Approaching DTV Day

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#1
Here's what's happening in my city and what they expect for Friday and the weekend:

Friday TV shift: Will capital get with program?
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By Mark Glover
mglover@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Jun. 11, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1A

Somewhere in the Sacramento area on Friday, someone will turn on their TV and watch … nothing.

The nationwide transition to digital television is here, finally, but despite a four-month delay, nearly 3 million U.S. households still are not ready for the changeover from analog signals. In the Sacramento area, the Nielsen Co. has estimated that more thans 64,000 households are unprepared for digital TV.

On top of that, federal officials said it's likely that millions of Americans will have poor reception, or none at all, once the switch is made.

Even so, the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Commerce and TV stations coast to coast are committed.

"With all that digital television offers to consumers and society, it is essential that all Americans get prepared for the transition," said FCC Chairman Michael Copps.

In the Sacramento area, some consumers who were unprepared when the switch was originally scheduled in February said they are ready for Friday – for better or worse.

"I was one of those who procrastinated and was totally unprepared back in February," said Sacramentan Gary Wilkes. "I got a reprieve, and now I'm ready to go. Now that I have my converter box for my old upstairs TV, I'm actually kind of excited about Friday."

In south Placer County, Melinda Smith was awaiting assistance and hoping for the best.

"I kept fighting it and waiting and wondering why this had to happen, but I finally realized I had no choice and went out and bought the equipment," she said. "My son-in-law is supposed to come over Friday and hook it all up, but I'm really nervous about it."

The logistics of Friday's changeover are complex. It's not a matter of one person throwing a giant switch for the whole country.

The U.S. Commerce Department explained that Friday will involve a "rolling transition," with U.S. stations locking into digital Friday anywhere from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 and 59 seconds that night.

Individual stations, which will make the switch based on local times, had to notify the FCC about their plans, prompting the Commerce Department to draw up a scorecard of scheduled changeover times: 175 stations plan to switch between midnight and 6 a.m., 200 between 6 a.m. and noon, 152 from noon to 6 p.m. and 447 between 6 p.m. and 11:59:59 p.m.

About half of the nation's 1,760 full-power TV stations – mostly in sparsely populated areas – have already cut their analog signals.

Some Sacramento stations will convert as early as 9 a.m. Russell Postell, president and general manager of KXTV (Channel 10) in Sacramento, said his station will switch at the last second.

Before the switch and even during it, KXTV will have on-air help for viewers.

"We're airing a special edition following the news Friday night, from 11:30 to 12:06 (a.m. Saturday), and we'll have information all day on the DTV transition," Postell said. "We'll have seven engineers available at various times of the day, and our phone system will be linked to their (cell) phones to provide people with as much help as possible."

Other local stations said they will likewise beef up in-studio phone banks, online help and special Friday programming to explain the switch and have personnel available to answer questions.

Postell said he's particularly concerned about viewers getting two important messages: antenna positioning and a required "rescanning" once a converter box is installed. On TVs with old "rabbit ears" antennas, a converter box is necessary to convert the analog signal to digital.

Antenna positioning will be key to overcome "ghosting" – a poor screen image caused when a TV signal arrives at the receiver via more than one path – and signals disrupted by topography or obstacles surrounding a household.

Because some digital stations will move to different frequencies on Friday, consumers with converter boxes should rescan to pull in all available stations. This can be done through the converter box set-up menu.
http://www.sacbee.com/topstories/story/1936911.html
 
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Lurker Lee

DTVUSA Member
#3
Individual stations, which will make the switch based on local times, had to notify the FCC about their plans, prompting the Commerce Department to draw up a scorecard of scheduled changeover times: 175 stations plan to switch between midnight and 6 a.m., 200 between 6 a.m. and noon, 152 from noon to 6 p.m. and 447 between 6 p.m. and 11:59:59 p.m.
One of my local channels keeps broadcasting that people should rescan after 12:30PM. So there are going to be a lot of people who come home to non-functioning TVs saying "but it worked this morning". I haven't noticed the announcements on other channels.

What I hadn't considered was that with those various time frames, that could mean that each local channel could switch at a different time, and people may potentially have to rescan multiple times. I bet that's going to cause some confusion. Hopefully they are somewhat coordinated. I just checked my local stations' websites and the big three all seem to be doing it at 12:30.
 
#4
One of my local channels keeps broadcasting that people should rescan after 12:30PM. So there are going to be a lot of people who come home to non-functioning TVs saying "but it worked this morning". I haven't noticed the announcements on other channels.

What I hadn't considered was that with those various time frames, that could mean that each local channel could switch at a different time, and people may potentially have to rescan multiple times. I bet that's going to cause some confusion. Hopefully they are somewhat coordinated. I just checked my local stations' websites and the big three all seem to be doing it at 12:30.
Wonder how many stations are jumping channels or frequencies. No one will know to rescan.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#5
I have a couple of locals here that will turn off at 12:01 am which means they are now 51 minutes away from blowing out the blow torch.
 
#6
For some reason minutes before they shut down analog the channel starts to fade out and looks weaker then it ever did. Then, BOOM!

Secret transition is coming!
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#7
For some reason minutes before they shut down analog the channel starts to fade out and looks weaker then it ever did. Then, BOOM!

Secret transition is coming!
If was an old Klystron UHF or a big tube VHF, they may have turned down the exciter slowly to let the tube cool off before powering it off. So tubes will crack and fail if just shut off.

Then again if it was a fringe station it might have just been a propagation drop.
 

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#8
I 've heard the re-scan advice as well from one of the stations, not sure which. It's probably a good idea. I suppose that because local channels will be changing and upgrading over the coming months that it wouldn't be a bad idea to re-scan occasionally.
 
#9
Tubes? as in Vacuum tubes? where do you live? around here they showed pictures on the news and at least here our locals had computer-driven transmitters and the 'switch' they flipped was the big red button labeled 'To Analog X-mitter' and the lamp went out.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#10
Tubes? as in Vacuum tubes? where do you live? around here they showed pictures on the news and at least here our locals had computer-driven transmitters and the 'switch' they flipped was the big red button labeled 'To Analog X-mitter' and the lamp went out.
Live in Florida. Yes, high power UHF's more than others used tubes to hit those 5 mega watt peaks.

Do you need phone numbers to chief engineers to ask them if they just turned off tubes? I have them.
 

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#11
Wonder how many stations are jumping channels or frequencies. No one will know to rescan.
Bingo! If they listen to The Geek Squad, you're right. I mentioned this to the guy who installed my converter boxes, and he told me there was no reason to rescan. I had to educate him. I said it in my post on the subject, I knew why more than him.
 
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