[opendtv]

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2008 16:10:20 -0500

"'We're ready; our viewers are not,' said Bill Nardi, director of
technology at WRC-TV in Washington. 'I get five to 10 e-mails a day from
viewers who say they get us great on analog, but are not getting us on
digital at all. A lot of times we find that they're using an indoor
antenna or a VHF antenna and they're just not going to get us this way.'

"Nardi remarked that a big issue is in dealing with those individuals
who are watching the station's analog signal well beyond the station's
DMA and find they have no digital reception at all.

"'These are tough conversations,' he said. 'We want to provide help for
everyone. You don't want to tell them to buy cable. We're not in the
business to be pushing this around.... What we're finding is that
engineers are having to become customer service personnel.'"

Sounds similar to the WECT situation in Wilmington NC. WRC-TV is on Ch
4, at 100 KW. WRC-DT is, and will stay, on Ch 48, at 813 KW. Tower
height is about the same (HAAT 227' VHF, 242' UHF), and both are
omnidirectional.

I guess my question to those unable to receive the DT signal would be
how do they receive now the Wash UHF analog stations? Or what about the
other Wash DTT stations, which are all UHF for now? Could be that their
UHF antenna needs improvement, especially if indoors, since the UHF loop
of many of the cheap indoor antennas has far smaller aperture than the
fully extended rabbit ears used in VHF. And are they using a CECB box,
or a good, recent receiver?

My recommendation to everyone is get a DB4 or similar high gain UHF
antenna, and try it indoors. It's not very big. The funny thing is, our
indoor reception of Baltimore DTT channels is actually better than
analog indoor reception of their VHF stations. This is even true with
the 3rd gen Digital Stream box and Radio Shack double bowtie. So I have
to believe these out-of-DMA WRC viewers should be doing okay with the
813 KW UHF transmitter. Get a high gain UHF antenna!

Bert

---------------------------------------
http://www.tvtechnology.com/article/69298

Maalox, Scotch Recommended for Transition Date
11.21.2008

Broadcasters in Washington are ready for the DTV transition, but
engineers are warning of plenty of problems, including indigestion.

"On the evening of Feb. 17 in my office, there'll be a case of Maalox
and there'll be a case of scotch," said MSTV President David Donovan.
"I've been told to drink the Maalox neat."

Donovan appeared with broadcasters and other industry leaders in a
special DTV transition panel presentation organized by the Washington,
D.C., SMPTE section Nov. 20. Many aspects of the Feb. 17, 2009 event
were covered, including distribution and setup of converter boxes;
antenna requirements; and the overall readiness of broadcasters, cable
systems and satellite program providers for the switch.

"From a political standpoint, the world will be a changing place,"
Donovan said. "The Obama administration-in particular the transition
team-is very, very concerned about the transition. It will happen right
as the new administration takes office. We need to get it right."

Panelists' presentations were moderated by the NAB's Graham Jones, chair
of the ATSC planning committee, who said he had seen many changes in
television during his career, but none of these has been more profound
than the transition to digital broadcasting.

Several Washington-area television station engineering heads reported
that their stations were fully prepared, and had been for some time, for
the rapidly approaching February "D-Day."

"February 17 is a big night," said Jim Beahn, director of engineering
for Washington's WTTG and WDCA-TV. "Since [both stations] are currently
operating on our post-transition channels, the only thing we really need
to do is to turn the analog transmitters off and then go out for a beer
or something. We're pretty much done."

Chris Lane, vice president of engineering and technology at PBS station
WETA-TV in Arlington, Va., commented that his station had been operating
a digital transmitter for about two years, and that some of the digital
equipment at the station had been in place so long that it's now being
phased out.

But even with most pre-transitional work completed on the station side
of things, most admitted that there is still a lot to be done to ready
the off-air viewing public for the digital world ahead.

"We're ready; our viewers are not," said Bill Nardi, director of
technology at WRC-TV in Washington. "I get five to 10 e-mails a day from
viewers who say they get us great on analog, but are not getting us on
digital at all. A lot of times we find that they're using an indoor
antenna or a VHF antenna and they're just not going to get us this way."

Nardi remarked that a big issue is in dealing with those individuals who
are watching the station's analog signal well beyond the station's DMA
and find they have no digital reception at all.

"These are tough conversations," he said. "We want to provide help for
everyone. You don't want to tell them to buy cable. We're not in the
business to be pushing this around.... What we're finding is that
engineers are having to become customer service personnel."

Nardi said that his station is planning a series of analog "soft"
shutoffs to test viewer off-air readiness, noting that problems have
been revealed by others performing such tests.

"We're finding in other markets that 50 to 70 percent of folks calling
in do not have coupons yet," Nardi said. "Even though the message has
been out there for a long time, folks aren't realizing that it involves
them."

Harvey Arnold, director of engineering for the Sinclair Broadcast Group,
spoke about his own concerns.

"In both small and large markets, our main quest is to not lose viewers
and to stay in business," said Arnold. "Broadcasters know how to install
equipment and get things working at the station side; the big problem is
getting people to receive it at their homes. This is very sobering."

Arnold said that since the migration to digital began Sinclair has been
pushing to make reception easy for its viewers. However, this has not,
and probably will not, be a goal that's easily achievable, due to
multiple real-world issues such as multipath, insufficient signal
strength, interference and channel swapping.

"We're trying to provide education and to make sure that viewers know
what the situation is," he said. "It's really complicated when stations
move from out-of-core to in-core channels. We have several stations that
are switching channels and this is going to be very disruptive....
Education is going to be critical in the weeks following the transition
to make sure that we don't just settle for people losing our signal."
 
 
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