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post #10081 of 10187 Old 05-25-2020, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by jd8000 View Post
Did anyone else notice that KERA dropped the bitrate on their HD broadcast by about 25% on the 13th? They're now wasting more bits on nullpackets than they're giving to the HD channel. I wonder if they're looking to do something like add someone else's services as part of an ATSC 3 move, and this is a test to make sure they don't get too many complaints about the picture quality. I have to give the encoder some credit; it's got enough prefiltering going to not degrade into block city on high motion scenes. I attached a couple screenshots from the ACL broadcast on Tuesday. On a still shot, you can see that her skirt is composed of a bunch of separate threads, but once some motion gets involved, it's just a sea of red mush. So much for high definition.
I'm sure the makers of UHD TV's and producers of UHD programming will love hearing that stations are spreading their signal thinner with more channels and services instead of increasing picture quality. There might be a war brewing on the horizon over this trend.
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post #10082 of 10187 Old 05-25-2020, 02:36 PM
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KLEG submitted a silent STA to the FCC... tomorrow? https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/da...7247670e5b079a

Looks like it wasn't a hardware failure, but rather they turned the power off to save money, due to a decrease in advertising revenue as a result of COVID-19.
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post #10083 of 10187 Old 05-25-2020, 02:47 PM
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It's a holiday today, so things submitted after Friday evening got a "submitted" date of Tuesday. Certain types of filings have fixed durations based on the submit day, so they start the clock on the next business day.
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post #10084 of 10187 Old 05-25-2020, 04:37 PM
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Looks like it wasn't a hardware failure, but rather they turned the power off to save money, due to a decrease in advertising revenue as a result of COVID-19.
Given the source and type of their programming, I wonder what they mean by "licensee will continue to explore new opportunities for bringing in sufficient income to sustain station operations". Short of switching to shopping channels and infomercials, there really doesn't seem much they can do. I wonder if this is the time to make them an offer to buy the station...

As an aside, the Indian/Subcontinent and East Asian population is fairly significant in North Texas, so you would think that they could step up and do something to keep them on the air for a few months.
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post #10085 of 10187 Old 05-26-2020, 04:40 AM
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Looks like it wasn't a hardware failure, but rather they turned the power off to save money, due to a decrease in advertising revenue as a result of COVID-19.
Given the source and type of their programming, I wonder what they mean by "licensee will continue to explore new opportunities for bringing in sufficient income to sustain station operations". Short of switching to shopping channels and infomercials, there really doesn't seem much they can do. I wonder if this is the time to make them an offer to buy the station...

