come back.

My aunt's TV was like this. She kept telling me she could see some channels and not others. I of course told her to re-scan and did not understand what the problem was. Sounded to me like something was wrong with her antenna or placement.

Unhooked the antenna -- scanned channels -- hooked back up and scanned again and viola! I do not think I would have ever figured this out on my own... lol

I took her a Clear Stream 2 MAX I found on clearance just in case -- and am mad at her signal levels on all channels. Just hooking up the CS2 MAX gets most channels before you ever set the antenna down somewhere. After sticking it behind the TV facing directly into the corner of the room in a second floor apartment -- she can pickup every Roanoke and Charlotte station that she is intended to pick-up at her location including no issues with any locals.

68 total stations and substations.

I found another Clear Stream 2 MAX (on clearance like the first), and snapped it up for my parents. Just hooked theirs up a few days ago behind their TV, facing the the corner of the room in their 1-story home -- they get close to the same results. 56 stations and substations. She is missing only some of the Charlotte stations.

Most important was the issues with WGHP seem to have been cleared up also. Can't seem to find a bad signal on any channel now. Hooked back up their roof mounted Mohu - and the difference is night and day. I am afraid to force them to put it outside -- as I think if I do get it up high enough, I may start seeing issues on WGHP again or mess up something else.

Both installs with no amps. lol I wish I was that lucky at my location...

Previously mentioned by a few comments between Trip and I -- at my location -- anytime my antenna is pointed towards Charlotte - WGHP is no where to be found. I can repeat this over and over again, so I am sure the interference is coming from the south/southwest of the area.

As for the trouble I was having with WXII -- re-positioning the antenna seems to have cleared up the trouble I was having there -- comes in without fail now. It also has picked up some sporadic signals I was not receiving before, like WSLS 10 and WCNC 36.



Thanks everyone for the useful info!
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post #12422 of 12455 Old 10-03-2019, 12:42 PM
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foxeng

Media Center started pulling listings on 8.4 for DABL instead of Court TV the last two weeks.

At first I thought it was just confused with all of the re-scans I have been doing with the re-pack and testing newer antennas -- but ran across some more info that says the same thing. I also see other conflicts in the information, and am curious -- are 8.3 and 8.4 really being changed? Dropping THIS for Court TV, and bringing on DABL?

It has not been long since 8.4 Court TV was added and myself, personally, do not see any interesting on that channel. I would hate to see THIS replaced -- if the info is true... that channel has been bounced around like a hot rock since it started -- lol

I have seen DABL on out of market 18 WCCB -- and of course like other channels we do not have in the Triad -- it would be nice to see something new/different like this here.

Another channel I am pretty found of is out of market 46 WJZY's BUZZR -- and do not understand why no one will carry that one locally.


Just curious

Thanks!
Our parent company has just been sold and is no longer a partner in ThisTV.
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post #12423 of 12455 Old 10-03-2019, 04:21 PM
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Old WLXI analog 61/digital 43

I was in Kernersville today - and noticed the old WLXI Channel 61 (digital 43) tower and antenna are still standing.

I would assume no equipment is reusable since it is all geared for channels that are no longer in use for TV moving forward. So I am assuming with no resale value is why it is still standing there.

Since they sold out, who would be responsible for this tower now? (FCC or still WLXI?) When they sold their rights to transmit, was it just that -- or did they give up all licensing in the sell?

Just curious...

Thanks!
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post #12424 of 12455 Old 10-03-2019, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by thomasrelee View Post
Since they sold out, who would be responsible for this tower now? (FCC or still WLXI?) When they sold their rights to transmit, was it just that -- or did they give up all licensing in the sell?

Just curious...

Thanks!
I don't know what the status is concerning that tower in Kernersville. Maybe someone else can post about that.

But as far as broadcasting, WLXI hasn't given up their license according to https://www.rabbitears.info/ They just don't do it local anymore. The studio in Greensboro has been shut down. But WLXI is still a TCT Network with a broadcast signal operating from Chapel Hill - I think from the same tower as UNC-TV, and with WLXI's same virtual display of channel 43.

