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Here we are, only two years before the original date for total switch-over to HDTV broadcasting, and I get the distinct feeling that the U.S. is nowhere near to getting the bugs out of a system for delivering a convenient and reliable HDTV signal to the public.


We can beam pictures from the surface of Mars, but the outlook for me getting an HDTV broadcast of the Super Bowl in my home looks pretty grim.


And no one seems willing to admit the obvious -- that the U.S. in 2004 is still not ready, neither sociologically nor technologically, for HDTV. There are fewer people screaming, “I want my HDTV!†today, than were screaming, “I want my MTV!†two decades ago. The overwhelming emotion surrounding HDTV everywhere is… indifference.


Broadcasters treat HDTV as a tremendous burden, instead of as their future. Local channels are barely meeting the FCC equipment requirements, or begging for exemptions, while maintaining a “no one’s watching anyway†attitude toward the quality of the HDTV signal they put out.


My local cable company announced HDTV service with great fanfare late last year, but they offer only three of the eight local channels listed as broadcasting HDTV in my area at antennaweb.org. Of course, one they don’t offer (and have no definite timetable for adding) is the CBS station, which is carrying the Super Bowl this year.


Retailers would love to sell you an “HDTV-ready†widescreen digital TV set, but have little knowledge about how to get a high-definition signal onto your screen. Go into a retailer and ask about an ATSC tuner, and nine times out of ten they won’t know what you’re talking about. I am shocked at the small choice of ATSC tuners out there in 2004. Most retailers, if they carry any at all, carry only one brand, take it or leave it. And the knowledge about features is almost zero. “Here it is,†…that’s all they know.


Antennas are still looked upon as things people got rid of when cable moved in. At the Channel Master web site, it listed Lowe’s as a retailer in my area. I went to the store and found the employee didn’t know where the outdoor antennas were -- he sent me to the wrong aisle. I searched around and finally found exactly *one* giant multi-purpose CM antenna, not the HDTV UHF antenna I was looking for. The Radio Shack store I visited said they were “sold outâ€. There are five Radio Shacks in my city, after he called two others without success, I told him to stop.


Well, I could always order an antenna off the internet, but first I needed an HDTV tuner. After reading many complaints about several models of ATSC tuners at this message board, I finally determined that LG’s newest tuner was the best choice for me. Two days after placing my order, I learned that a software glitch had halted shipments of all LG ATSC tuners, and may force a recall of those already sold. It doesn’t exactly build confidence in a system to learn that technological bugs are still rampant. I am now nervous about spending hundreds of dollars on a piece of equipment that the manufacturer can’t guarantee will be reliable. Do I buy another model without the features I want, and hope the thing works without crashing, or abandon my hope of getting an HDTV signal to my new plasma TV in the very near future?


When my dad bought his first color TV in 1957, at least he didn’t have to worry about whether the tuner software was full of bugs, or whether the system would reboot in the middle of “Bonanzaâ€. The more I learn about HDTV, the more respect I have for NTSC -- maybe it doesn’t work beautifully, but by God it works!


We have the technology today to broadcast and receive a television picture in people’s homes that is vastly superior to anything my dad saw on his 1957 color TV set…


…or do we, really?


The dirty little secret is we aren’t ready, not the broadcasters, not the cable companies, not the tuner manufacturers, not retailers… not anybody. The technology is not ready, and the distribution system is not ready.


The U.S. is not ready for HDTV.
 

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And this is coming from your own experiences only?


I hate to say it but it sounds like your market of Salem is not ready (Especially your cable company).


Please don't make blanket statements that look like they're backed by true facts, not your opinions based on just your experience in your broadcast area.
 

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I'm getting HD via OTA and using my Sony HD-300 as the tuner. Works like a charm.


My only compliant is ABC here in Dallas have a out of sync for the audio and video (the other channels are fine). I wonder when ABC is going to fix that?
 

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The U.S. is ready for HDTV. The reason you don't hear people clammoring for it is that most of us can now receive all or most of what is available.


Fresno just got their latest addition to HDTV a couple weeks ago with CBS, who was 480i digital for a while prior to that. Now we have digital transmissions from all but PBS and only FOX, UPN and the WB are unable to pass through higher than 480i broadcasts. ABC, NBC and CBS can.


In addition to that, there is HD available from DISH and DirecTV and if you don't live in WA or OR, you can get Voom.


Most stores only carry a couple of tuners because there isn't a reason to carry 10. They all mostly do the exact same thing. You may have sat/ota vs. ota only units, but after that, the only difference is the outputs, the look of the unit or if it has an RF remote. Most tuners are available identically under multiple brands anyway, so what good would it do you to be able to buy the same unit with another brand name on it?