As an aside, the Indian/Subcontinent and East Asian population is fairly significant in North Texas, so you would think that they could step up and do something to keep them on the air for a few months.
It's a bit surprising to me that there isn't more east/south Asian subchannels in DFW (maybe some kind of African or nearby-African also?), with all the stations there are. There doesn't really need to be 2 or 3 of the same thing (SonLife, HSN, etc), other than the station(s) being down for digital upgrades -- or not being able to pay the light bill...
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post #10086 of 10187 Old 05-26-2020, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jd8000 View Post
Did anyone else notice that KERA dropped the bitrate on their HD broadcast by about 25% on the 13th? They're now wasting more bits on nullpackets than they're giving to the HD channel. I wonder if they're looking to do something like add someone else's services as part of an ATSC 3 move, and this is a test to make sure they don't get too many complaints about the picture quality.
As a noncommercial station I think the only non-PBS subchannel they could add would be Daystar. Could be - Daystar has more money than, um, you know, and if they flip KDTN to ATSC 3.0 it would benefit KERA for the same reason; still, I hope KERA is just getting ready to add World back.
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post #10087 of 10187 Old 05-26-2020, 05:54 PM
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As a noncommercial station I think the only non-PBS subchannel they could add would be Daystar. Could be - Daystar has more money than, um, you know, and if they flip KDTN to ATSC 3.0 it would benefit KERA for the same reason; still, I hope KERA is just getting ready to add World back.
I'm talking about channel sharing, not just adding a separate service under KERA. Facilities that belong to a noncommercial license are allowed to host a separate commercially-licensed station because the license is independent of the facility. Just as a hypothetical, if Fox wanted to convert KDFI to ATSC 3 operation, they could set up channel sharing where they move 27.1 to KERA's broadcast, then move 27.2 and 27.3 to KDFW's broadcast and 27.4 and 27.5 to KXTX. Then, KDFI's ATSC 3 broadcast reciprocates by hosting KERA and KXTX. This is similar to what's being done in other ATSC 3 markets, just that most other PBS stations don't have spare bandwidth since they're already loaded up with a second HD service or 3-4 SD subchannels. KERA would need to reconfigure their Wichita Falls repeater to not transmit 27.1 since there's already a station there carrying MyTV, but it's not a big deal to do that.
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post #10088 of 10187 Old 05-26-2020, 06:06 PM
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I'm sure the makers of UHD TV's and producers of UHD programming will love hearing that stations are spreading their signal thinner with more channels and services instead of increasing picture quality. There might be a war brewing on the horizon over this trend.
Unfortunately for videophiles, the economics of OTA broadcasting seems to favor more channels over better PQ. The last holdouts, CBS and Fox, who each had a station dedicated to a single HD channel not that long ago, now have eight subchannels each (split between two stations each). Fox is even simulcasting a station, which we were all grateful for when KDFI was off the air for several days; nevertheless, it can't help but cut into Fox 4's picture quality.

ATSC 3.0 opens up a a lot more room, so we'll see some improvement in time, but I don't think there's so much more room that the fundamental economics will change. There are a lot of diginets, with more being created all the time! So I'd bet UHD will be rather rare on OTA except for special events (e.g., the Super Bowl).

That said, I think videophiles can still look forward to improvements, like HDR, maybe 1080p, that don't require the massive bit-rate of UHD. It'll look a lot better even without 4K, and if you absolutely must have 4K, there's always Blu-Ray....
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post #10089 of 10187 Old 05-26-2020, 06:15 PM
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Facilities that belong to a noncommercial licensee are allowed to host a separate commercially-licensed station because the license is independent of the facility.
Interesting loophole. I wasn't aware of that; it does open up a lot of possibilities.

With one HD and one SD subchannel, Daystar is one of the least over-committed stations in the DFW area (the other is KXTX), and although Daystar is noncommercial too, I'm sure they're considering the income a channel-sharing arrangement could bring....
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post #10090 of 10187 Old 05-26-2020, 08:26 PM
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Unfortunately for videophiles, the economics of OTA broadcasting seems to favor more channels over better PQ.
A long time ago, in a sports galaxy far, far away there was a beer called Schlitz. It was a great beer, with a large following of loyal customers. As time passed, the cost of brewing this great beer rose to the point where the brewery decided they had to cut costs. They didn't think they could just change the recipe outright, so they did it incrementally, slowly replacing the ingredients with cheaper alternatives in the belief that their loyal customers wouldn't notice. But as the changes progressed, the customers did notice, and slowly drifted away to other beers. Eventually the great beer known as Schlitz was nothing but a memory, recounted in tales around TV sets as the players of games moved about on the fields in consoles TV sets of varying sizes that sat against the walls of living rooms throughout the land. The end.
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post #10091 of 10187 Old 05-26-2020, 08:41 PM
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Interesting loophole. I wasn't aware of that; it does open up a lot of possibilities.

