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Honest Mistake Or Portent Of Things To Come?


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20 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 11:39 AM

Last month I started a thread entitled "Thank You DirecTV! :)." In that thread, on the 1 year anniversary of DirecTV adding them, I thanked DirecTV for finally adding LiL in my market.

In that thread, I also stated that my LiL lineup had seen some unfortunate changes since their start. Those changes were due to the fact that when DirecTV launched our locals, they imported a CW and ABC affiliate from Jacksonville, FL into our locals... allowing us to have the "Big Five" networks in HD (once our CBS launched a couple of months later) as well as PBS in HD. Earlier this year, DirecTV replaced our imported CW-HD with a CW SD feed from a newly launched sub-channel from our "sorta" local CBS affiliate. Though I had been warned this would happen, I was considerably upset because I watch a lot of CW programming, and it's the only network that I am unable to get in HD via either OTA or DirecTV. I just received the Blu-ray editions of "The Vampire Diaries" and "Nikita" in the mail today to enable me to finish the seasons after I stopped watching once I could no longer watch it in HD. A few months later, well... read this quote from the above linked thread:


  • Earlier this year, our local NBC affiliate (WALB) gained a second affiliation with ABC, and in April, launched the network affiliate on their sub-channel (previously broadcasting THIS-TV... which thankfully ceased broadcasting instead of being switched to a second sub-channel like originally announced). On May 4th, DirecTV replaced WJXX (ABC-HD from Jacksonville, FL) with WALB-DT2 (or ABC as it's listed on DirecTV receivers) to our local channels. Unfortunately, it's SD only. Though WALB-DT2 is broadcasting the channel OTA in SD, WALB is offering an HD feed to cablecos and satcos. Mediacom currently carries the HD feed, and Dish Network has stated that it will carry the HD feed, but it may be next year before they do. To make matters worse, not only is DirecTV carrying the feed in SD only, it's "S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G" the feed. It looks HORRIBLE!! All my Series Links have been switched to ABC-HD East (channel #396).


As I stated, the ABC thing was no big deal to me. Not only can I receive ABC in HD OTA from 2 neighboring markets, I can receive ABC HD-DNS from DirecTV, so unlike the deal with The CW, I can deal with it. I'm sure there are some here who do not have an antenna and AM21, so I feel bad for them, but I figure it's only a matter of time before DirecTV adds our ABC affiliate in HD. Rumor has it that they're already uplinking the HD feed (and not the SD feed), and with the recent removal of PBS from our spot-beam due to DirecTV remapping a neighboring market's PBS (which has unfortunately left the channel with no program guide data), there should be plenty of spot-beam room to add it.

HOWEVER (and this is the reason for this post)...

... DirecTV is now S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G ALL the SD channels in my market. Granted, of the 7 local channels offered in our market, we only have 3 SD feeds, and I have ABC HD-DNS and CW SD-DNS to get around them, and I rarely watch our local IND station, but it still SUCKS. :mad:

My HOPE is that this is simply an encoding error, and NOT a new policy to make SD channels appear like HD channels, BUT after months of ABC in "S-T-R-E-T-C-H-O-V-I-S-I-O-N" and the other channels just recently joining the club, I have to wonder...

~Alan

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#2 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 11:55 AM

Are you sure it's not the locals causing this? I was under the impression that DirecTV does that based on the locals telling them how thaw want their channels broadcast.

#3 OFFLINE   litzdog911

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 12:02 PM

Yeah, the local stations get to decide how they want DirecTV to deliver their SD feeds. Best to contact the local stations directly.

And you're sure it's not a setting on your TV or DirecTV Receiver? What happens when you cycle the DirecTV remote's FORMAT button?
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#4 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 01:35 PM

Are you sure it's not the locals causing this? I was under the impression that DirecTV does that based on the locals telling them how thaw want their channels broadcast.


I don't technically know WHO is causing this.

I can receive WALB-DT2 (ABC) OTA, and they are broadcasting in the correct aspect ratio. WALB-DT2 (ABC) is airing in the correct aspect ratio on Dish Network.

It's possible that DirecTV is taking the HD feed (that's not available OTA), in which case, I can't comment on how it looks other than the fact that WALB does not stretch their primary NBC feed.

As for The CW station with the problem? Well, WSWG doesn't actually offer a signal to Albany, and since I'm even farther away from WSWG than Albany is, I can't receive WSWG at all in order to check WSWG-DT3 (CW).

I can receive WSST at night (I'm having trouble checking it out right now... then again, it was even off DirecTV this morning due to technical difficulties). I'll check it out later...

