Why is there no Channel 1 on TV?

#1
On cable/Satellite/OTA there's a mystery. TVs made from the 1950s-on have a Channel 1 on the dial, and on digital-tuned TVs, on the remote or OSD. so why has there NEVER been any station assigned to Channel 1? is there even bandwidth there just waiting to be used?

Channel 2 on cable used to be a test pattern rainbow until TVGOS came on it. but still, no channel 1. come the transition i guess it will then be 1-1 lol
 

Trip

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#2
Channel 1 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The short answer is that channel 1 was where the FM band once had been, and by the time it got cleared out, they realized the propagation characteristics of that band were pretty troublesome for reliable TV, so they axed it. There are other users on that band now.

As for digital, 1-1 is reserved and I'm told stations can be fined for attempting to map their stations to channel 1.

- Trip
 
#3
As for digital, 1-1 is reserved and I'm told stations can be fined for attempting to map their stations to channel 1.
but the propagation characteristics aren't the same for digital right? It's just the fact that it's reserved for the Government right? Especially now that FM is out on that band.
 

Trip

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#4
In reality, there is no such thing as a "digital" signal. All signals are analog, just that these particular analog signal represents digital bits 0 and 1 instead of sound and pictures. As such, the propagation characteristics are the same.

Actually, not just channel 1 which is no longer available due to other users of that spectrum, but all of 2-6 as well are being avoided like the plague by most full-powered broadcasters due to reception issues.

- Trip
 
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Piggie

Super Moderator
#5
but the propagation characteristics aren't the same for digital right? It's just the fact that it's reserved for the Government right? Especially now that FM is out on that band.
While the modulation or information on DTV signal is digital, the actual radio frequency wave coming to your home antenna is still analog.

The actual "radio frequency wave" properly called the carrier wave, coming to your house is the same as it was with analog TV. The difference is the information on it properly called the modulation is now digital, where before the modulation was analog.

The begs to include there is no such thing as a HDTV antenna. Since it's the Radio Frequency wave properly called the carrier wave that travels from the TV tower to your home, is the same (see above) the antennas are the same.

There is a very good chance if someone had a good antenna before it will work just fine for DTV.
 
#6
Nice info, but that leaves the question:

Why are NEW TVs still made which actually tune to Channel 1? why not just make it 2-whatever?

Course it could be the same reason there's a dark setting on a toaster. it makes no sense and no answer exists perhaps?
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#7
Nice info, but that leaves the question:

Why are NEW TVs still made which actually tune to Channel 1? why not just make it 2-whatever?

Course it could be the same reason there's a dark setting on a toaster. it makes no sense and no answer exists perhaps?
Because most TVs are cable-ready and some cable systems have channel 1. If you set most TVs to scan over-the-air channels, they tune 2-69.

- Trip
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#9
Nice info, but that leaves the question:

Why are NEW TVs still made which actually tune to Channel 1? why not just make it 2-whatever?

Course it could be the same reason there's a dark setting on a toaster. it makes no sense and no answer exists perhaps?
LOL, yeah, all the toasters I ever bought if you went above all the way down it turned out dark (read that burned). I guess they build them for people in countries low in pure wheat carbon in their diets? lol.

On serious note I found a good site about this Channel 1 thingie.

North American broadcast television frequencies: Information from Answers.com
 
#10
Yeah i never figured out just why there's a 'burn food' setting on a toaster or toaster oven. i have overcooked it on the 'light' setting.

i have tasted over cooked toast and i couldn't imagine purposely catching it on fire.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#11
Channel 1 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The short answer is that channel 1 was where the FM band once had been, and by the time it got cleared out, they realized the propagation characteristics of that band were pretty troublesome for reliable TV, so they axed it. There are other users on that band now.- Trip
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That's not what I was told in the early 1970's when I earned my first Ham Radio License: I was told by several Hams the "channel" (bandwidth) was granted to Ham Radio Operators as the 6-Meter Ham Band, to reward earlier and current (at the time) Ham experimenters for their contributions to the development of television and 'slow-scan tv' experimentations were (allegedly) still active there.

Perhaps the Extra-Class, four-letter call sign dinosaurs I refer to were wrong, along with my neighbor (Frank Fischer) who was a Morse Code Operator for the US Military in both WW1 and WW2. He was proficient at both 'click' and 'tone' Morse codes. Very different codes to decipher, in my ears. By the way ... he had a great fist.

I was astonished he 'willed to me' his personal Morse Code 'click' repeater and his key. Treasures with real history.

