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Question Pittsburgh PA OTA ( AVS Forum Local HDTV Info and Reception )
Updated: 2008-06-11 08:15:43 (3109)
Pittsburgh PA OTA

Since starting this thread four years ago, things have changed a bit. I unfortunately don't live in the 'Burgh anymore (thanks U.S. Airways), but someone who does has thoughtfully provided a new update.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benji15301
As far as WYTV, I believe they're up and running at full power 24 hrs. although I cannot receive their signal here in Washington County. All Youngstown stations are up and running but I can only receive WKBN-DT's signal. WFMJ's signal is blocked here by a stupid idiotic low power signal on analog channel 20 by WBGN-TV. WKBN-DT is multicasting with a FOX feed on 27-2. Picture quatlity on 27-1 is good, but 27-2 is mediocre.

WQED-DT is only operating on channel 13-1 as a full time full service HD outlet. I denote no simulcasting here. WQED-DT has awesome PQ.

KDKA-DT and WPXI-DT are operating full time with full power with HD programming. WPXI-DT is multicasting with NBC's Weather Plus (worthless to me, I'd rather see a full time doppler radar) on 11-2. Both are utilizing Dolby 5.1 technology. Both got great picture quality although the audio on 2-1 (KDKA-DT) is too loud.

WPGH-DT is up and running 24/7 with a multicast. 53-1 is HD and 53-2 is SD. 53-1 has great PQ.

WTAE-DT is up and running 24/7 with full power. I have absolutely no problem receiving thier signal here in Washington County (South Strabane Twp.). Thier PQ on HD broadcasts is 720P and is great. Their PQ on all other (upconverted 420) broadcasts leaves a lot to be desired. Very smeary looking. I have been quite disappointed with thier non-HD quality for a long time, but it doesn't look like they're going to do anything to correct it.


WCWB-DT is also up and running full time. As with WPGH-DT, their PQ on HD broadcasts is great. WCWB-DT is multicasting a music channel (I believe "The Tube") on 22-2.


WNPA (analog channel 19) is STILL waiting for FCC approval to go digital. Their allocation on channel 49 is used by a low-power outlet in Indiana County and the owner of that station is single-handedly blocking their firing up digitally. They've also asked the FCC for permission to use channel 30 but thus far to no avail.

Hope this helps.

There are some new developments here in the 'Burgh, and I thought it might be nice to have one spot to gather everything together.

The Good:
WYTV, the ABC affiliate in Youngstown, is on the air. For everyone on the North side of town who can't get WTAE (and that includes just about everyone), this is awesome news. They're not yet on 24/7, but they've been lighting up the transmitter when ABC has HDTV programming. I've been able to pull it in using my less that perfect attic antenna setup, so a good percentage of us should now get ABC in HDTV and DD 5.1. Can you say Super Bowl?

Also, WQED is playing with their setup. As noted in another thread, they've been multicasting on 13.3, 13.4, 13.5. and 13.6 during the day. The plan is to use the full datastream for PBS HD programming. The demo loop appears to be history already.

KDKA and WPXI continue to put out quality, high-power signals. KDKA should be DD 5.1 sometime next year.

The Bad:
WPGH-DT is up and running of course, but at 480i. No HDTV here anytime soon.

The Ugly:
WTAE is at flea power, and will stay that way for years. Now that I can get WYTV, I really don't care.

WCWB (WB22) is also at flea power. Another Sinclair-owned station pushing the digital transition.

WNPA (UPN19) is currently awaiting FCC approval on a proposal to change the original DTV channel allocation and move the transmitter closer to the city. The application has been at the FCC for a year and a half, but they haven't yet heard anything. Once a construction permit is granted, it will take several months worth of work to get up and running, but Viacom has budgeted the money to make it happen.

Answers: Pittsburgh PA OTA ( AVS Forum Local HDTV Info and Reception )
Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by RockScaler
Unfortunately, no amplifier can increase the gain of the antenna. An amp, especially an inline amp, can reduce the loss of a long cable run and the loss from splitting the signal for different tv's or tuners.

ok i am confused then. Does this also apply for amplfied antennas such as the terk hdtva? or maybe i am thinking of gain in the wrong manner. And is the amplifier in an amplfied antenna the same as a in-line amp? Thanks for the help.

jake65

Pittsburgh PA OTA

TV21Chief: WFMJ/WBCB-strong signal/absolutely no dropouts for several weeks; attic antenna, Mt. Washington, Pgh. Even though the CW's not in high-def, your digital signal sure beats WPCW's analog

rpeduzzi

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by rpeduzzi
TV21Chief: WFMJ/WBCB-strong signal/absolutely no dropouts for several weeks; attic antenna, Mt. Washington, Pgh. Even though the CW's not in high-def, your digital signal sure beats WPCW's analog
Thanks. I pass these along to my higher-ups and continue to get a paycheck.