I will always remember this station from the early/mid 80's when they first went on the air as a general/independent station airing lots of music videos and previously known as Channel 61. Of course, they were later bought out by TBN and Tri-State Christian Television.
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post #12425 of 12455 Old 10-03-2019, 08:55 PM
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It has not been long since 8.4 Court TV was added and myself, personally, do not see any interesting on that channel. I would hate to see THIS replaced -- if the info is true... that channel has been bounced around like a hot rock since it started -- lol

I have seen DABL on out of market 18 WCCB -- and of course like other channels we do not have in the Triad -- it would be nice to see something new/different like this here.

Another channel I am pretty found of is out of market 46 WJZY's BUZZR -- and do not understand why no one will carry that one locally.

Just curious Thanks!
Be careful what you wish for...lol.

Imo, WJZY (FOX) has too many subchannels. And to top that off, they're also broadcasting WMYT 55-1, all from a single RF feed. All of this since WMYT 55-1 was sold in the auction. It's too much in my opinion; and I think, as a Fox affiliate, WGHP offers superior picture quality. WGHP is also considered more of a news leader in the Triad market relative to where WJZY stands in the Charlotte local news market, although WJZY seems to be improving in their market.

WJZY does offer some subs that we don't get local in the Triad. My favorite is their "Movies!" subchannel. And I also occasionally watch BUZZR but not too much. My only big wish is that WGHP could keep "THIS" subchannel "and" add "Movies!" subchannel. I can only guess, but the "Movies!" subchannel may be reserved for Fox owned and operated stations only.
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post #12426 of 12455 Old 10-03-2019, 08:55 PM
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According to the ASRN info, it's still owned by the parent company of TCT. Nothing may be coming from it right now, but they are responsible for the upkeep until they either sell the tower to someone else or dismantle it.
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post #12427 of 12455 Old 10-03-2019, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by thomasrelee View Post
After sticking it behind the TV facing directly into the corner of the room in a second floor apartment -- she can pickup every Roanoke and Charlotte station that she is intended to pick-up at her location including no issues with any locals.
Just curious, where does your aunt live? I didn't know there was any place where you could receive OTA from Roanoke, Greensboro, and Charlotte.
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post #12428 of 12455 Old 10-03-2019, 10:13 PM
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Be careful what you wish for...lol.

Imo, WJZY (FOX) has too many subchannels. And to top that off, they're also broadcasting WMYT 55-1, all from a single RF feed. All of this since WMYT 55-1 was sold in the auction. It's too much in my opinion; and I think, as a Fox affiliate, WGHP offers superior picture quality. WGHP is also considered more of a news leader in the Triad market relative to where WJZY stands in the Charlotte local news market, although WJZY seems to be improving in their market.

WJZY does offer some subs that we don't get local in the Triad. My favorite is their "Movies!" subchannel. And I also occasionally watch BUZZR but not too much. My only big wish is that WGHP could keep "THIS" subchannel "and" add "Movies!" subchannel. I can only guess, but the "Movies!" subchannel may be reserved for Fox owned and operated stations only.
I agree the picture quality suffered after FOX merged WJZY and WMYT unto the same RF channel. Now too many subchannels on one channel, including 2 HD channels. Perhaps this will improve if they eventually upgrade to ATSC 3.0 . I think WCCB looks good and they have added several channels, but still only one HD. I guess it has to do with encoders and how the set up the MUX, but I don't know all the technical details involved in that. Also WSOC look good with 2 HD channels, but they don't have any more subchannels on 19, they move them all to WAXN on 32.
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post #12429 of 12455 Old 10-04-2019, 03:28 AM
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I don't know what the status is concerning that tower in Kernersville. Maybe someone else can post about that.

But as far as broadcasting, WLXI hasn't given up their license according to https://www.rabbitears.info/ They just don't do it local anymore. The studio in Greensboro has been shut down. But WLXI is still a TCT Network with a broadcast signal operating from Chapel Hill - I think from the same tower as UNC-TV, and with WLXI's same virtual display of channel 43.

I will always remember this station from the early/mid 80's when they first went on the air as a general/independent station airing lots of music videos and previously known as Channel 61. Of course, they were later bought out by TBN and Tri-State Christian Television.
I remember that now - I don't turn the antenna that way much since it is the only channel I sporadically get from that direction (WUNC).