With one HD and one SD subchannel, Daystar is one of the least over-committed stations in the DFW area (the other is KXTX), and although Daystar is noncommercial too, I'm sure they're considering the income a channel-sharing arrangement could bring....
I brought this up a couple months ago when KDTN started hosting KPTD-LP on their broadcast. KPTD is on a low-power license, which gives them no rights to must-carry on cable/satellite TV, but also exempts them from a lot of the requirements that are placed on full-power stations. There's also no such thing as a commercial/noncommercial license at that level, at least as far as I'm aware. They can sell that license and the channel sharing arrangement to whomever wants to pay them the most, and that entity would have excellent OTA coverage of the entire market and could pretty much do whatever they wanted with it with almost no restrictions. Almost as good of a scam as televangelism itself.
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post #10092 of 10187 Old 05-27-2020, 04:58 PM
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Well, KODF is back on the air. Signal quality here in South Garland is absolutely terrible - apparently even at 3 kW, you aren't going to get far beyond 20 mi. or so (I assume due to high VHF-Lo noise levels) - but it's alive, FWIW....
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post #10093 of 10187 Old 05-27-2020, 05:08 PM
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Well, KODF is back on the air. Signal quality here in South Garland is absolutely terrible - apparently even at 3 kW, you aren't going to get far beyond 20 mi. or so (I assume due to high VHF-Lo noise levels) - but it's alive, FWIW....
Are you able to get a good enough lock on KODF to see what their lineup is?

EDIT: Also, looks like KDFI is back off. Guess they're back to work on the antenna.

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post #10094 of 10187 Old 05-27-2020, 06:22 PM
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Are you able to get a good enough lock on KODF to see what their lineup is?
  1. LATV
  2. HSN
  3. Infomercials
  4. HSN2
  5. SBN
Except for .3, that's exactly the same lineup as it was before!

Edit: Just noticed a couple of interesting differences between LATV on 26.1 and 28.3. First, the audio quality is far better on 26.1. 28.3's is horribly overmodulated and distorted. So while 26.1 may be harder on the eyes with all the pixelation, it's much easier on the ears.

Second, the commercials are different!

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post #10095 of 10187 Old 05-27-2020, 09:25 PM
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Well, KODF is back on the air. Signal quality here in South Garland is absolutely terrible - apparently even at 3 kW, you aren't going to get far beyond 20 mi. or so (I assume due to high VHF-Lo noise levels) - but it's alive, FWIW....
Just before 11:00 this evening I scanned in RF3 on the DVR+. Suprisingly, I had high SS/SQ and it scanned in 5 channels. All are clear with good quality audio. So that at least answers my questions about the HD Stacker picking up VHF-Lo signals, at least for RF3 and above. If KLEG comes back I will have about 112 channels, which is the most I've seen.

On the downside, it looks like KDFI has gone Norwegian Blue again. Absolutely nothing, so I suppose the antenna work on WFAA's tower has resumed.
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post #10096 of 10187 Old 05-29-2020, 05:00 PM
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Just before 11:00 this evening I scanned in RF3 on the DVR+. Suprisingly, I had high SS/SQ and it scanned in 5 channels. All are clear with good quality audio. So that at least answers my questions about the HD Stacker picking up VHF-Lo signals, at least for RF3 and above.
Good to hear. I'm just right on the edge of the cliff. You must be in a bit better location.

This weekend I may try combining my old VHF-Lo antenna (a Y5-2-6 I think it was called) with my old HBU44, just to see if the combo does better on KODF. The HBU44 should be fine for VHF-Hi and UHF post-repack; the only weak station is K26KC and I don't get it with my current antenna anyway. But it's really hard to get good gain on VHF-Lo and there's a huge amount of noise to overcome. It's worth a shot but I'm not terribly optimistic.
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post #10097 of 10187 Old 05-29-2020, 06:34 PM
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Good to hear. I'm just right on the edge of the cliff. You must be in a bit better location.
I just checked TV Fool and Rabbit Ears, and my reception might not be as impressive as I first thought. I thought that KODF's transmitter was due south of downtown Fort Worth, which would put there signal hitting my antenna at about a 70* angle. And while the TV Fool visual map does show KODF to be due south, the antenna direction they recommend is about 123* (distance is just over 24 miles), which is the same as Rabbit Ears. Most of the stations I receive are between 120* and 128* with similar distances, and I have the antenna biased a few degrees to the north to pickup up a few others. Even KNAV plots out at 123*, at a bit more than 40 miles away. So unless the TV fool map is incorrect, KODF has their transmitter on Cedar Hill and I am receiving their LP signal from the same general direction as all my other channels. What's interesting is that KSFW plot out with similar direction/distance numbers, but I barely get any signal strength and no signal quality. Go figure...