TV21CHIEF

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by TV21CHIEF
Can't do it. Too much interference to other stations and Canada. If I could have done the megawatt I would have. There's someone down around Washington PA that can see us.
Too bad can't increase power, because you have 2 very good stations there , and an excellant news cast with a beautiful new news set. I have received WFMJ-DT better in the summer with trees than now that they are are gone. I guess I'm in a multipath and the Pittsburgh stations are too strong.Also 2 streets up from me is a ham radio guy with about FIVE different ham radio antennas on his house,which probably ain't helping matters.I really was counting on better things to come when the analog plug was pulled.Thanks for the information TV21 Chief. Guess I'll go back up on the roof and "Play" with a CM4228 Antenna !

dxernut

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by dxernut
Too bad can't increase power, because you have 2 very good stations there , and an excellant news cast with a beautiful new news set. I have received WFMJ-DT better in the summer with trees than now that they are are gone. I guess I'm in a multipath and the Pittsburgh stations are too strong.Also 2 streets up from me is a ham radio guy with about FIVE different ham radio antennas on his house,which probably ain't helping matters.I really was counting on better things to come when the analog plug was pulled.Thanks for the information TV21 Chief. Guess I'll go back up on the roof and "Play" with a CM4228 Antenna !
Sorry. I remember reading about a low power TV down there on channel 20 too.

TV21CHIEF

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by dxernut
Also 2 streets up from me is a ham radio guy with about FIVE different ham radio antennas on his house,which probably ain't helping matters.
Those darn ham radio guys! Maybe he'll let you tap into his antenna array!

Dave Morrison, aka: W3WX
WPXI Engineering

dmorrison

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Stated earlier, I was able to get CBS, FOX, and NBC, and others from a valley around Washington. I finally had time to play with my silver sensor and was able to get WTAE, barely last night, so I know it is possible. FYI Washington PA people. Have to do some more playing to get a better signal.

joefryfry

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake65
ok i am confused then. Does this also apply for amplfied antennas such as the terk hdtva? or maybe i am thinking of gain in the wrong manner. And is the amplifier in an amplfied antenna the same as a in-line amp? Thanks for the help.
I tried a terk with bad results.

From Google definitions:
Antenna Gain- The ratio of the signal, usually expressed in dB, received or transmitted by a given antenna as compared to an isotropic or dipole antenna. Antenna gain can only be achieved by making an antenna directional, that is, with better performance in one direction than in others.
http://www.kareoke.com/glossary/micr...y_of_terms.htm

An antenna has a certain gain based on its size, shape, & directionality. Putting an amplifier on it can't increase that gain. An inline amp attached to the attenna before the cable run into the house (I'm assuming that's what the terk has) will help preserve that gain on the run to the TV. The Terk I tried was a non-directional antenna (therefore low gain) that attached to my satellite dish. Since all our Pittsburgh digital stations are uhf, I got much better results from a 4 bay bowtie antenna. I also have a small indoor "silver sensor" that does pretty well. It works best aimed out a window - and I don't use an amplifier on it.

As has been stated many times on this forum, go to antennaWeb.org to find the best antenna for your location.

RockScaler

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I'm trying to finish setting up my MythTV system for HD OTA reception. I have an older Air2PC card and using my existing omni-directional antenna I'm able to find and lock onto a number of channels. Unfortunately, there is a largish hill directly behind my house in the direction of most of the Pittsburgh signals. I'm able to get KDKA-DT and WPGH-DT pretty solid, but I can't seem to find or lock onto WPXI-DT at all. AntennaWeb and other sites show the WPXI transmitter to be within 1 degree as compared to KDKA's.

Does anyone have the frequency for WPXI? If I had that I could try to manually tune the channel using the Linux dvb-apps azap tool.

Thanks for any help.