I remember Channel 61 through most of it's stages -- a mix of general programming and some cartoons and music to start out -- becoming full on music videos that next year. The Triad's very own MTV! Then another year later --it was sold/changed to religious programming -- and remained in that form or similar since.

When you only get a few analog channels -- any new channel was still welcome... hahaha 2, 8, 12, 26, 45 WNRW, 48 WGGT, and 61 were all you could get with rabbit-ears then...
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post #12430 of 12455 Old 10-04-2019, 03:48 AM
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Just curious, where does your aunt live? I didn't know there was any place where you could receive OTA from Roanoke, Greensboro, and Charlotte.
It is an apartment complex. The address to the leasing office is:

5400 Walkertown Landing Dr, Walkertown, NC 27051


There are a lot of "hills" in this area... if you are lucky to be on top of one instead of on a down-slope -- bingo -- good chance of all three markets with very little effort and cooperation from the weather. The part I still can't believe is no amp. That being said, I am not sure how many actually decode in the middle of the day.

I will be there this evening - I will get a few snapshots/signal readings to post.
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post #12431 of 12455 Old 10-04-2019, 04:38 AM
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I agree the picture quality suffered after FOX merged WJZY and WMYT unto the same RF channel. Now too many subchannels on one channel, including 2 HD channels. Perhaps this will improve if they eventually upgrade to ATSC 3.0 . I think WCCB looks good and they have added several channels, but still only one HD. I guess it has to do with encoders and how the set up the MUX, but I don't know all the technical details involved in that. Also WSOC look good with 2 HD channels, but they don't have any more subchannels on 19, they move them all to WAXN on 32.


I read where big Cable is trying to throw a wrench in ATSC 3.0 -- but what is more interesting is what you are mentioning here along with evan237 -- I agree that it pushes the envelope on the technology. I hate the variable bitrate -- and assume something isn't quite right in their encoding since they basically have it maxed out or otherwise not setup correctly. The PQ can go from perfect to tiled up in too many action scenes.

There are multiple other channels that are VBR that have no noticeable issues. I would assume it would be easier to simply set a constant rate and be done -- but I'm no engineer. According to rabbit ears site -- WMYV is the only larger station in the Triad to use CBR -- everyone else's encoding is VBR. SO there... go figure.

This is a slide supposed to be presented by Charter that shows what ATSC 1.0 will look like in the Phoenix market during the 5 year plan to keep that signal going once ATSC 3.0 has taken off... If you think it looks bad now -- wait until 11 channels are all crammed on the same carrier. OH MY I find the slide more interesting for what you are speaking of -- not what they are speaking of. But honestly is all interesting

But seriously -- 11 channels? that would be like 1.25-1.33 Mbps per sub-channel's stream after some of the bits are reserved for sound -- and that is if the bits are divided evenly. If one of these sub-channels would need to look better -- it would cause one or more others to look even worse.

The article I found it in, is here: https://www.tvtechnology.com/atsc3/c...ainst-atsc-3-0
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post #12432 of 12455 Old 10-04-2019, 10:06 AM
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But seriously -- 11 channels? that would be like 1.25-1.33 Mbps per sub-channel's stream after some of the bits are reserved for sound -- and that is if the bits are divided evenly. If one of these sub-channels would need to look better -- it would cause one or more others to look even worse.

The article I found it in, is here: https://www.tvtechnology.com/atsc3/c...ainst-atsc-3-0
Remember that the type of modulation for ATSC1 and 3 are completely different. ATSC1 uses vestigial side band modulation with MPEG2. ATSC3 uses orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing modulation with a variation of MPEG4 (not exactly what it is but close enough for this), the same as Europe. OFDM is MUCH more robust. I have seen FOUR 1080i HD signals on one ATSC3 6 MHz transmission and the PQ is amazing. ATSC3 looks like it delivers everything that ATSC1 was suppose to but never able to do.

