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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
During last night's 12/12/2002 broadcast of ER (the "backwards" episode), the entire final act was dark here in Washington on local affiliate WRC-DT. The translucent NBC logo was there, but there was no picture or sound. Fortunately I wasn't recording the episode and was able to switch to WRC's analog broadcast (although the signal strength was atrocious). At 10:59 PM when WRC-DT went to commercial, the picture and sound came back... and The Tonight Show's HDTV broadcast was just fine.


Was this a local problem with WRC-DT, or did affiliates in other cities experience the same problem? And if other cities were dark, was it another problem with the East Coast feed (i.e., did West Coast viewers see all four acts of ER in HD)?
 

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I had a similar problem in Southeast Michigan. During the last segment my screen was formatted for widescreen but only the NBC logo showed, after about 20 seconds the image reappeared but it was in SD. For ER, SD is still widescreen, but because I have a 4:3 set I was watching black bars on top and bottom, another set of horizontal black bars within the outer bars, and vertical black bars on either side. So basically it seemed like 40% of the my screen was being used. Needless to say I switched over to analog and watched it that way.


By the way, this was through Comcast cable and I checked out the beginning of Leno to see if it went away and thankfully it did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hmm, interesting... so it wasn't someone at WRC-DT spilling coffee on the control panel. :) Seriously though, Chuck Lindner (WRC's engineer) is pretty good about switching to standard def when there's a problem with the HD broadcast, but I flipped back and forth between channel 4 (NTSC) and 48 (ATSC) several times and the picture stayed dark on 48 for the entire final 15 minutes or so (except for the NBC bug). I guess no one was monitoring the HD feed last night. It's a shame... this was one of the more interesting ER episodes in awhile.


Still haven't heard from anyone on the left coast yet... but considering the intermittent problems that NBC has with their East Coast HD feeds, I won't be surprised if that turns out to be what happened last night.
 

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Scott,

WBAL-DT had the same problem last night. I switched to WRC-DT and figured it was just good ole NBC showing their HD ineptness once again. I watched the final act on analog WBAL. I guess in some cities where the control rooms actually monitor what's going out on their HD channel, the engineers noticed the lack of a feed from NBC on the HD and switched to the SD. I guess we can now assume that both WBAL-DT and WRC-DT don't bother monitoring what goes out on the HD signals... at least not after regular 9-5 working hours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I just sent Chuck an e-mail... if he replies with anything I can repeat, I'll post it here.


Did anyone on the West Coast see the final act in HD last night?
 

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It was out in Central Florida (I reported in local reception forum, but I guess it was a national NBC problem). My local station flipped over to SD after about 2 minutes of the dark screen.
 

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same thing in Minneapolis, MN. they switched to the unconverted "pillowboxed" SD feed on the digital channel after about 10 seconds of black HD feed with only the logo showing in the corner.
 

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Same here on WNCN-DT 17 out of Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville NC. area.
 

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You would think that NBC would be monitoring their HD feed and would switch to SD if there were problems even if the local affils aren't monitoring...
 

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In SLC the last half was upconvert SD. I called the station as soon as I realized and the lady in master control told me that NBC only sent the first half in HD.
 

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danimalx,

On the day of air, a re-edited ending was handed to NBC. Only a standard definition copy was supplied to the network at this time. The automation triggers were already in place for the HD switchers at all NBC owned stations. The switcher took, and no segment was available. Only the peacock in black. Sorry we were not able to throw to an SD signal in time. We are a little bit short handed. We'll try to improve our response time.
 

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Thanks Shaun,


This problem occured on 12 Dec 2002, and again last week, 30 Jan 2003? In both circumstances, the final 0:15 was not broadcast in HD. Were the circumstances the same? i.e. a last-minute re-edit?


Gerald C
 

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Gerald C,

This is what we were informed. For some reason a last minute re-edit had to be made on those days.
 

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At least some NBC affils who are monitoring what their HD channel is airing noticed the dead air and switched. But one would think that the network itself would be paying closer attention since they feed the affils the whole 3 hours of primetime and were supposed to be making it easier for them to do HD.
 
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