...Kevin

kslater

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by kslater
I'm trying to finish setting up my MythTV system for HD OTA reception. I have an older Air2PC card and using my existing omni-directional antenna I'm able to find and lock onto a number of channels. Unfortunately, there is a largish hill directly behind my house in the direction of most of the Pittsburgh signals. I'm able to get KDKA-DT and WPGH-DT pretty solid, but I can't seem to find or lock onto WPXI-DT at all. AntennaWeb and other sites show the WPXI transmitter to be within 1 degree as compared to KDKA's.

Does anyone have the frequency for WPXI? If I had that I could try to manually tune the channel using the Linux dvb-apps azap tool.

Thanks for any help.

...Kevin
WPXI-DT is on Channel 48. The antenna coordinates are: N 40? 27' 48.0" W 80? 0' 15.0"

Happy hunting!

PA_MainyYak

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by PA_MainyYak
WPXI-DT is on Channel 48. The antenna coordinates are: N 40? 27' 48.0" W 80? 0' 15.0"

Happy hunting!
Thanks for that info, but I already knew the channel number. I was hoping to find the frequency. I think I found it elsewhere as 617028615 Hz. I also need some other piece of information called the service id. Not sure where I might find that or even if I really need it.

At this point I still can't tune the station although I think I should be able to.

...Kevin

kslater

Pittsburgh PA OTA

According to this site, Channel 48 is somewhere around 674- 680 MHz.

No idea on service id though.

sthayashi

Pittsburgh PA OTA

From what I understand, if the 75 ohm coax from the antenna is 100 ft or less in length, an amp is of little use. An amp in front of a splitter though can be useful to preserve the signal strength to multiple feeds though. Most equipment will work on a very minimal signal. Its the signal to noise that means something.

Bill Shenefelt

Pittsburgh PA OTA

well for what its worth here is the conclusion to my experiment. I put an 10db in-line amp on my silver sensor, the power injector end was paced on my tv input. I was getting 33% signal from WQED and that rose to 67% I also got about 10% signal boost of wpxi and kdka. It also alowed me to finally pull in Mynetwork and Tube Music. I do get Fox in but different strengths at different times of the day. I had about a 50' cable run.

jake65

Pittsburgh PA OTA

What kind of amp? I tried one on the roof antenna at the antenna and only managed to blow most stuff out.

Bill Shenefelt

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I had the same problem Bill, when I connected a CM 7777 amp to my antenna I lost several stations.Now I'm stuck with a new $65.00 amp that isn't any good to me. Will try to sell on E bay later for $50.00

dxernut

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by agtiny
I bought my TV at Best Buy. I probably wouldn't do that again though, but I already knew what model I wanted so I didn't have to put up with too much of the salesman's stupidity. Next time I'll probably buy from an online dealer, check the Hardware forum for advice maybe. I got my DTC-100 used on ebay. You'll probably want to purchase a newer generation receiver though. Again, read through some of the stuff in the Hardware forum. Good luck and welcome!
Buyers beware of Best Buy also. I purchased a 27" Samsung HDTV and ch 11 & 2 has frequent picture freezes. I know it has a week tuner , but best buy says there is nothing wrong with it.I also purchased a 27" SDTV "Orion" brand Tv from Wal Mart and it pulls in the digital stations better than the $650.00 set I bought from best buy. Also Wal mart's extended warrenty was only $17.88 for a 2 year extended warrenty. Best buy's was $59.00 but if they don't fix it what good is it? Moral to the story, you don't always have to spend big money on a name brand, when a cheep brand will sometimes do! Man am I glad I didn't buy the $850.00 tv from Best Buy a Samsung also that I originally wanted. Buyers shop around,compare prices and warrentys and you might end up with a decent HDTV good luck!

dxernut

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Anyone know if the KDKA simulcast of tonight's Steelers game will be in HD? I seriously doubt it, but wasn't sure.

Bob McLaughlin

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I was wondering the same thing. I don't see any reason it wouldn't be in HD. They have an HD channel, NFL Network has an HD feed but no HD channel, Comcast doesn't have to pre-empt INHD that way.

MrGonk

Pittsburgh PA OTA

That seems entirely too logical to come true.

scottro

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I'd like to know too. I'll be out this evening, but want to record the game.

Should I record INHD or KDKA-DT (via Comcast)? Right now I have INHD set to record. Maybe I should do both.

hondo21

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Well, it was in fact broadcast in HD! It looked pretty darn good too. Actually, there was too much detail--I could see how crappy the field was, and the frozen spit on Bill Cowher's chin!