Radio Shack is out of antennas? Why is that, because they are selling them faster than they expected? Think the super bowl in HD has anything to do with that? Maybe not in your area, but I had to install an antenna exclusively for the super bowl last week.


Look around at how many HDTV sets are available in stores. Can you even find a set over 40" that is not HDTV ready?


Sure, the sales people are clueless about HDTV. Ask them about IDE RAID vs. SCSI and see how much they know. Ask them some technical questions about anything and see how much they know. If it isn't written on the tag in front of the component, it is likely that the sales person cannot answer it.


So, while you sit there and tell people that we are not ready for HDTV, I will sit down and choose which of the many HDTV channels I receive that I want to watch tonight.


If you want HDTV, it is there. If your providers don't offer it, there are ways around them. It is just a question of how much you want it. It sounds more to me like YOU are not ready for HDTV.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Winfeld
Here we are, only two years before the original date for total switch-over to HDTV broadcasting, and I get the distinct feeling that the U.S. is nowhere near to getting the bugs out of a system for delivering a convenient and reliable HDTV signal to the public.
There's no mandate for HD broadcasting. Only digital.
Quote:
We can beam pictures from the surface of Mars, but the outlook for me getting an HDTV broadcast of the Super Bowl in my home looks pretty grim.
CBS-HD has been beaming into your home (and most of Americas) for over 2 years. You probably aren't allowed to get it by law, however.
Quote:
And no one seems willing to admit the obvious -- that the U.S. in 2004 is still not ready, neither sociologically nor technologically, for HDTV. There are fewer people screaming, “I want my HDTV!†today, than were screaming, “I want my MTV!†two decades ago. The overwhelming emotion surrounding HDTV everywhere is… indifference.


I don't think many folks have seen HD yet. I'm almost sure. I had 4 of my pals (and their wives) over to watch the playoffs last weekend. None of them had seen HD. Everyone of them have an HD set on their list now (birthday, father's day, christmas 04, summer solstice ;) )
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Broadcasters treat HDTV as a tremendous burden, instead of as their future. Local channels are barely meeting the FCC equipment requirements, or begging for exemptions, while maintaining a “no one’s watching anyway†attitude toward the quality of the HDTV signal they put out.


Well as long as the law allows them exclusive rights to you (and us) as customers HDwise, then there really doesn't make any financial sense for them to offer you (or me) HD.
Quote:
My local cable company announced HDTV service with great fanfare late last year, but they offer only three of the eight local channels listed as broadcasting HDTV in my area at antennaweb.org. Of course, one they don’t offer (and have no definite timetable for adding) is the CBS station, which is carrying the Super Bowl this year.


See previous response. ;)
Quote:
Retailers would love to sell you an “HDTV-ready†widescreen digital TV set, but have little knowledge about how to get a high-definition signal onto your screen. Go into a retailer and ask about an ATSC tuner, and nine times out of ten they won’t know what you’re talking about. I am shocked at the small choice of ATSC tuners out there in 2004. Most retailers, if they carry any at all, carry only one brand, take it or leave it. And the knowledge about features is almost zero. “Here it is,†…that’s all they know.


That's just life. Visit a higher end AV store - they'll know their deal. I live in a relatively small town (70,000ish) and I could buy at least 6 - 10 different tuners. Heck, probably more than that. They had that many at CC when I bought my T151.
Quote:
Antennas are still looked upon as things people got rid of when cable moved in. At the Channel Master web site, it listed Lowe’s as a retailer in my area. I went to the store and found the employee didn’t know where the outdoor antennas were -- he sent me to the wrong aisle. I searched around and finally found exactly *one* giant multi-purpose CM antenna, not the HDTV UHF antenna I was looking for. The Radio Shack store I visited said they were “sold outâ€. There are five Radio Shacks in my city, after he called two others without success, I told him to stop.


Same deal here. Pretty slim antenna pickins...but that's supply and demand. I see numbers like 2 to 3% of the US is now HD-Ready. Would you carry that many antennas if you were retail?
Quote:
Well, I could always order an antenna off the internet, but first I needed an HDTV tuner. After reading many complaints about several models of ATSC tuners at this message board, I finally determined that LG’s newest tuner was the best choice for me. Two days after placing my order, I learned that a software glitch had halted shipments of all LG ATSC tuners, and may force a recall of those already sold. It doesn’t exactly build confidence in a system to learn that technological bugs are still rampant. I am now nervous about spending hundreds of dollars on a piece of equipment that the manufacturer can’t guarantee will be reliable. Do I buy another model without the features I want, and hope the thing works without crashing, or abandon my hope of getting an HDTV signal to my new plasma TV in the very near future?