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post #12433 of 12455 Old 10-05-2019, 10:57 PM
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I have seen FOUR 1080i HD signals on one ATSC3 6 MHz transmission and the PQ is amazing. ATSC3 looks like it delivers everything that ATSC1 was suppose to but never able to do.
That sounds more impressive than I would have imagined. And while it will likely be a while longer before we see any local 4k broadcasts, I "would" like to see manufacturers get on with the business of going ahead and putting these ATSC3 tuners into new sets by 2020. I'd like to buy some new equipment, but I am not going to do so until the next generation of tuners are included.
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post #12434 of 12455 Old 10-06-2019, 05:47 AM
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That sounds more impressive than I would have imagined. And while it will likely be a while longer before we see any local 4k broadcasts, I "would" like to see manufacturers get on with the business of going ahead and putting these ATSC3 tuners into new sets by 2020. I'd like to buy some new equipment, but I am not going to do so until the next generation of tuners are included.

Unless you live in Raleigh, or Phoenix, an ATSC3 tuner is pretty useless at this point.

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post #12435 of 12455 Old 10-06-2019, 04:31 PM
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Unless you live in Raleigh, or Phoenix, an ATSC3 tuner is pretty useless at this point.
Yeah; the chicken and the egg are going to have a real fight over this.

I think it possible that the fight will go on until superior codices and transmission techniques make the fight pointless. I can imagine WRAL beginning ATCS4 transmissions as most viewers consider a new ATSC3 receiver.
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post #12436 of 12455 Old 10-07-2019, 09:24 AM
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Yeah; the chicken and the egg are going to have a real fight over this.

I think it possible that the fight will go on until superior codices and transmission techniques make the fight pointless. I can imagine WRAL beginning ATCS4 transmissions as most viewers consider a new ATSC3 receiver.
When repack is over, I suspect you will start to see activity on ATSC3. One disaster at a time.
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post #12437 of 12455 Old 10-07-2019, 07:08 PM
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One disaster at a time.
Yes, I like that. One disaster at a time

And aside from ATSC3, I realized a while back that "repack" by no means spells completion of anything....lol. It's just the date by which stations move over to their new RF channel. Tower work and other equipment changes may get drug out for a long time due to the shortages of tower crews and other complexities.

But it does "appear" that our local WXII was able to make a full transition on the cutover date as a result of being able to accomplish much of the work well in advance. So kudos to WXII and Hearst Television.
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post #12438 of 12455 Old 10-08-2019, 01:44 AM
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One disaster at a time.
I run across this vid from 2017 from WRAL while they were working on their tower, produced for the NAB...


...Disaster... is wording it mildly... lol

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post #12439 of 12455 Old 10-10-2019, 09:45 PM
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Unless you live in Raleigh, or Phoenix, an ATSC3 tuner is pretty useless at this point.
True enough. And I am sure it will remain that way for a while. But I am not jumping up and down to replace any of my stuff right now either, especially since it isn't broken and the fact that I know any new electronics that I purchase today will not be future proof. Not that anything regarding electronics really ever is future proof. But the fact that South Korea has already adopted ATSC3 and selling those ATSC3 tuners retail makes me want to wait a while longer to see what is going to happen here, especially after repack is complete.
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post #12440 of 12455 Old 10-23-2019, 10:24 AM
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True enough. And I am sure it will remain that way for a while. But I am not jumping up and down to replace any of my stuff right now either, especially since it isn't broken and the fact that I know any new electronics that I purchase today will not be future proof. Not that anything regarding electronics really ever is future proof. But the fact that South Korea has already adopted ATSC3 and selling those ATSC3 tuners retail makes me want to wait a while longer to see what is going to happen here, especially after repack is complete.
In about 9 months it should be over.

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In about 9 months it should be over.
In case it has escaped notice, WGHP .3 and .4 are correctly identifying programs, but the channels are now misidentified ("cort" for .4 and "this" for .3)
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In case it has escaped notice, WGHP .3 and .4 are correctly identifying programs, but the channels are now misidentified ("cort" for .4 and "this" for .3)
Some receivers will need to rescan to clear the database for the identifiers to be correct.
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post #12443 of 12455 Old 10-29-2019, 07:22 AM
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In about 9 months it should be over.
When do you think they will start to sell the new ATSC3 converter boxes or built in tuners in the new TVs?
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post #12444 of 12455 Old 10-29-2019, 10:07 AM
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When do you think they will start to sell the new ATSC3 converter boxes or built in tuners in the new TVs?
I would hope this Christmas season, but they may not until there are more stations on the air with it. I have not heard a time line yet. Last I heard was when the FCC authorized ATSC3 as a standard and not a test. That happened over a year ago, so . . . . Right now only the teat markets are up, the biggest being Phoenix where they are trying the distributed transmission model. Cleveland just had a test license and I am not sure if that is still active or not. As far as I know, WRAL is still testing on channel 39, but that may have stopped due to repack. To be honest, I haven't kept up with it like I had wanted too. A lot of stuff happening internally and couldn't spare the time on it.

