[opendtv] Re: [opendtv]

  • From: "Dale Kelly" <dalekelly@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2008 11:16:09 -0800

Bert wrote:
> 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?

Unfortunately it is often not that simple. Many OTA viewers in the older
traditional VHF markets made little or no attempt to receive analog UHF
signals; VHF fulfilled their needs.

Having worked for many years for a company that constructed and operated UHF
stations across the country, often in markets where these were the first or
second UHF stations, we learned that it was and still is, very difficult to
establish a base of OTA UHF viewers.

Many OTA viewers often believed that any channel number higher than 13 was a
cable channel and was unavailable OTA. In attempts to overcome this viewing
problem we established educational mailers that included an uhf bowtie
antenna and number to call for additional information or help. Hundreds of
thousands of these packages were mailed over the years and were marginally
successful.

As UHF stations became more common and also improved their programming,
carrying Fox and other networks, OTA viewer ship did improve. However, it
was the major cable system build out and the must carry rules that made this
a viable service in the traditional VHF markets.

This is very long winded but my short answer is that many OTA viewers,
particularly those in metropolitan areas, do not make an effort to receive
UHF. DTV reception will be a problem for this group and most often, not
because of inadequate DTV signals. This but one of the reasons that many VHF
stations chose to remain in the VHF band for DTV.

Dale

> -----Original Message-----
> From: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Manfredi, Albert E
> Sent: Friday, November 21, 2008 1:10 PM
> To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [opendtv]
>
>
> "'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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