Welcome to life on the bleeding, er, leading edge. There's many tuners out there that work well. Kids toys are recalled all the time...stopped buying toys? Cars have recalls often...stopped buying cars? You get my point. (although, just for the reasons you list I don't surf the bleeding edge either...I bought a CRT as that technology has peaked, and will buy a DLP, LCD, LCoS set when the kinks are worked out and prices drop in a few years...but that's just me)
Quote:
When my dad bought his first color TV in 1957, at least he didn’t have to worry about whether the tuner software was full of bugs, or whether the system would reboot in the middle of “Bonanzaâ€. The more I learn about HDTV, the more respect I have for NTSC -- maybe it doesn’t work beautifully, but by God it works!


Well I wasn't alive in 57' but I bet they had more than their fair set of tvs that didn't last nearly as long as folks hoped, and they didn't have the internet to provide "bug tracking." Heck the GWIII bugs still aren't "acknowledged" despite the amount of reports on the net. Think how many "bugs" existed that were cast off as "isolated incidents."
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We have the technology today to broadcast and receive a television picture in people’s homes that is vastly superior to anything my dad saw on his 1957 color TV set……or do we, really?


You're right. We do.
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The dirty little secret is we aren’t ready, not the broadcasters, not the cable companies, not the tuner manufacturers, not retailers… not anybody. The technology is not ready, and the distribution system is not ready. The U.S. is not ready for HDTV.
Well our politicians aren't ready that's for sure. Every household in America (if they have the set) could be watching HD TV in a few weeks or so if the law was such that D*, Voom and E* were allowed to provide it. Contact your elected representative.


Brian
 

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Looks like a troll to me.


The "total switchover" was to DIGITAL, not to HDTV. And the switchover is happening very nicely. In 2006 virtually all new TVs sold will have digital tuners, and when cable companies finally drop the analog channels for good, which will happen within a few years I think, analog will be dead and gone forever.


HDTV was always supposed to be a premium thing, only for the highest production-value shows. Much like color was in the beginning. It will be long after 2006, probably long after 2010, before EVERYTHING is HD.


This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.
 

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Nah...April 2003. Not a troll...just someone who spent big bucks on a plasma set before seeing how much actual HD he'd have.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Herb Smith
I disagree with the premise but not the conclusion.


Feds need to reclaim the analog spectrum bands to auction off to big bucks users. Switching to all digital TV makes it possible.


Consumers want TV delivered free OTA or reasonably priced via cable or sat. Trouble is that with 8-VSB, there is no easy path to free OTA DTV and the cable and sat companies are charging more for HD programming.


Transition from analog to digital is working in the UK and other nations. Why are they succeeding and we are not?


Only we and the Koreans are saddled with 8-VSB. The rest of the world has chosen not. LG wins, Americans lose.....


Oh Yeah.


You must be Bob Miller or his friend. 8VSB is fine when station broadcasts at normal power level not 1/100th of it. They had many problems with COFDM in UK. Whole commercial broadcaster went bankrupt because of reception problems plus they do not have HD. They even had to change from QAM64 to QAM16 which lowered data load to about 18Mbps to get reliable reception. Remember they use 8Mhz channels so in US it would be like 15Mbps per channel. COFDM = death of HD and hello to multicasting. Please do not bring this up again as it is forbidden to lie about COFDM and 8VSB on this forum.
 

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"8VSB is fine when station broadcasts at normal power level not 1/100th of it. "


That's not true! And by the way I am not Bob Miller's friend - I don't even know him. But to ignore 8VSB's fault in the fact that the transition hasn't proceeded at lightspeed is just not right either. The largest population centers - major cities, people in apartments and condos - can't get digital TV because of multipath interference. That absolutely has to be addressed.


But it is being addressed, thankfully, by chip makers and hopefully this year we'll see chips that solve the multipath problem. But other modulations wouldn't have had that problem. It's too late to turn back, but by God, why pretend that a mistake wasn't made?
 

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Here's some more reading material from Mark Schubin at Digital TV Magazine: Happy Holiday Hoax


A bit more positive outlook for Digital TV in America is here .
 

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The largest population centers - major cities, people in apartments and condos - can't get digital TV because of multipath interference.


