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Digital Test Within Test Area

Discussion in 'Local Reception' started by Dave, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. Dave

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    It would seem that the FCC is going to have its hands full of complaints in Feb. 2009. The test area in Wilmington, N.C. has received over 1800 complaints already. It would seem that the VHS Digital signal doesn't do to good going thru walls and trees and such for people to use rabbit ears in there house anymore. There will have to be major legislation probably to work out the kinks in this new system. Also Digital is not as far reaching as analog signals. Also remember the FCC said there will be no difference in the signal quality or receiving it than there is with the analog signal. So whats next?? Buy everyone a new antenna and mast to get the signal to there homes? It should be real interesting come February 2009. They are estimating that 13+ million people still have rabbit ears or a antenna to one or more TV's in there house.:nono2: :nono2: :nono2:
     
  2. FTA Michael

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  3. ziggy29

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    To some degree, it depends on your definition of "harmed."

    Consider someone who doesn't use OTA now, but is in an area where they could get analog OTA but not digital. If they already use cable or satellite, some may argue they are not "harmed" by not getting OTA, but I tend to think otherwise.

    Anyone who can not receive OTA has lost one option as a consumer. If cable/satellite starts jerking someone around badly and they have the ability to receive OTA, they have more of an option to dump them than if they don't have OTA as a fall-back option. Or if someone in this group suffers a job loss or other financial hardship which means they can't afford to pay cable/satellite any more...they have nothing. And it's not like many people will lose their jobs in the coming months in this economy... :sure:

    So I guess I'd break up "harmed" into two categories: directly harmed and potentially harmed. The latter are those who currently receive broadcast TV from paid, non-OTA sources but also have OTA as an option. It may be true that the percentage of "directly harmed" is close to what the FCC claims but I suspect the percentage of "potentially harmed" is considerably higher.
     
  4. Scott in FL

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    Mar 18, 2008
    And then there are some examples that work very well, and digital is a welcome change...

    Example 1: Frederick, MD. Analog OTA was out of the question requiring tall towers and a large VHF antenna. My daughter received excellent digital reception with a $20 Insignia converter (after the coupon), a CM4221 UHF antenna and homebrew preamp.

    Example 2: Following her move to Warriors Mark, PA (in the mountains of central PA) she now receives excellent reception with the same kit mentioned above. PBS, NBC, Fox, ABC and CBS. All for free.

    Example 3: Here in FL with a small UHF antenna I get excellent reception with a little Antennacraft AC9 antenna mounted under the eaves of my house. All in HD, all for free.

    I think the transition is great. And good for the environment with the lower transmitter power consumption! :)
     
  5. Kansas Zephyr

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    You must remember that after Feb 17, 2009 most stations that were analog on VHF Hi (7-13), not VHS Dave, will return to those channels with their digital signals.

    Some of those are currently running "temporary" digital signals on UHF, that have a smaller effective contour, compared to their analog signal. Or, are not running their post transition full-power level.

    Once they return to their former RF channels and power levels, after the analog cut-off, the reception issue will go away.

    If you can get a usable analog signal now, then you will get a usable digital signal later, on the same RF channel, transmitting the same power. Dave, again, RF signal penetration is the same regardless if it carries digital or analog information. The effective range of the usable signal is solely based on frequency, power, and height of the transmitting antenna. UHF TV signals need more power to cover the same area as VHF. So, most of the problem is inherent when UHF is compared to VHF, not analog versus digital.

    In WECT's case, in Wilmington, they are currently running digital on RF 44 at 98kw. They are licensed for 575kw, and have applied for 710kw.
     
  6. Dave

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    It would appear that the FCC has been listening to the public complaints. Jonathan Adelstein of the FCC committee is calling for more testing of the new DTV system in the test areas. Allthough I am all for going completely Digital it will have to be a requirement for all local stations be available to the masses of that area. If a person is 75 or 80 and can turn there TV on right now with just rabbit ears, and that changes in Feb 2009, that they can not get those local stations the next morning. Then the FEDS have blown it big time, and so have the locals. They, the FEDS need to make sure this program is in place. The FED directives has stated for years. Free over the air channels for everyone. It does not state if you buy a add on box, or you have a add on converter box. Yes I know the government is offering free coupons to cover some of the cost for the add on converter boxes. But what happens if the older person can not afford even the extra $ 15 or $ 20 needed for some if not most of the boxes. Also older individuals are not going to shell out all the extra funds for cable, satelitte or whatever if they are set in there ways. So yes more testing may be needed and a program needs to be in place to help the older Americans receive this entertainment. For some it is the only entertainment they receive and it is vital to them. They say it is going to effect 13+ million homes. If one of these is a family member of yours and you are 1000 miles away who is going to help them?
     
  7. Kansas Zephyr

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    Newer TVs have digital tuners, and don't need a converter box.

