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Discussion Starter #1
Welcome to the Hampton Roads (Virginia) Over-The-Air (OTA) thread for the 4th quarter of 2004.

HISTORY

On March 22, 2001, WAVY-DT started operation as the first DTV station in Hampton Roads. Early adopters of the (then) expensive, new technology started a dialog between themselves and the engineering personnel at the local stations. Topics involved start-up times for the various stations, programming availability and reception problems. These sporadic conversations eventually led to the formation of The Official SE Virginia/NE North Carolina Thread in February 2002. That thread proved to be beneficial for the viewers and the engineering staffs as not all consumer equipment functions the same way.

PURPOSE

While the Official SE Virginia/NE North Carolina Thread is still active on the Forum, the technology of OTA DTV in Hampton Roads has stabilized and newer technologies for the delivery and recording of DTV source material has become the primary topic of conversation of that thread. The engineering managers of the local television stations are creating this thread specifically for conversations and information regarding the OTA DTV service in Hampton Roads.


It is important for the people who subscribe to or just read this thread to understand that television broadcasting is a business. These businesses are not run by committee. All of the commercial stations in the Hampton Roads market are owned and operated by larger corporations. Those corporations have publically traded stock and are under constant pressure to show growth in profits. While the DTV service is now stable and growing, total viewership, nationwide, is just now approaching five percent (5%). For this reason the NTSC, or analog, television service is still the primary money maker for the local television stations. In most cases, the engineering managers are the principle contacts for information on DTV technology. We do not control the programming or other non-technology aspects of the stations. We welcome your technical questions and inquiries.

RULES

The rules of engagement for the Hampton Roads OTA thread are similar to those that were posted for the Official SE Virginia/NE North Carolina thread. They are:
  • Topics should focus on over-the-air digital television or carriage of those signals by third party vendors such as cable or direct broadcast satellite services. This narrow focus is due to the limited amount of time the engineering managers can dedicate to participate in this thread,
  • No personal attacks or name calling.
  • Understanding & tolerance are the first orders of the day (as we are a diverse group of people meeting in a common area).
  • Courtesy is the second order of the day (as we are a diverse group of people meeting in a common area).
  • The Hampton Roads OTA thread is not the complaint counter between the viewers and the stations.
PARTICIPANTS

The engineering managers subscribing to this thread are:


Bill Barber

Chief Engineer

WTVZ-TV/DT
[email protected]

Station telephone: 757.622.3333


Les Garrenton

Director of Engineering

WAVY-TV/DT and WVBT-TV/DT
[email protected]

Station telephone: 757.393-1010


John Heimerl

General Manager

WHRO-TV/DT
[email protected]

Station telephone: 757.889.9400


George Randell

Chief Engineer

WGNT-TV/DT
[email protected]

Station telephone: 757.393.2501


For pressing matters, station engineers can usually be contacted - during business hours - via the telephone numbers listed above.


For information concerning the orientation of an antenna for Over The Air (OTA) reception, click here for the CEA's antenna mapping utility program.


For "newbies," there are two new web sites:
  • CheckHD is a cross-industry, cross-network collaborative web site sponsored by Decisionmark.
  • DTV.gov is a government sponsored web site.

Both sites are offered to help viewers make the transition from analog to digital broadcasting. Please check these sites before posting equipment or reception problems to this thread.
 

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... than none. Thanks Peter! :)
 

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Hey all,


A newbie here to HDTV. Getting all channels except 10 and 33. Ironically no problem getting WUND-DT.


Using rabbit ears. I'm about 19 miles away from the antennas in Suffolk...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by pdennant
Lastly, we will be moving some more bandwidth - small amounts - from 13-2 to 13-1 for better MNF broadcasts.

WOW! I got caught between threads! It was kinda like a time warp!


Peter, I know that this was asked earlier, but I didn't see a reply to it.


I can only guess what your gizmo that side-converts to 1080i may have cost. But... is it even feasable to experiment with passing ABC's 720p signal? It may be a more efficient use of available bandwidth and may also help with motion artifacts.


I remember that the original intent of the side-conversion was to improve picture quality, with a better scaler than those in our ATSC tuners. Now it "seems" that bandwidth is having a greater effect than scaling (i.e. ESPN & Fox).


Couldn't this be a "win/win" for you? You have THE unique (720p availability) opportunity to test it (given equipment capabilities) and a strong argument for multicasting. Or am I totally off-base?


Was ABC right? I'd love to see what happens! (Just the "Rocket-Scientist" in me
)
 

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I think John is on to something, but I've been afraid to bring it up. If possible, it would be great to try it out.
 

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I would just like to say that I appreciate the efforts the station engineers put into all of this, the investment the stations have made, and I really can't understand why Neilsen doesn't even rate DTV reception. I mean, don't the broadcasters pay for Neilsen? If you're putting so much money into it, I don't understand why you aren't forcing them to rate it.


Maybe if they start providing DTV ratings, accounting will ask what to do to make DTV viewers even happier....



Bruce
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Lowekamp
I would just like to say that I appreciate the efforts the station engineers put into all of this, the investment the stations have made, and I really can't understand why Neilsen doesn't even rate DTV reception. I mean, don't the broadcasters pay for Neilsen? If you're putting so much money into it, I don't understand why you aren't forcing them to rate it.


Maybe if they start providing DTV ratings, accounting will ask what to do to make DTV viewers even happier....



Bruce

Bruce,


Good question... You can one more household into the Hampton Roads DTV viewership. I will never, ever go back to analog. How can I after seeing what SD and HD broadcasts look like...
 

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Discussion Starter #8

Quote:
Originally posted by johncchester
I remember that the original intent of the side-conversion was to improve picture quality, with a better scaler than those in our ATSC tuners. Now it "seems" that bandwidth is having a greater effect than scaling (i.e. ESPN & Fox).