My own repack is moving into high gear so I don't know how much time I am going to have for in the near future. We have already started taking delivery on items now. Our window opens March 15.
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post #12445 of 12455 Old 10-30-2019, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by tylerSC View Post
When do you think they will start to sell the new ATSC3 converter boxes or built in tuners in the new TVs?
That is a question that needs an answer. In some respects, it kind of boggles my mind that the industry has kept ATSC3 out of tuners being shipped to the US whereas the South Korean market is now (reportedly) well underway with ATSC3 becoming widely adopted by their viewing public. To make additional sales in the US, you would think some of the big TV suppliers would have placed these new tuners inside (at least) the more expensive-premium US sets, especially since ATSC3 is backward compatible.

But instead, the "chicken and egg" mindset continues. It could never by quantified. But I have to ask the following question for TV manufacturers. How many sets will "not" be sold this holiday season (particularly premium sets) as a result of manufacturer's ongoing decisions to keep ATSC3 out of the US market? My only conclusion is that manufacturers are "banking on" most buyers being completely uninformed about this topic.

We may still be a ways off actually seeing ATSC broadcasts (at least not even starting until repack is complete in 2020). But, I for one, would not really be incentivized to buy (particularly) a premium TV set this holiday season based on the current situation.

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post #12446 of 12455 Old 10-30-2019, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by evan237 View Post
That is a question that needs an answer. In some respects, it kind of boggles my mind that the industry has kept ATSC3 out of tuners being shipped to the US whereas the South Korean market is now (reportedly) well underway with ATSC3 becoming widely adopted by their viewing public. To make additional sales in the US, you would think some of the big TV suppliers would have placed these new tuners inside (at least) the more expensive-premium US sets, especially since ATSC3 is backward compatible.

But instead, the "chicken and egg" mindset continues. It could never by quantified. But I have to ask the following question for TV manufacturers. How many sets will "not" be sold this holiday season (particularly premium sets) as a result of manufacturer's ongoing decisions to keep ATSC3 out of the US market? My only conclusion is that manufacturers are "banking on" most buyers being completely uninformed about this topic.

We may still be a ways off actually seeing ATSC broadcasts (at least not even starting until repack is complete in 2020). But, I for one, would not really be incentivized to buy (particularly) a premium TV set this holiday season based on the current situation.
If I were putting TV sets together for sell today, I would not even think of putting in ATSC3 tuners. I would wait on economy of production to make the chip sets cheaper. As a consumer, I would wait way longer. I don't need any better picture display than I have now The threat of reduced programming on ATSC1 would not motivate me..
I'm not sure ATSC3 will get much off the ground in the US before a new transmission protocol seems a better way to go. ATSC3 is not weighing on my mind.
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post #12447 of 12455 Old 11-04-2019, 01:07 PM
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NextGen ATSC 3.0 4K OTA TV is Now Closer to Reality After Successful ARK Multicasting Testing

https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/next...ting-testing/\


NextGen 4K OTA TV is almost here and soon you will have the ability to watch free 4K TV with your antenna. But there has been a major hold back as the FCC required broadcasters to maintain the current-gen OTA TV for 5 years after they launch NextGen 4K OTA TV. But now ARK Multicasting has found a possible solution to that issue by broadcasting both current-gen OTA TV and NextGen 4K OTA TV from the same equipment.
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post #12448 of 12455 Old 11-11-2019, 01:43 PM
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If you hear of anyone loosing stations that haven't repacked yet, or won't be, after a rescan, we have found that some TVs and some converters, (yeah, they there are still a fair number out there) do not clear the database completely. Have them do a double rescan where they pull the antenna, rescan to clear out the database then reconnect the antenna and do a scan again. So far, every time we have had this done, the missing station has come back.