    "Free" TV is free to receive, IF you purchase the equipment, and IF you can get a usable signal. The entire nation isn't, and has never been, completely covered by usable over-the-air TV signals for every citizen. It's always been THAT way.

    With any major transition there will be problems. Time will work most of them out.

    The vast majority of us will have better OTA reception, thanks to digital, after the kinks are worked out.

    If I have a family member 1000 miles away, that needs one...I'll mail them a converter box, and help them set it up over the phone.

    Full power analog TV will end midnight February 18, 2009. Some people will be "in the dark". Regrettable, yes. But, anything this big can't be 100% foolproof. The 13 million using rabbit ears or antenna you quote is only 4% of the population, and most of those are, or will be able to get usable digital signals.
     
  8. BillRadio

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    This is not necessarily so. As an example, the NBC affiliate in Denver will be dropping from 216kw analog to 29kw digital, on VHF channel 9. This is to allow a closer adjacent channel station (10) to operate in Colorado Springs, and even then, the 2 stations needed to agree on an area of expected interference at that power level.

    I live in a "challenged" urban location and added a UHF-only outdoor antenna, thinking it would receive the 2 VHF stations after transition. Most likely it will not as I can barely receive the analog signal at 216kw.

    While I agree the transition is a good thing and won't be as big a problem as many fear, even educated users like myself are in for some surprises.
     
  9. Scott in FL

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    The reason the power level for the digital will be only 29 kW is because digital signals require less power than analog. The difference is about 10 dB, assuming the same frequency (channel).

    Digital signals will work much better under adjacent channel conditions than analog. There are side-by-side (adjacent) channels in the same market, for example 66 and 67 in Philadelphia. Also 26 and 27.
     
  10. n3ntj

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    But who wants to watch channels 66 or 67 from Philly? ;)
     
  11. From The Fray To The Grav

    From The Fray To The Grav New Member

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    I have heard about so many problems with people not getting signals. The transition is definately going to happen prematurely as we are not ready for it. It is clear we are not. They should have been running tests in areas 2-3 years before the actual transition occurred so that they could actually have time to fix problems.
     
  12. paulman182

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    In this area the digital stations have been on the air for at least a couple of years. Viewers have had a long time to figure out how to pick them up.
     
  13. Kansas Zephyr

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    It doesn't matter if the transition is 5 months, or 5 years, from now. There are going to be some, a small minority, that fall through the cracks.

    I think it's better to rip off the band-aid sooner, than later. This will allow full-power local stations to operate, improve, and maintain a single signal, focusing their efforts.

    This will help work the bugs out faster.

    If the real-world contours don't match expectations, the FCC will allow power increases. Until everyone is forced over, we'll never know the full extent of what needs to be done.
     
  14. BillRadio

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    Yes, that 10db difference is enough to force me to add another antenna for the 2 VHF stations, and I should since they are the NBC & ABC stations.

    I agree totally with KC Zephyr. The deadline does not matter, most of us will wait until the last minute to change, no matter what the date. Consumers will "adjust" and so will TV stations, including channel changes.

    I see the "numbering" situation becoming a marketing headache. After spending millions promoting "News4", which will really be on channel 35, will they eventually change to "News35"? Also, if the VHF stations see a reversal of preference, people may only want a UHF antenna, will they covet their temporary UHF channel? And if many stations abandon VHF, will the FCC say get 'em all off VHF and use it for something else? There will be more channel moves, and the stations will probably be glad they have PSIP. But the whole idea of "channels" is an arbitrary label as it is.
     
  15. scooper

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    The Marketing thing ? - Already taken care - if you would happen to read the ATSC specs and the FCC regs.

    A station that formerly had an analog assignment will always have to be known as that analog channel number - and if the station is doing digital correctly - that's what they show as. Doesn't matter what "real" RF channel they are transmistting on - their virtual channel will always be what their analog channel was.

    there are rules in place for new stations as well.
     
  16. n3ntj

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    This makes perfect sense.. stick with the current 'channel name' (ie, News4)... anything less would screw with most of the uneducated population who would say "what the heck does PSIP mean?" :lol:
     
  17. Kansas Zephyr

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    No.

    Most stations will choose to do so, but are not required to.

    Some stations have decided to adopt their new RF slot as their virtual channel, too.
     
  18. scooper

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    You might want to check on that - the vast majority WILL be using their old analog assignment as their virtual channel. There will even be a few where their RF and virtual channels are the same (in the cases where the station is going back to it's old RF assignment). I do believe it was a requirement with a few exceptions.
     
  19. Kansas Zephyr

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    Yes, most will. (...as I said before)

    But, no they are not required to.

    The stations can choose to use either their final digital RF or analog legacy channel number for the virtual.

    Feel free to contact a chief engineer and ask.
     
  20. Jim5506

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    Virtual channels should have been ONLY for the transition period. Continuing them after the change is made unnecessarily leaves confusion in the system.
     

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