Good memory John. While I think your suggestion has merit, the decision to side convert from 720p to 1080i was made at the corporate level. Of the 21 stations Belo owns (in 17 markets), only 4 are ABC affiliates. They made the decision that all of their stations were to broadcast 1080i. I checked back with them a year or so ago - when Fox made the announcement that they would take the 720p road - and was told to stay 1080i. I'll check again as it is something I am curious about.

Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Lowekamp
...I really can't understand why Neilsen doesn't even rate DTV reception. I mean, don't the broadcasters pay for Neilsen? If you're putting so much money into it, I don't understand why you aren't forcing them to rate it.

You need to understand how Neilsen works: They are not out looking for DTV viewers. They are looking for viewers - preferably families with a good demographic spread (Dad, Mom, a teenager or two and a preteen) - who typify an average viewing environment. They go about selecting "families" from some type of pool. If that family is willing to participate for five years, Neilsen sends in technicians who wire all their viewing electronics (TVs, recording/playback devices, video games, etc) to their sampling computer. IF that family has a DTV receiver, that will be wired up too. Earlier this year, only two of their families - nationally - had DTV receivers: One in San Diego and the other in San Francisco.


This speaks to the fact that, while there is a good core of DTV enthusiasts, that core is, unfortunately, still a small percentage of the total viewing public.
 

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I agree with John . ABC should just pass 720p and not to upconvert the signal to 1080i. Maybe ABC can experiement with this. Peter you thnk you can run an experiement like this and have people give you feedback??


I know that FOX's is advertising that they are using 720p with 5.1 Dolby Digital durning there broadcast of games.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by pdennant


You need to understand how Neilsen works: They are not out looking for DTV viewers. They are looking for viewers - preferably families with a good demographic spread (Dad, Mom, a teenager or two and a preteen) - who typify an average viewing environment. They go about selecting "families" from some type of pool. If that family is willing to participate for five years, Neilsen sends in technicians who wire all their viewing electronics (TVs, recording/playback devices, video games, etc) to their sampling computer. IF that family has a DTV receiver, that will be wired up too. Earlier this year, only two of their families - nationally - had DTV receivers: One in San Diego and the other in San Francisco.


This speaks to the fact that, while there is a good core of DTV enthusiasts, that core is, unfortunately, still a small percentage of the total viewing public.

Interesting. I think I read somewhere that if you watched DTV or Tivo (until the last couple of months), they wouldn't measure your viewing because they lacked the technology to observe it (i.e. they had TVs and cable tuners, but not Tivos and DTV receivers). I know for a fact that they didn't monitor Tivos until very, very recently. If they do have DTV receivers that work, but there's just not enough use of them to be statistically significant, I guess that's another thing.


Actually, I think their previous policy of ignoring Tivo usage already caused lots of methodology questions in their results---especially considering the popularity of PVRs with D* and E* subscribers. Unfortunately, already predisposing their surveys against the high end.


Bruce
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by pdennant
...the decision to side convert from 720p to 1080i was made at the corporate level...and was told to stay 1080i. I'll check again as it is something I am curious about.

Oh... so the suits vs. techs battle still rages, eh.


IF they could accept such an experiment, how tough would it be, technically, for you guys to switch to and pass 720p?


PLEASE keep us posted!
 

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Serious lip sync issues with the 3:30 ball game...
 

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Great job Peter.
 

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What's the deal with no HD on Ch. 3? I'm getting an HD feed over D*'s East Coast feed (CBS) but not on our local CBS station?


This really makes the fact that D* blacks out the ST games that your local station provides a slap in the face when the game is in HD but your local is not carrying it
 

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Congradulations Les on the excellent NASCAR (10-1) and Redskins (43-1) presentations today. I wore out the remote switching back and forth....


Interesting that Directv's national HD feed from NY had serious audio problems. It alternated between missing, studdering and popping. Lip-sync problems on the post race interviews was very evident. I didn't see it on WAVY-DT. I would have assumed the feed was the same. Maybe just a Directv problem?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by hjriver

Interesting that Directv's national HD feed from NY had serious audio problems. It alternated between missing, studdering and popping. Lip-sync problems on the post race interviews was very evident. I didn't see it on WAVY-DT. I would have assumed the feed was the same. Maybe just a Directv problem? [/b]

Interesting...I only noted a couple of stuttering problems but nothing else. Maybe I was not paying enough attention
 

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WTKR-DT


I understand there was a problem with the NY/Miami game at 4pm. I just got back in to town (8:45p). I will check with CBS in the morning and report back here. It was schedule to be in HD.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by hjriver
Congratulations Les on the excellent NASCAR (10-1) and Redskins (43-1) presentations today.....

Strange... WAVY's race looked like the fuzzy old "Fox-480-Widescreen" to me... (@55") i.e. LOUSY. Glad I'm not a NASCAR fan. I'd have been p!ssed.


BTW... HDNet's broadcast of the Busch race was in SPECTACULAR HD.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by johncchester
Strange... WAVY's race looked like the fuzzy old "Fox-480-Widescreen" to me... (@55") i.e. LOUSY. Glad I'm not a NASCAR fan. I'd have been p!ssed.


BTW... HDNet's broadcast of the Busch race was in SPECTACULAR HD.

NBC's broadcasts this year ARE the same as FOX's 480 widescreen. I'm just glad they had it instead of TNT this time. It's obviously not HD, but looks better than regular TV. However, ALL NASCAR races on FOX, NBC, and TNT next year WILL be in HD!! Yeah! And yes, the NASCAR races on HDNet (Busch North and West series races, not the regular Busch series) do look excellent as did the CHAMP car races...

Edit: For Typo.
 
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