Jim
 
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Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#13
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That's not what I was told in the early 1970's when I earned my first Ham Radio License: I was told by several Hams the "channel" (bandwidth) was granted to Ham Radio Operators as the 6-Meter Ham Band, to reward earlier and current (at the time) Ham experimenters for their contributions to the development of television and 'slow-scan tv' experimentations were (allegedly) still active there.

Perhaps the Extra-Class, four-letter call sign dinosaurs I refer to were wrong, along with my neighbor (Frank Fischer) who was a Morse Code Operator for the US Military in both WW1 and WW2. He was proficient at both 'click' and 'tone' Morse codes. Very different codes to decipher, in my ears. By the way ... he had a great fist.

I was astonished he 'willed to me' his personal Morse Code 'click' repeater and his key. Treasures with real history.

Jim
I'm pretty sure they were wrong. Channel 1 was assigned to 44-50 MHz, while the 6m band is 50-54 MHz. No overlap between the two.

- Trip
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#15
According to what I read, the FCC shifted around the TV bands throughout the history of the industry, so channel 1 was actually where the 6m band is today for a short period of time, but for most of its history it was on 44-50MHz. Channel 2 was in a portion of the 6m band for a short period of time as well.

Remember that TV was experimental back in the day. It only became commercialized later on and the FCC seemed to just do as they pleased without having to answer to the electronic masses as they do today.

Here is a link, with references:

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO CHANNEL 1

On cable it is a different story. Channel 1 (A-8) only exists on HRC and IRC systems, not standard cable and takes advantage of the gap between channels 4 and 5. In fact, in modern digital cable systems they have largely scrapped channel 1 and use that space for out of band (OOB) signaling for opencable devices (CableCARD). Cable lineups that have a channel 1 usually have the channel elsewhere and remap it to channel 1. Time Warner Cable NYC for example I think has NY1 on channel 10 (or channel 8, I can't remember) RF. Anything beyond broadcast basic cable in NYC requires a cable box. They were scrambled for a long time due to theft of service. Therefore since nearly everyone had cable boxes they were able to put NY1 on another channel and map it to virtual channel number 1.

As for ondemand channel 1, the way they do it is that they put a "barker" channel somewhere. On our cable system it is on std channel 104 I believe and it is unencrypted QAM. The virtual channel table (VCT) maps channel 1 to the barker channel. Of course the cable box software is programmed to tune in to the barker but accept commands on the remote to launch ondemand. The actual ondemand content is delivered on other QAMs elsewhere on the system and not on the barker channel. Often ondemand is unencrypted so if you tune in with a Clear QAM tuner you can sometimes see what your neighbors are watching on ondemand. ;)
 
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n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#16
Incidentally the 6m band was the 5m band and was moved around with the TV channels. Hams also had a 2.5m band and of course the 11 meter band.

Some OTs tell me that there was one time when the frequency allocation chart said "300MHz and above - amateur" which would imply that hams had free reign above 300MHz. Today it is more like 300GHz...
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#17
I'm beginning to think the 'old farts' were pulling my leg about Channel 1. Here's an interesting passage from 1953 The Radio Amateurs Handbook: "In 1924, first amateur experiments in the vicinity of 56 Mc. indicated that band to be practically worthless for DX. ... Beginning in 1934 a series of investgations by the brilliant experimenter, Ross Hull (later QST's editor) developed the theory of v.h.f. wave bending in the lower atmosphere and led amateurs to the attainment of better distances ..."
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#18
That doesn't sound all that far fetched.

You need to read "200 meters and down" to get some perspective.

The fact is that a lot of bands were given to hams because they were thought of as useless. In the early days hams were ordered off the long waves because they were useful for radiotelegraph for ship to shore communications and basically pushed into the shortwave bands. Thing is that hams found out that the shortwave bands were very useful for DX.

Rinse repeat with UHF

Rinse repeat with microwave

and now we're coming full circle with HF and BPL...

The FCC also made some bone headed decisions like putting CB on 11 meters and telling them not to shoot skip.
 
#19
Channel 1 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The short answer is that channel 1 was where the FM band once had been, and by the time it got cleared out, they realized the propagation characteristics of that band were pretty troublesome for reliable TV, so they axed it. There are other users on that band now.

As for digital, 1-1 is reserved and I'm told stations can be fined for attempting to map their stations to channel 1.

- Trip
I do believe that the whole Channel One thing began as far back as the 1940s, if memory serves.

As far as I remember, no TV I ever owned had a Channel 1 spot, and I've owned several TV sets since I was a kid in the 1960s and 1970s!
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#20
There were also continuously tunable TVs back in those days, so whenever the FCC decided to change things around, just retune your set.
 
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