NOW... I am aware that just because a station looks one way OTA or on Dish Network does not mean it's still not the station's fault. Unlike ABC, WSST and WSWG-DT3 started off on DirecTV in the proper aspect ratio..., but It's VERY possible that after DirecTV added ABC in "S-T-R-E-T-C-H-O-V-I-S-I-O-N," the stations thought to themselves, "Hey, we love how WALB's on-air talent looks fat, let's call DirecTV and get them to make our on-air talent look fat as well."

Yeah, the local stations get to decide how they want DirecTV to deliver their SD feeds. Best to contact the local stations directly.

And you're sure it's not a setting on your TV or DirecTV Receiver? What happens when you cycle the DirecTV remote's FORMAT button?


I can't contact one of the stations... it's possible I can't contact the other as well, but I can probably contact WALB-DT2 (ABC). I have been the last couple of years anyway...

Yes, I'm sure it's not a setting on my TV. All MPEG2 SD and NATIONAL MPEG4 SD feeds show correctly. It's strictly my local MPEG4 SD feeds. They show in 16:9 "S-T-R-E-T-C-H-O-V-I-S-I-O-N" on 16x9 TVs, and letterbox on SD 4:3 TVs (well, when you have the channels set to display in their correct AR).

As for hitting the remote's FORMAT button, the FORMAT button changes NOTHING on my HDTV, nor does the TV's format button (not called that, but you know what I mean). When hitting it on a 4:3 SDTV, you can change it from letterbox "S-T-R-E-T-C-H-O-V-I-S-I-O-N" to a 4:3 signal... which I believe is still stretched, but it's less noticeable.

~Alan

#5 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 09:53 AM

So...

I verified that WSST is NOT "S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G" their signal via OTA.

I also contacted both WALB (ABC) and WSWG (CW sub-channel) yesterday, and received an E-mail from WALB within hours. Mainly, I was told to call and request WALB-DT2 (ABC) in HD from DirecTV... as well as the answer to an unrelated question I asked. I wrote back and received confirmation this morning. WALB did not request DirecTV to do anything to their signal... :mad:

I still haven't heard back from WSWG, and I question whether I will at all.

~Alan

#6 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 11:06 AM

I still haven't heard back from WSWG, and I question whether I will at all.


Correction... I just did! :)

I got verification from him that the signal should be 4:3... and he hypothesized it might be something wrong with my settings. It is not... :mad:

~Alan

#7 OFFLINE   SPACEMAKER

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 02:52 PM

Hopefully this is just an oversight somewhere and will be fixed. S-T-R-E-T-C-H-O-V-I-S-I-O-N is worse than killing puppies.

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#8 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 02:59 PM

Hopefully this is just an oversight somewhere and will be fixed. S-T-R-E-T-C-H-O-V-I-S-I-O-N is worse than killing puppies.


Well, ABC has been S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D since it launched in April... and WSWG-DT3 and WSST just started that way.

I'm going to call DirecTV about it this week and HOPE that maybe something will be done about it. After my experiences reporting problems with locals last year, I'm not hopeful for a fast fix.

I'll probably contact them about our PBS too (no guide data for the last few weeks).

~Alan

#9 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 01:50 PM

I'm going to call DirecTV about it this week and HOPE that maybe something will be done about it. After my experiences reporting problems with locals last year, I'm not hopeful for a fast fix.

I'll probably contact them about our PBS too (no guide data for the last few weeks).



I just got off the phone with DirecTV. I was dreading it, but I did it.

He sent in a report about GPB (PBS) not having guide data...

Unfortunately, when it came to ABC, CW, and our IND station, he said that there isn't much DirecTV can do about it. He sympathized with me, and he noted it in the PBS report, but he said that DirecTV only broadcasts what they are given. I explained to him that two of the stations have stated that they are not doing anything to the signal, and he hypothesized that perhaps the issue is that an amplifier or booster to the signal is causing the problem.

Sigh... :mad:

~Alan

#10 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 01:19 PM

I sent in an E-mail to my local ABC and CW affiliates. I didn't bother with our IND station since they don't have E-mail, their website is down, and don't get me started on the problems associated with that station.

I haven't heard back from my CW station, but the ABC affiliate forwarded me a note from engineering that said they send a 4:3 image to DirecTV, and that the DirecTV signal looks fine on their end. I explained that the problem was not the formatting set on my TV/STB, and that others in this area are experiencing the same thing. I have been invited to their studio to check out their feed, but it will probably be next week until I am able as I'm dealing with my bad knee acting up...

As for my thread title, this market is not the only one experiencing this problem apparently, so I hope it isn't a portent... :mad:

~Alan

Edited by Alan Gordon, 15 September 2011 - 03:30 PM.