Sweet tip. Worked like a charm for me. I have a Dish VIP-222K convertor box with the optional dual over-the-air tuners. One additional step for me though. After removing the antenna connection, scanned for zero (0) channels found. I had to manually delete OTA channels that were previously found and save the deleted channel setting. I then attached the antenna and scanned a second time. All together it found 29 channels which covered 2, 8, 12, 16, 20, 26, 45 and 48 channels and sub channels.
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post #12449 of 12455 Old 12-02-2019, 10:16 AM
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FCC Says Repack Progressing Nicely; Others Disagree

Stations are relocating, but with STAs and temp facilities.

James E. O'Neal Updated:Nov 4, 2019 Original:Oct 31, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, VA.—Last month, as the latest phase of the television broadcast spectrum repack was wrapping up, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai advised the Senate Financial Services Subcommittee that all was going well and “on schedule.”

“We want to make sure it is a smooth transition for everybody,” he said. “And thus far it is.”

However, a number of those within the industry—engineering consultants, station groups, tower contractors—have a somewhat different take on things.

“The wheels are coming off the repack,” declared Bill Meintel, principle of the Meintel, Sgrignoli, & Wallace firm, in reflecting on his experience with some of his television clients and the repack statistical homework he’s done.

REPACK GETS ‘C’ GRADE AT BEST

In examining the numbers of channel transitions fully completed during the first five phases of the repack, Meintel determined that only about 73% of the stations had fully met their objective of moving to a new channel with coverage equal to what they provided with their pre-repack facilities.

As defined by Meintel, a fully successful repack means that a station met its repack deadline fully, is licensed according to the terms of its construction permit, and is providing service comparable to what was offered on its original channel prior to the repack—in other words, no STAs.

In compiling his repack “score,” Meintel said that he drew on a number of resources, determining that at the end of Phase 5 (which was officially concluded on Sept. 19), a total of 528 stations should have been operating on their new channel assignments. However, based on data available in late September, only 388 stations—just 73.5%—had completely finished repacking activities. He observed too, that out of the 984 stations identified as repack candidates, 496 of these were assigned to Phases 6 through 10.

(It should be noted that this article was compiled at the time Phase 6 was ending, and complete data was not available for determining the exact number of stations that were fully transitioned in that phase. However, based on Meintel’s numbers for Phases 5 and earlier, “fully successful” transitions ranged from a low of 45.6 % to a high of 92.5% in those phases, so it’s doubtful that all of the 126 stations assigned to Phase 6 were fully transitioned. Based on Meintel’s numbers for phases five and earlier, it would appear that nearly two-thirds [60.6%] of the overall repack work will have to be completed within the remaining nine months or so in order to make the July 3, 2020, deadline.)

Meintel observed that at the completion of Phase 5, only about 39.4%— perhaps less—of stations being repacked had completely wrapped up their channel moving exercises.

“At 30 months into the schedule, this averages out to 12.9 stations repacked per month,” he said. “At this rate, it will take another 46.2 months [almost four years] to complete the repack. The repack is well behind schedule.”

Meintel is not alone in his belief that progress on the repack has slipped considerably.

“I don’t expect it to be fully completed by deadline—maybe 80%,” said Stephen Lockwood, a senior engineer and partner of the Seattle-based consulting firm of Hatfield and Dawson. “Scheduling problems and the other things that we’ve talked about over the years are serious bottlenecks. Also, a number of entities have not planned appropriately, considering the limited availability of tower crews, qualified personnel to do antenna testing—once they’re in place, structural engineers to work out tower modifications, and even the manufacturing end of things for such things as transmission line.”

John Hidle, a consulting engineer with the Virginia-based Carl T. Jones consulting firm agrees.

“It’s going very slowly,” said Hidle. “A number of the stations we represent are typically making the transition with temporary facilities. We’ve been pretty much able to keep up in Phase 6 with about 40 % of them making the transition. The remaining 60% have been working furiously to put up temporary antennas.”

Hidle said that his firm is working with about 100 stations spread across various phases of the repack, and that the end-point shortfall number predicted by Meintel is likely correct. And as with others interviewed for this article, Hidle identifies the root of the problem as an FCC goal that was way too ambitious; a position that most in the industry voiced when the 36-month construction timetable was announced.

