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Digital in Denver: View of Things to Come

Discussion in 'Local Reception' started by BillRadio, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. BillRadio

    BillRadio Legend

    Aug 5, 2004
    When 3 of top 5 stations in Denver (KUSA/NBC, KMGH/ABC, KTVD/My) dropped their analog April 16th, by far the biggest problem is with converters and receivers that do not re-scan properly. A recent article shares the frustration of many viewers, myself among them. I too had to delete old channels before the converters would access the new channels, and in converters that do not allow channel-by-channel changes, you had to figure out how to completely re-set the receiver.

    The far bigger question is why the ABC & NBC affiliates did not retain their UHF assignments? They had excellent channels, 16 & 17, but chose to return to their old VHF assignments, 7 and 9, at a 7 to 10db power reduction. The other UHF channels are working great, even in challenged locations. But for viewers who needed only rabbit ears now need to go to outdoor antennas makes me question the wisdom of these stations. One chief engineer told me, "we can use our channel 20 signal for Mobile TV, we didn't need 2 UHF channels."

    Expect the big re-scan issue to be the June 12th bugaboo nationally.
  2. samhevener

    samhevener Godfather

    Feb 23, 2006
    I agree with you 100%, Bill. Just look at the major problem Dish is having with users inserting a purple card in a slot. So much of a problem that the new encryption system has been delayed. If inserting a card in a slot is a major problem just think how much of a problem reprogramming a converter box will be.
  3. Jim5506

    Jim5506 Hall Of Fame

    Jun 7, 2004
    When you get down to that last 5% on the left side of the bell curve, this is to be expected.
  4. ziggy29

    ziggy29 Icon

    Nov 18, 2004
    San Antonio DMA
    I can think of two reasons. For one, if they have historically been "Channel 7" and "Channel 9," they may want to keep those RF assignments. The other reason -- and probably the main one -- is simply economics. To cover roughly the same area it often costs more than 20 times as much to power UHF as VHF.

    Looked at another way, if electricity cost 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, the difference between full power UHF (often at one megawatt) and full power VHF (say 50 kilowatts or so) is the difference between $100 per hour and $5 per hour in the cost to power the tower. Multiply that by the number of hours in a month or in a year and you have a pretty serious cost savings.

    I'm sure this is why many of the stations who are dropping their high VHF analog signals are moving their digital signals to those frequencies.
  5. jacksonm30354

    jacksonm30354 Icon

    Mar 29, 2007
    I don't follow that station engineer's statement. They don't get to keep the old digtal channel. If they go from 20 to 9, they have to give up Ch. 20.
  6. Jim5506

    Jim5506 Hall Of Fame

    Jun 7, 2004
    Unused channels in are used for wireless microphones, TV station relay and other low power applications, those empty channels really aren't empty.

    This is very irritating to DXers.
  7. n3ntj

    n3ntj Hall Of Fame

    Dec 18, 2006
    If a channel has branded themselves as "ABC7" and then goes digital and moves to UHF channel 19, I believe the FCC still requires them to use the "ABC7" moniker, as to help prevent confusion to some people.
  8. phox_mulder

    phox_mulder Legend

    Nov 1, 2007
    PSIP will take care of mapping them back to channel 7.
    Most of the viewers won't even know they are now on channel 19.

    Even if the FCC doesn't require it, stations aren't going to change their "brand" to their new channel.
    That would confuse the viewers who have known them as ABC7 for 40 years.

    One around here started branding themselves as ABC4-Digital40 when digital first started happening.
    They've since dropped the Digital40 as viewers were very confused, and just stayed with ABC4, even though they are on channel 40.

  9. BillRadio

    BillRadio Legend

    Aug 5, 2004
    I should have been more clear about that. The Gannet Company owns 2 stations in the market, ch. 9 (NBC) and ch.20 (MY Network). They felt the ch. 20 signal (now on ch. 19), was perfect for mobile TV and didn't need 2 UHF signals.

    Ziggy29, I like your thinking. Energy savings was exactly why they turned off Ch. 20's analog early. Since they didn't need to cut the analog to start using digital on their final channel, energy would be the only compelling reason. I'm sure the other stations in the market who remain on analog are thinking they will gain some viewers who won't or can't switch to digital, and will stay with what's left...justifying the additional electric bill.

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