But I still like that my HD Stacker seems to handle VHF-Lo signals. Good luck with your frankentenna!
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post #10098 of 10187 Old 05-29-2020, 06:49 PM
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TVFool is completely worthless at this point and should just be shut down. It was a great site while it lasted, but their database hasn't been updated in several years so nearly every station is wrong after all the repack moves, tower relocations, and power changes. Stick with the Signal Search Map on RabbitEars.
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post #10099 of 10187 Old 05-29-2020, 06:57 PM
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TVFool is stuck on a database from 2018 and has been broken ever since the FCC made changes to the database to indicate spectrum sharing, so post-repack most of their predictions are wrong, especially if a station changed towers, patterns and/or antenna heights like KODF-LD did. Stick to the RabbitEars search instead.

Not only did they switch towers and bands, they also switched from a highly directional pattern on RF 27 to a non-directional pattern on RF 3, so TVFool's outdated prediction from 2018 is useless.

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post #10100 of 10187 Old 05-29-2020, 09:30 PM
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Is antennaweb.org equally crippled by the changes???

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TVFool is stuck on a database from 2018 and has been broken ever since the FCC made changes to the database to indicate spectrum sharing, so post-repack most of their predictions are wrong, especially if a station changed towers, patterns and/or antenna heights like KODF-LD did. Stick to the RabbitEars search instead.

Not only did they switch towers and bands, they also switched from a highly directional pattern on RF 27 to a non-directional pattern on RF 3, so TVFool's outdated prediction from 2018 is useless.
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post #10101 of 10187 Old 05-29-2020, 09:57 PM
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AntennaWeb's database appears to be up to date, however they tend to be conservative in their predictions and might not show everything possible for you, and only has one option for antenna height. It's good if you need a basic plot to know where to aim, but it can be a problem if you're trying to aim for something more distant or weaker in your area that doesn't appear on the map/plot.

RabbitEars allows more variables like the height of your antenna, an option to change the distance it will search, and provides more technical details like terrain profiles. They also highlight VHF-Hi stations in Yellow and VHF-Lo stations in Red so you can know if you will need an antenna designed for those bands.
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post #10102 of 10187 Old 05-30-2020, 02:21 PM
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Good luck with your frankentenna!
Unfortunately it didn't work out. I try to be methodical about these things, so rather than changing everything out all at once, I started by splicing the Y5-2-6 in with an HLSJ, keeping the good ol' 3020 for VHF-Hi and UHF.

Had VHF-Lo performance improved, I would've tried out the HBU44. I think it's weaker than the 3020 on UHF, but post-repack all our stations (except K26KC) are strong enough to take the hit. Unfortunately VHF-Lo performance turned out to be worse, so I pulled the plug and switched back to the 3020 for all bands.

KODF has actually been halfway decent today, maintaining a tenuous lock throughout the afternoon (except for the duration of the experiment). For me, reception of KODF depends almost entirely on how much interference happens to be plaguing the VHF-Lo band at any point in time. (I can view the interference levels by looking at the "signal" strength on RF 2 and 4.) When interference isn't too bad, KODF has a little pixelation but is still quite watchable. But when interference levels go up it becomes unwatchable or I lose the lock entirely.

