PBS ideas?

Bob Rice, KG4RRN kg4rrn at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 17 09:07:29 CDT 2009

Hello Mr Stratton,
I did some testing of DTV down in Stafford County this past week, using 2 regular TV antenna and Magnavox DTV converter.
Channels 5, 26, and 22 nowhere to be found, so no signal penetrates that far south...
Maybe an amplifier box is in order.Was switching between two regular TV antennas one rooftop and one basement-the basement one picked up more stations..
I found something interesting too, there seems to be a limited range area with Ch 5 and 20,
not to mention 22 which is located over in Owings Mills Md. I believe they are broadcasting DTV low power, which would explain why you are not getting that 'channel'
It also seems that the commercial content was meager at best on most of the other former VHF frequencies, and they are now converting most of their analog commercials to Digital .
I also noticed that the sound levels still are not 'level' across the DTV spectrum as some stations do not average audio leveling, and one station comes in with low volume, while the next is blasting out the TV speaker.
Being a AV Technician, by trade, I thought maybe that two problems here need to be addressed.
Since there really is no such thing as CHANNELS anymore, and the other UHF stations which switched to digital are either call letters or fancy made up monikers of three letters,
A national panel needs to be made up, to probe the state of current DTV networks, and come up with an alternative marking station ID system for their stations, and definitely the audio situation needs addressing by the FCC and possibly the NAB.
I also found that there is a flurry of now international broadcasts from MHz networks which has up to 10 DTV allocations in then Washington Area, along with Telmundo, a Hispanic network, outpacing English language stations by 3-1 .
If you examine all of the viewable DTV stations now on, I would be inclined to say that the viewable programming is off to a shaky start, and that the stations are scrambling to fill in programming. I have also noticed that regular anchors are not on the news or are on "assignment" somewhere.
I also am a Member of cable access Channel 10 in Merrifield (Fairfax Public Access) and was formally a Camera Operator/Producer for Herndon Community TV Cable Channel 23 in Herndon (COX).
I also think that some of these stations could be carried in the DTV allocations, but the cable company would never allow that.
Local viewership is also strained by the fact that TV can now be viewed over the internet.
The number one choice of banks,gas stations, and McDonalds for a station is surprizing enough: CNN
It seems that viewer choice is the next battle for DTV in this country and someone needs to get the ball rolling.
I do not like the fact that 4,5,7,9 stations having weather radar on their sub-channels either,
four is the worst with viwable radar image, it is compressed.
 I think the only one which is a close to real time radar is channel 9's WUSA for what that is worth, the other two 4, and 7 are useless, and channel 5 is not much better than 4's.
It is ashame that the American people were not told what to expect when they 'converted' and 50% of the programming is infomercials and reepated commercials which are put on only becasue of contracts and payments that the TV stations are now trying to recoup from the millions spent on digital TV technology, and to support their helicopters and news crews.
Most anyone with a computer/internet/software can now see TV news on their computer now, who needs TV?
As for FREE TV--- now people have really paid up to $60.00 for a converter box, so it really isn't free at all,even with the gov't handout of $20.00 off  but at least we are not in England where thet charge a tax on TV's.Some other shave had to replace their outside antenna and it was a joke to watch one TV reporter running around in an attic with "rabbit ears"
Just my 2 cents...

Bob Rice, KG4RRN - N.V.T.N. ANM/NCS
Notary Public for the Commonwealth of Virginia

--- On Wed, 6/17/09, Robert Stratton <bob at stratton.net> wrote:

From: Robert Stratton <bob at stratton.net>
Subject: Re: PBS TV CH 22 and 32.. GONE.. ideas?
To: "Glenn Baumgartner" <gbaumgartner2 at cox.net>
Cc: tacos at amrad.org
Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 12:44 AM

It is likely because Cox has migrated to Switched Digital Video. It requires the use of their Scientific Atlanta box or the TiVo adapter (if they ever released them), to request the headend to light up the signal you want on an idle frequency. 

SDV allows them to essentially "oversubscribe" the bandwidth available on the wire. Cox is using technology from a company called Bigband Networks. They dropped a bunch of channels for which I was paying and using a Sony HD DVR with a CableCard. When I called and asked if they had lit up SDV, they acted like it was a state secret, so I pointed them to the Cox press release indicating that they were about to start using it. 

PBS is particularly challenging for them because of their decision to multiplex channels. Anything that takes a real (full-time) channel slot seems to be viewed with derision, as they want to cram as much content as they can on their pipe. 

It's tough, the cable companies still seem to be providing (except for Cox's Internet service, which is passable), the worst service for the highest price, but the satellite companies aren't much better if you care about video quality as they overcompress horribly. Cox, for all its advances still hasn't been able in 10 years to get their audio levels to be even remotely consistent across their programming providers, which is sad. 

--Bob S.
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