#11 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 04:50 PM

If I'm told one FREAKING more time that there are settings on my TV and STB causing the issue, I may scream. :flaiming

~Alan

#12 OFFLINE   RobertE

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 04:55 PM

What is the Screen Format set to on your receiver?
What is the Screen Format set to on your TV?
Have an Error or Diagnostic code? Find out what it means and how to fix it here: Click Me
Having issues with your HD locals? Report them here: Click Me
Is your receiver compatible with MRV? Check Here

#13 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 05:06 PM

What is the Screen Format set to on your receiver?
What is the Screen Format set to on your TV?


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No matter what settings you change either to, the image still fills up the widescreen TV. I can set my DirecTV receiver as being hooked up to a 4:3 TV and the image can be changed.... but it'd be a pain in the butt to do that for three channels which I will rarely watch.

On a 4:3 TV, I have the channels in their original aspect ratio (HD channels letterboxed, SD channels filling up the screen), except for these three channels that appear letterboxed (as if they were HD channels)... though at least on a 4:3 TV, it appears that you can use the "Original" format or "Stretch" format to make it fit... though it still looks off somewhat.

~Alan

#14 OFFLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 06:38 PM

Yeah ...

I was about to suggest that if the stretching was linear, placing your TV setting on 4:3 when viewing those particular channels might effectively reverse it.

But reading your comments about how it still looks off after manipulating the image on an SDTV tells me that the stretching is asymmetrical, so there's no way to totally remove it by simply squeezing it back to 4:3.

#15 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 07:29 PM

Yeah ...

I was about to suggest that if the stretching was linear, placing your TV setting on 4:3 when viewing those particular channels might effectively reverse it.

But reading your comments about how it still looks off after manipulating the image on an SDTV tells me that the stretching is asymmetrical, so there's no way to totally remove it by simply squeezing it back to 4:3.


It's OK...

I have ABC HD-DNS, and ABC in HD OTA from two markets, so until DirecTV converts the local ABC to an HD feed, I have no problem with the picture being stretched because I'm probably not going to watch it anyway.

I also have CW DNS from DC and San Diego... which is sadly also in SD, but at least they're not stretched, and their channel bugs don't take up 25% of the picture.

I rarely watch programming on the IND station...


One issue here is that there is something wrong with these three stations, and I'm simply trying to get them straightened out, but everybody seems to think it's a problem my end. :mad:

The other issue here is that ever since my locals have launched, there's been one problem after another... heck, we're probably going on close to a month now of PBS not having any guide data. :mad:

~Alan

Edited by Alan Gordon, 16 September 2011 - 08:33 PM.
Noticed a few mistakes...


#16 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 10:16 PM

Alan, Are the settings right on your TV?








:P j/k :D
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#17 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 09:51 AM

Alan, Are the settings right on your TV?








:P j/k :D



I was wondering how long it would take until some knucklehead made a joke. Since I think RobertE's question was serious, it looks like you win! ;) :rolleyes:

~Alan

#18 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 10:02 AM

Sorry. :) Wide hole, Mack truck thing. Couldn't resist.
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#19 OFFLINE   ThomasM

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 05:38 PM

The LIL channels in Milwaukee are sent out on the 101 in "cropped" mode so older TV's display the picture with no bars with two exceptions.

FOX and PBS. I remember reading that FOX demanded that their local affiliates order cable and satellite providers to display their SD signal with black bars at the top and bottom. I'm not sure about PBS but knowing the goofballs that run the local PBS affiliate it figures that their picture is a tiny postage stamp with black bars on all four sides.

Back to FOX, it's interesting that this "black bars squash-o-vision" picture only occurs when FOX network programming is on. All local origination programming is in 4:3 with no bars.

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#20 OFFLINE   Alan Gordon

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:48 PM

I have been invited to their studio to check out their feed, but it will probably be next week until I am able as I'm dealing with my bad knee acting up...


I wasn't feeling well last week, so I didn't get a chance to head to their studio, so no update on getting that issue fixed, but on a somewhat off-topic post...

... I almost laughed when I noticed last week that my FOX affiliate is now sending out all their non-network programming in "S-T-R-E-T-C-H-O-V-I-S-I-O-N."

Unlike our ABC, CW affiliates, and our IND station, the FOX affiliate is doing this on their OTA feed, so it's not a DirecTV issue. :mad:

EDIT: WFXL (FOX) is no longer stretching the image on DirecTV or OTA.

~Alan

Edited by Alan Gordon, 03 October 2011 - 01:01 PM.





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