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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here in Huntsville, AL the networks are all broadcasting digital... however one affiliate, WAAY, refuses to pass along any HD content, citing cost issues. As consumers, do we have any sort of voice here? A group of us here have tried on many occasions to contact the station through phone calls, e-mails and letters, to no avail; in fact most e-mails are never responded to.


Would complaining to ABC itself help, even though WAAY is not O&O? At some level would ABC care that in certain markets, at least, their product is considered inferior? It seems like bad press for them that this one station is doing a "holdout."


What are our options?
 

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My guess is no amount of complaining to anyone will make any difference. Fortunately, your local affiliate can't refuse to pass along HD content forever. Sooner or later, the FCC will force them to update. Have you checked the station's DTV status on the FCC website?
 

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That really isn't the issue. They do pass DTV, the issue is they do not pass HD. So as I understand it they meet the FCC guidelines for now.
 

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You don't really have any options - except writing your representatives. Your station has a monopolistic right to you as a customer. They are passing a digital signal as required and have no obligation to provide you w/HD. You, also, have no alternative to get that network HD signal.


In all fairness, foxeng has posted a few times about the actual cost of putting out an HD signal, and I don't claim to know the economics of local affiliates, but if I had a station I certainly wouldn't be putting out HD. There's an extremely limited number of HD ready folks in any given market and MOST IMPORTANTLY you have no choice of alternative providers. The law guarantees them exclusivity. Would you invest a million or so dollars to make a few percent of your market happier knowing that the cost on the equipment will do nothing besides drop over time?


Until there is competition in the marketplace there simply is no incentive for a local affiliate to broadcast in HD. None.


Brian
 

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Your one recourse might be to complain to their sponsors, especially the sponsors who have an interest in HD. Local electronics stores who sell HDTVs, sports bars who might get more folks in to watch MNF in HD, Comcast who would be able to offer it as part of their HD package...just some ideas. Be creative. Also, I believe that station is still owned by M.D. Smith. Are there other ways to get him on board with HD stuff?


Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't know anything about M.D. Smith. However, I have toyed with the idea of complaining to sponsors, since that seemed to be the way to hit the station where it lives, so to speak.


My first idea was somewhere along the lines of visiting / writing station sponsors and perhaps suggesting they buy TV time elsewhere because of WAAY's current policies. It's an easier sell, I would assume, during football season when you can go to a car dealer (for example) and say, hey, do you know why you can't watch MNF in HD? It's because of WAAY, which you support through your advertising.


Darin
 

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I live in Florence and pick up WKRN-DT on good nights. Tropoducting conditions have to be favorable, so it is not a viable option. I am using a CM4228 with a CM7775 on a 35ft mast and I'm on a hill as it is. Also, I'm 92 miles from WKRNs tower.


I wouldn't worry too much about WAAY, you're concern should be WZDX (our Fox affiliate). Since they are multicasting the WB network, there is no way for them to pass the HD signal come September. As we all know, they don't even pass the Widescreen DD5.1 signal. They would totally have to seperate the WB from Fox, which would almost mean starting totally from scratch for another station, which isn't going to happen. You're best bet with them is for WZDX to grant a waiver when DirecTv starts carring the Fox-ED signal.


Another concern is WHDF (UPN affiliate), which I work for, but I'm sure everyone knows that we are just waiting on the owner to settle the Chapter 11 before he starts putting money back into the station. The FCC has granted us an extension until the Chapter 11 is settled.


Back on the subject of WAAY, I believe Spectravision (whom owned the tower that collapsed) has said they will be building a new tower, and I'm sure that is what WAAY is waiting on (and they're insurance money).
 

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Check B'ham thread over next month. I will post when channel 5 comes on. You may be able to get ABC on it. We will show ABC-HD. It is near the Jefferson/Tuscaloosa line, NE of Tuscaloosa.
 

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I've heard that last week ABC changed the encoding format used on the satellite HD feeds and all of the ABC affiliates will have to upgrade. At this time the only ABC stations in HD are the O&O's.


Has anyone heard anything about this?


WHAT THE HECK IS ABC THINKING?
 

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Let's nip that rumor in the bud. My local ABC isn't O&O, it's M&P (Mom & Pop), and I just watched Forrest Gump in HD.


Networks don't make changes like that without a lot of planning and a lengthy transition period to get new equipment installed, tested, and all the kinks worked out, for both the network and the affiliates.

Quote:
I wouldn't worry too much about WAAY, you're concern should be WZDX (our Fox affiliate). Since they are multicasting the WB network, there is no way for them to pass the HD signal come September. As we all know, they don't even pass the Widescreen DD5.1 signal. They would totally have to seperate the WB from Fox, which would almost mean starting totally from scratch for another station, which isn't going to happen. You're best bet with them is for WZDX to grant a waiver when DirecTv starts carring the Fox-ED signal.
How do you figure WZDX won't be able to continue multicasting WB? Foxeng has explained that the newfangled HD hardware being installed at every Fox station will accommodate one multicast channel.
 

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While it will accomadate one multicast channel, it will never look as good as giving the full bandwidth to the HD channel. Personally, I've spent enough money as it is on my HD setup, and to have sub-par HD quality is a no-go. Now, I may be speaking a little too soon on this, because Fox just may have come up with something special.


Oh, and I'm not sure if WZDX is on that list, since I believe Foxeng said the station already had to be passing the 480p Widescreen signal, which they are not.


Edit:

I re-read Foxeng posts and it sounds like they will receive the equipment.
 

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Through the rumor mill I've heard M.D. Smith is trying to sell WAAY, though, it's just a rumor as of now.
 
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