I can't see any daily, weekly, or other obvious pattern to the level of interference, except that, as my luck would have it, it's been unusually high from yesterday through about noon today, when it finally relented a bit. But as I write this, it's gone back up again.
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post #10103 of 10187 Old 05-30-2020, 04:17 PM
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Their conservative view of reception is one thing I like

Is 27 (KDFI) and its sub-channels offline right now? Can't get 27.4 up in Flower Mound tonight and Saturday is "big TV night" for me and Heros (27.4)


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AntennaWeb's database appears to be up to date, however they tend to be conservative in their predictions and might not show everything possible for you, and only has one option for antenna height. It's good if you need a basic plot to know where to aim, but it can be a problem if you're trying to aim for something more distant or weaker in your area that doesn't appear on the map/plot.

RabbitEars allows more variables like the height of your antenna, an option to change the distance it will search, and provides more technical details like terrain profiles. They also highlight VHF-Hi stations in Yellow and VHF-Lo stations in Red so you can know if you will need an antenna designed for those bands.
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post #10104 of 10187 Old 05-30-2020, 06:04 PM
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Is 27 (KDFI) and its sub-channels offline right now?

I was going to include a link to the signal plot but it shows that it returned to the air about 90 minutes ago.
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post #10105 of 10187 Old 05-30-2020, 06:07 PM
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Let me check......

YUP, it's back, just in time for Combat

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I was going to include a link to the signal plot but it shows that it returned to the air about 90 minutes ago.
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post #10106 of 10187 Old 05-30-2020, 06:27 PM
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I was going to include a link to the signal plot but it shows that it returned to the air about 90 minutes ago.
Yep, and it looks like KDFW is back on their main transmitter too.

I just hope WFAA's antenna work is finally done so we can kiss these service interruptions goodbye.
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post #10107 of 10187 Old 05-30-2020, 08:33 PM
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Interesting to see that KXAS, WFAA, and KTVT have been sharing chopper feeds today, allowing them to have continuous coverage of the protests today even when one needs to go down for refueling. WFAA's Youtube has had a continuous live stream since around 3pm which has carried the chopper feed most of the time, only cutting away to show their newscast.


And yes, WFAA needs to get their antenna work done. Even though I'm near downtown and have high quality antennas with high VHF elements I still can't reliably receive them when they're on their aux facility. Does anyone know why they're changing in the first place? The way I read it, their new facility is significantly worse than what they had before. The new one is very slightly closer to omnidirectional than their old one but has about a 20% reduction in ERP at the same height, so the coverage will be noticeably worse for a station that many people already have less than optimal reception on. Any insights you might have, @JStigler ?
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post #10108 of 10187 Old 05-31-2020, 04:08 PM
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Unfortunately it didn't work out. I try to be methodical about these things, so rather than changing everything out all at once, I started by splicing the Y5-2-6 in with an HLSJ, keeping the good ol' 3020 for VHF-Hi and UHF.
I'm guessing you did all the usual things for optimum performance, i.e. same length of coax between the splice, sufficient distance between the two antennas, etc?

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I just hope WFAA's antenna work is finally done so we can kiss these service interruptions goodbye.
I'm hoping for the same thing, but my suspicions are that they worked on Saturday, but knew they wouldn't be working on Sunday and let everyone crank up their transmitter when they went home for the day. No holiday Monday, so that should give us an indication as to what is going on.
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post #10109 of 10187 Old 05-31-2020, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Greasemonkey View Post
I'm guessing you did all the usual things for optimum performance, i.e. same length of coax between the splice, sufficient distance between the two antennas, etc?
Length of coax shouldn't matter. An HLSJ typically only passes ~170MHz and higher on the H input and ~120MHz and lower on the L input, so there's no frequency where phasing would be an issue. I'd be more worried about failure of the balun or the HLSJ just based on age.
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post #10110 of 10187 Old 06-01-2020, 04:27 PM
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I'm still showing a decrease in WFAA signal strength. Normally 95-100 like other local major networks but still down in the 50-60's earlier today. No pixelation, it just isn't up to the others as it normally is.
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