“There are just not enough qualified people,” he said. “A factory can only make so many antennas, and I’ve been told that the two major ones are running at least two shifts every day of the week to keep up with the demand. But people get tired; I’m tired. Everybody is trying their best. Nobody is slacking off. It’s a matter of just how much people can do in a given amount of time.”

SOMETIMES THINGS JUST HAPPEN

And it’s not just delivery of antennas, transmission lines and new transmitters that are factoring into schedule slippage. Accidents happen, humans make mistakes, weather is not always perfect.

Pete Sockett, director of engineering and operations at Raleigh-Durham’s WRAL-TV, related a critical industry shortage that impacted his station’s repack plans.

“We’re behind the repack curve too,” said Sockett. “We converted in Phase 5 and had planned a helicopter lift in October for our two stations and the three others on our tower to replace our top-mounted antennas. However, there’s a shortage of helicopter crews, which disrupted our planning, and now has delayed things until early in 2020. We’re operating with an STA for a temporary side-mount antenna until then.”

Lockwood also cited delays caused by lack of qualified crews to do antenna testing and measurements once a new radiator is in place, and noted that on several occasions his firm has been called in at the last minute to do this because manufacturers’ crews weren’t available.

Harvey Arnold, corporate vice president of engineering for Sinclair Broadcast Group, is overseeing the reworking of facilities for some 100 stations—or about half of the Sinclair television properties— and has seen even the most carefully planned transition schedules fall by the wayside due to unforeseen or unintended difficulties.

“Wind, rain and ice can cause delays, but in our experience, it’s primarily been the wind,” Arnold said. “We’ve had situations where it’s a beautiful day on the ground, but at 1,000 or 1,500, feet up, the wind is blowing so hard crews can’t work. We would schedule a job for two or three weeks and it would take six months. It doesn’t always happen like that, but that’s where schedules can really get delayed and our tower projects get backed up.”

There are many other reasons for unplanned delays. Arnold observed that one of these surfaced at an Oregon antenna site common to several broadcast operations.

“Two stations were being repacked and one was not,” he said. “We found that the antenna we’d planned to use for this site wouldn’t work properly at the lower channel frequency and we had to order a whole new antenna. Replacing the antenna was one issue; finding a tower crew when we needed it was another.

“When you’re dealing with these ‘community’ systems,’ things can take much longer,” Arnold added. “Having to work around FM stations that use the same tower can be tricky, as some have to be shut down when working near these FM antennas. Another issue can arise when you’re combining very high-power transmitters into a single antenna and you have arcing and other problems that weren’t discovered at the factory, as they couldn’t do testing at full-power conditions.”

Arnold related other unplanned situations that resulted in lost time, including misplaced or lost structural drawings in situations where tower modifications were necessary.

“Every call sign is different,” he said, referring to the numerous stations Sinclair has acquired. “I wish we had greenfield sites, but every one was an existing site, and most all have had modifications. It’s pretty complicated. We had an early repack job in Toledo which we found was going to require about half of the tower to be taken down and rebuilt.”

Arnold says they couldn’t wait and and elected to go on the air with lower power and a temporary antenna.

“Needless to say, our coverage was impacted, but we did make the transition date,” he said. ”We have a few markets that are operating at significantly reduced service until we can complete the required tower work.”

LESS THAN OPTIMUM

Sinclair currently has 26 stations operating with STAs, according to Arnold.

“We had five past STAs that have now been cleared for full power,” he said. “So far, that’s a total of 31 stations with STAs. I don’t have an actual count, but hundreds of STAs have been issued for lower power operation so far. You can look at the FCC records.

“We’ve had to go with side-mount antennas and low-power transmitters—five kW—at some sites. I’m sure that we, and other broadcasters, never envisioned temporary antenna systems going on for very long, but here we are.”

And such reduced power operations have inevitably resulted in a loss of service to viewing audiences.

“Many people are viewing over-the-air television, and we’re getting a lot of calls and complaints from the viewers now because of the low-power situation,” said Arnold. “But what can you do? We work hard to provide good over-the-air service. It’s frustrating when we’re not able to reach our viewers.”