Plain and simple, this statement is objectively false. There are indeed certain isolated instances of individuals in condos or apartments that are below ground level that have problems, but this is by no means absolute, or even the majority. Most "large population centers" in the US do not resemble the urban canyons of NYC, they are more accurately characterized as resembling L.A. (i.e., urban sprawl), and in such situations receiving a reliable HDTV signal withe current modulation scheme is easily accomplished.
 

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I see HDTV as more of a jigsaw puzzle at this point, you must have the knowledge and cash to put it together. It's easly attainable just not to those who don't take the time to a little research.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by CKNA
Oh Yeah.


You must be Bob Miller or his friend. 8VSB is fine when station broadcasts at normal power level not 1/100th of it. They had many problems with COFDM in UK. Whole commercial broadcaster went bankrupt because of reception problems plus they do not have HD.
Oh yeahh, Salem, OR. I remember where Salem is, you poor unfortunate soul... although it is the capital city of Oregon, it's about 50 or so miles south of Portland. A very cool place to live, sorta the small city life, land is cheap, living is good. Not the ugly big city, anyway. And how far away the transmitters? Oh yeah, they had local re-transmitters, but only the VHF bands, probably not the digital stations, those are in Portland.


What really amazes me is that, although there has been a lot of discussion about poor HD reception, there hasn't been hardly any discussion about WHY the digital stations are transmitting at 50% power or less.... so what does everyone think would happen if all the digital stations ran at the same power as their analog counterparts? Would it solve the HD reception problems? Why are the national broadcasters only xmitting at 50%? When will they transmit 100%? Will that solve the reception problems?
 

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1) This is what a troll does, attempt to start fights, and apparently this one is succeeding.


2)


"Plain and simple, this statement is objectively false. There are indeed certain isolated instances of individuals in condos or apartments that are below ground level that have problems, but this is by no means absolute, or even the majority. Most "large population centers" in the US do not resemble the urban canyons of NYC, they are more accurately characterized as resembling L.A. (i.e., urban sprawl), and in such situations receiving a reliable HDTV signal withe current modulation scheme is easily accomplished."


So typical of the elite to believe that because they can get something means that everyone can. You've obviously never lived in a condo or apartment or home where you didn't have access to your roof, and were born with a gold antenna on top of your roof. A majority, or at least close to it, of american's can't access their roofs. Without that access, there is no reliable HDTV reception. Sure there are a few channels, but there's frequent dropouts, enough to ruin most viewing experiences, and rarely, if ever, can you get all the channels. Your circumstances must be ideal to get reliable reception. People here continue to turn a blind eye to this problem. Why do you think Thompson and other manufacturers are working on solving this problem? They recognize that DTV won't take off until it's solved. I went to the Linx presentaiton in Chicago - those guys understood the big picture here. Few on this board seem to.
 

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Quote:
Here we are, only two years before the original date for total switch-over to HDTV broadcasting.


I do feel your pain, and a lot of your points are very true, but one point of clarification, there has never been a date at which we were to switch over to HDTV, just DTV.
 

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I think this year is going to see a large increase in HDTV adoption. What with Dish's $1,000 HDTV-in-a-box, the HD-TiVo and other HD-PVRs, and the Fox changeover. I haven't been able to watch much HDTV so far because I haven't been able to time-shift reliably (PC card has not been reliable), and none of my friends have been interested in spending that much money for what they see as nothing (since generally all I can show them is PBS).


[I believe the JVC DLP projector is $250K, personally I think the sony G3 offers better value at $38K. But I'll likely never see either, since I'm still under 60K]
 

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I think there are reasons to believe that reception problems are part of the issue, but in a country where 85% of the population has cable/satellite and probably over 75% of those people have zero interest in switching back to using an antenna regardless of how easy or difficult reception is. it is delusional to think that simply changing modulation would make everything that much faster.


I live in a urban environment, and do not have trouble picking up OTA DTV, but I also don't live in a basement apartment, nor in a NYC or Chicago highrise type area.


In some environments/locations, regardless of modulation, you will not be able to pick up OTA TV, just like your cell phone won't work in some buildings.


In my mind the slow rate of the transition is due to the high cost of displays, the fact that TVs are purchased as a replacement item every decade or so in most households, and that the amount of content until this past year was easy to write off as being miniscule.


Now that cable companies are carrying local HDTV broadcasts, prices are falling, tuners are improving, content amount has become respectable, you're going to see the whole pace accelerating.


I too am very optimistic regarding receiver technology improvements; the data from those Linx demonstrations are impressive and their chip is supposed to be sampling within the next few months. The word is that the next generation of LG tuners will be able to handle 0 dB ghosts, and those will be appearing this year as well. With the price of processing power dropping every year, there's no reason to think that the reception issues won't be solved.
 
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