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Attn: D* Broadcast Operations Center...any D* engineers lurking here?!

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by dubber deux, Apr 26, 2009.

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  1. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009
    Update: 5/10/09

    Received a phone message from "Jessica" at D* in response to my e mail to the "office of the President" this morning, unfortunately I wasn't available to speak to her, and she left a short voice mail indicating that they recived my query about incorrect video levels and that I should call her back.

    I will contact her sometime this week and update when possible.
     
  2. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009
    Just put a call into Jessica at the Customer Advocate Team office. She was professional and pleasant. She stated that she did review my e mail and forwarded the information to LABC Broadcast Operations Center. She did mention that she personally viewed the channels I mentioned and claims that she noticed no problems, but then again we are pretty picky here and also have very good eyes for a quality picture. She didn't specifically state that she had viewed HD or SD but I am assuming she was talking about the SD pic as I mentioned in the e mail.

    I know that there are issues at some place in the feed pipeline and others here have confirmed what I am seeing about the channels. I have a perfectly calibrated SD TV and I took the set to various places and connected to several providers and indeed at least with my D* SD there is definitely some issues. Especially with C SPAN 2, QVC, and Chiller, the others are less noticable yet with a good eye you can clearly see some kind of defect with levels.

    At least she replied in a timely manner and was pleasant about it. Hopefully I will hear from someone at LABC BOC, if not, I will find a way to directly contact them. I really wanted to go through the "chain of command" and give them every opportunity to rectify this in their own way since they do have some sort of system for resolving special issues.
     
  3. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009
  4. tcusta00

    tcusta00 Active Member

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    Dec 31, 2007
    Do you think that maybe the video engineers that DirecTV employs do calibrate the picture for best appearance on a large population (30-50 million is my best guess based on 20 million subs) of televisions across their subscriber base? I understand that you think that there's an issue and a couple other people have reported it as well.

    Anyway, you're free to speak your peace and beat your drum over it, but your best bet would probably be to heed RobertE's advice above. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em (so-to-speak).
     
  5. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009


    Of course you forgot to add that with the exception of these channels give or take one or two I and others have NO complaints or issues at all with their quality.

    Recalibrating the levels for a small number of SD channels is a small, and quick job that is VERY easy to do in all likelyhood. I've done this same thing at the network affiliate I used to work for.

    As a matter of fact I recently contacted my local Fox affiliate in Greenville, SC, and informed the Chief Engineer about their improper video levels, the picture had a lot of the same issues I am speaking of with the D* channels. Amazingly it was corrected in quick fashion, and he thanked for me informing him of their out of NTSC standards calibration. Wanna see the e mail? I'm sure while many viewers just shrugged it off and grumbled about it, (as many did on the AVS Forums thread) I wanted to help them and myself.

    I don't see why they wouldn't do it. Easy, quick, cheap, and free unless BOC tech is paid on a work order basis and even then it would be a cheap job to complete. Plus, they can continue to advertise customer satisfaction. :lol


    I am doing what needs to be done. You have heard about unhappy annoyed customers and how most never speak up, that just groan and moan to themselves and eventually take their business elsewhere. I am doing them a small favor.

    Bottom line, if there is a small problem that can be resolved easily and cheaply, and it helps to satisfy more customers and increase quality, it needs to be attended to.

    It's really a no brainer.
     
  6. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    It's been almost a week since the customer advocate team member Jessica siad she would forward my comments about SD channels with issues to BOC (LABC)

    I figure that it might take up to a month or possibly longer before a service work order for a non critical adjustment to video levels could be carried out. They might put such work in a queue.
     
  7. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009
    I'm going to give them another couple of weeks to allow for any changes they might make. If I don't see any improvement, especially with C SPAN 2 I will be using some internal contacts directly at BOC.
     
  8. tcusta00

    tcusta00 Active Member

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    Dec 31, 2007
    If you have internal contacts why are you wasting time here? :confused:
     
  9. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009
    I should have been able to get this simple issue resolved via the customer advocate team. The fact that I couldn't is a FAIL for D* customer service.

    Just received some via PMs that I didn't know I had.

    Why so testy?

    BTW the smoking gun concerning C SPAN click here:

    http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=154504
     
  10. tcusta00

    tcusta00 Active Member

    7,911
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    Dec 31, 2007
    Not testy at all, just very, very confused by what you're saying. You've been posting anonymously about this "issue" for months stating that you've been in contact with multiple CSRs and Ellen Filipiak's office to fix it and now you're coming out with the trump card: you have a contact in the very office that can fix this issue. That's confusing.
     
  11. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009
    I was just trying to let D* chain of command do its job before resorting to using internal contacts. You really shouldn't have to resort to inside information to correct a obvious problem that is at their end.
     