Others mirrored Arnold’s comments about operating with less than optimal facilities in order to make the tight channel clearing deadlines.

Bill Harland, vice president of marketing at ERI, a company that manufactures antennas and handles tower work, also acknowledges that stopgap measures are part of the repack landscape.

“We believe the spectrum to be cleared will be cleared by the July 2020 deadline,” he said. “[However] some television stations may not be operating with their fully authorized facilities.”

Brady Dreasler, director of television engineering at Quincy Media, Inc. (QMI), which has stations in multiple U.S. markets, reported that although his company has now cleared the Phase 0, 1, 2, 6 deadline hurdles with only a single station operating with FCC special temporary authorization, that may not be the case as the repack moves into its final months.

“For our remaining stations in Phases 7, 9, and 10, we’ll likely be utilizing STA’s for some time,” he said.

‘NEVER TIME TO DO IT RIGHT; ALWAYS TIME TO DO IT OVER’

The temporary facility aspect of the 2017-2020 repack is a common theme among those interviewed for this article, with all bemoaning the fact that many transitions were having to be done on a temporary basis with a lot more work ahead. When July 3, 2020 rolls around, crews will have to go back and turn temporary substandard facilities into the permanent ones specified under the terms of the station’s CP and license.

“A lot of time and effort is being expended in putting up temporary facilities when we could be completing facilities,” said Hidle. “It’s a matter of ‘oh my God,’ we have to get on the new channel and we have to do something to get to the new channel and then live with this until we can get back to it. The stations that we’re working with are all absolutely serious about getting on their new channels in time. The FCC is pushing this hard and is granting STAs right and left just to say the stations have moved to their new channels.”

“We’re going to have to take some time after the deadline has passed and go back and rework some of the sites as originally planned,” said Arnold. “I know we’ll have to go back and rework more than 25 stations, and we’re probably going to be well into 2021 before it’s all done.”

Dreasler pointed out that work remaining to be performed at QMI’s “completed” sites include two transmission facilities that were awaiting the return of tower crews to raise auxiliary/ interim antennas to the proper height, installation of transmission line switches, completion of HVAC work, as well as repairs to site parking lots that were damaged during tower modification or construction work.

He said that the push of the repack had also left a number of transmission facility maintenance and repair operations on hold, including tower inspections, lighting system replacement, coating of guy wires, tower painting, repairs to radomes, and replacement of microwave dish antennas, or in some cases, new microwave link installations.

Dreasler said too that there were continuing issues involving stations that weren’t repacking, but which operated on a common tower where others were repacking, and are now having to transmit with their licensed auxiliary facilities at reduced power levels.

“We have excellent vendors,” he said. “But they can only do so much. I don’t see the tower crews catching up until late 2021.”

Meintel opined that he had no reason to believe that the repack pace would pick up during its final phases.

“The handicapping factor has not changed,” he said. “There were never enough resources to meet the demand. While I believe that all 984 stations affected by the repack will be operating on new channels by July 3, 2020, a significant number will likely be providing inferior service caused by this completely unrealistic buildout schedule.”

Hidle shared Meintel’s pessimism.

“I do not believe the whole transition will be done by next July,” he said. “Even though all repacked stations might have migrated to their new channels and met the phase deadlines, it’s likely going to take at least another year-and-a-half for these stations to fully complete their authorized permanent facilities.

“There is only so much people can do,” he added. “It’s now the middle of October and the repack is supposed to be all finished by next July—nine months. You can have a baby in nine months, but I don’t think the repack can be finished in nine months.”

The FCC has issued a response to these claims.

For more information on the repack, visit TV Technology's repack silo.

https://www.tvtechnology.com/repack/...thers-disagree
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post #12450 of 12455 Old 12-05-2019, 07:01 AM
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As for all of the repack talk going on all I can say is, at this point, WGHP is on schedule. Of course as we get closer to our window of Phase 9, things may change since we just entered Phase 7 now. We have two of our new stand by antennas on site and just about all of our repack transmitter equipment on site now. I don't expect the main antenna to arrive until closer to the Phase 9 window. But like the rest of the industry, we shall see how it goes come March 15 when the Phase 9 window opens.

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