  12. tcusta00

    tcusta00 Active Member

    7,911
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    Dec 31, 2007
    I hear ya, but this isn't exactly a run-of-the-mill "I have a 771 message on my screen" issue. Time to call your internal contacts that can fix this right away. Your experiment has proven that complex video levels issues can't be fixed by the normal chain of command.
     
  13. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009

    It appears so.

    I want to be fair. Most of the SD channels (forgetting about compression, which at least for me doesn't seem to be a problem on most channels)) have very good picture quality overall. Only a small number are plagued by out of spec NTSC/ATSC video level issues. And while they are annoying the channels are watchable, but there is no reason why not to adjust to spec when the process is cheap, quick, and easy to do!

    If you have expericence with TV engineering you know that having good vid levels is critical to a quality picture, and small adjustments can make a world of difference.

    :)
     
  14. macEarl

    macEarl Godfather

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    I, for one, appreciate your efforts.

    Odd that you don't find SD compression an issue. I watched Band of Brothers on SD when it first came out, and could even zoom the screen in with more than acceptable results. Rebroadcast yesterday on History SD and the compression was atrocious - forget zoom (now Crop). Have sent letters to various programmers and DirecTV on this issue - both sides just point fingers. (And I won't even start on how horizontally stretching letterbox and calling it HD is nothing less than an unacceptable distortion. Evidently, this goes on because people either watch with their egos instead of their eyes, or like me, have written to the suppliers so often - with no results - and have just given up and lied down. (Only alternative is to set those shows into 4:3 on the TV, get the "HD" in letterbox - basically the same broadcast quality I received two D* acquisitions ago - in SD.))

    Sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, D* serves the lowest common denominator. The red flag for me was that when you did finally talk to a cognizant human, the first comment you got was that those stations looked good to her.

    I, too, have worked in TV broadcasting - and that was over 25 years ago. You aren't asking for much - that's my second second opinion, if anyone cares. Thanks for you labors and efforts.
     
  15. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009
    macEarl....

    Thanks for your support, I'm please to see that other broadcast engineer associated folks are agreeing with me on this service adjustment that should be carried out to bring the video up to standard.

    I recently had to make the same request (video levels way off NTSC specs) of my local FOX affiliate here in Greenville, SC. The station Chief Engineer was prompt in the corrections and his reply to my request. I made sure to mention that most viewers don't know how to approach a program provider or broadcast station about such issues even though many viewers see exactly what I see and are dissatisfied as well. These problems can and, DO often times chase viewers off from watching MORE of a specific providers offerings which in the long run cost them ratings and ad revenue as well.

    It is hard to believe that D* doesn't have a schedule for checking such items? At all the outlets I worked for they did. Although in theory electronic controls should be reliable most of the time things happen (age, other maintenance, upgrades, ect) which will require things like this to be recalibrated from time to time. It should be part of normal maintenance.

    Regarding compression....

    I CAN see what you are talking about on quite a few channels (artifacting/blocking/softened focus due to down res) on some of the nat'l channels and locals as well, BUT I also take into consideration the total bandwidth space available, the cost of my service, and yes the metric that D* uses to declare that a certain resolution in SD is "acceptable" to the general subscribership.

    Do I agree with their choices, not in all cases. I definitely think that D* should eliminate some of the infomercial channels and make sure to keep "legacy" channels like History, Discovery, Science, TLC, CNN, Animal Planet, and quite a few others to NEAR DVD quality since not only is the content geared to having decent resolution but viewers will watch LESS if the quality drops below a certain level.

    I will be very persistant when it comes to correcting video levels since there is NO excuse for not occassionally recalibrating them . It is part of normal operations at a well managed outlet, and it makes good business sense to have the best picture possible.
     
  16. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009
    I have sent an e mail to the broadcast operation manager regarding the video levels issue.

    Will let all know what the response is ASAP.
     
  17. macEarl

    macEarl Godfather

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    Jan 1, 2007
    You know - you just made me think. How hard would it be for D*, Dish and Comcast to get together and force as an affiliate program the requirement that all stations do simple cals on a regular schedule in order to maintain their distribution with those providers? And then how hard to ensure that they themselves follow a regular cal schedule. Not hard, really.

    Regarding compression - maybe when put up #12 in September, they'll transition and distribute their channels and lighten up on the compression. Things like TCM may never be able to afford HD encoding for their vast movie library, but nothing's stopping D* from taking their SD content and sending it out via an HD upconversion - it's not like we're watching true HD anyway.
     
  18. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    What I find most interesting about this thread is....well...that it exists at all.
     
  19. dubber deux

    dubber deux Icon

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    Mar 7, 2009
    In what context? Care to enlighten us?
     
  20. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    I understand your thinking, but its not the way to go in a situation like this. You are "complaining" about somethign that is not in the scope of anyone that isn't a super technical person, and therefor you are wasting your's and others time and energy... If there is a real technical issue at this level, then it should be brought strait to the people in charge of it.. All anyone else could do is try and forward your issue along till it got to the right person...

    Also, I too agree with Micro's point..
     
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