Bob McLaughlin

Pittsburgh PA OTA

According to the last Charlie Chat. Dishnetwork has Pittsburgh local HDTV stations as of December 14th. You will need a dish 1000 since the new HD stations are on the 129 satellite. You also need one of the new mpeg4 receivers (ViP211 or ViP622 DVR receiver).
http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=72779

RockScaler

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I just checked my listings for Dish. No locals are showing up for HD. I do have Dish 1000 & a ViP 622 DVR. I' currently pointed at 110/119/129. Are the locals on some other satellite? Maybe their not live yet. I played with the settings and nothing. SO my guess is their on another satellite or their not live yet.

Revan654

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Hello,

I'm about to plunge headlong into seeking HD OTA signals. I've been lurking a while and am catching on to the precarious nature of signals in the Pittsburgh area. I'm in Mt. Lebanon (near the top of a hill, but not quite at the top) and ordered an antenna from antennas direct and hope that it's going to do the trick. Are there any folks from this area (near Washington Rd. & Mt. Lebanon Blvd) that are having luck pulling in decent reception? Sorry for the narrow question, I tried searching Mt. Lebanon and got 953 results....ouch. Thanks!

The antenna I ordered was a DB8.

--Bob

unidaddy

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by sthayashi
Whoa... So Johnstown is going to be broadcasting digital on a VHF channel?
Yes, the FOX station has elected to use their analog channel (8) for digital, although I cannot understand why. Comparing the coverage maps for 8 and 29, they are actually going to serve a smaller area (perhaps they are counting on the high cable penetration here in the mountains, as well as switching their analog translators to digital to make up the difference).

PA_MainyYak

Pittsburgh PA OTA

hey i was wondering if anyone else was having trouble picking up a signal from KDKA DT all day yesterday. my signal went from 70% to 0%. were they working on there tower or something? kind of wanted to watch the afc champ game in high def.

jake65

Pittsburgh PA OTA

No problems pulling in KDKA DT (OTA in Forest Hills) for me, Jake. The usual lipsynch issue but the AFC game looked great throughout. Even the confetti at the end of the game was rendered fairly well.

Bob McLaughlin

Pittsburgh PA OTA

The sound occasionally went out, but otherwise, I'm there with Bob McLaughlin, the game looked great for me throughout.

sthayashi

Pittsburgh PA OTA

For those interested, it appears that PBS (Channel 13, WQED) has added a standard definition channel to accompany their digital HD channel.
Right now WQED-HD is on 13-1 and WQED-SD is on 13-2.
This is probably going to be a simulcast of analog channel 13.

benji15301

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Yes benji15301 I also noticed January 31 ,07 that WQED added their 13.2 channel . It's about time.Now it would be nice if WTAE and KDKA would offer sub channels.,especially KDKA should have offered the CW network until the transmitter will be built for channel 49 my guess 3 years from now at the rate they are going! By then Smallville will be cancelled and it will not matter whats on that station anyway. Thanks for the input!

dxernut

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I've heard some complain that transmitting on a subband reduces the maximum bandwidth available for the main stream. I have no idea if this is true or not though, can anyone confirm it?

Quick explanation: Say a channel broadcasts have a capacity for 19.2 MB/s for all channels. The sum of all the subchannels can be no more than 19.2 MB/s. This concern is only applicable to networks that broadcast their feed at close to the full capacity of a station's bandwidth.

So can anyone confirm the above is true, and is this ever a problem?

sthayashi

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by sthayashi
I've heard some complain that transmitting on a subband reduces the maximum bandwidth available for the main stream. I have no idea if this is true or not though, can anyone confirm it?

Quick explanation: Say a channel broadcasts have a capacity for 19.2 MB/s for all channels. The sum of all the subchannels can be no more than 19.2 MB/s. This concern is only applicable to networks that broadcast their feed at close to the full capacity of a station's bandwidth.

So can anyone confirm the above is true, and is this ever a problem?
Read through some of the posts from the Charlottesille/Harrisonburg HDTV forum.

Some posters to the forum, call HD with multi-casting HD-Lite because is does take away from the Picture Quality.

Our local NBC station is aware of this, and they drop the bit rate for the multicasting channels when an HD program is on, like Sunday Night Football.

DrBri99

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by sthayashi
I've heard some complain that transmitting on a subband reduces the maximum bandwidth available for the main stream. I have no idea if this is true or not though, can anyone confirm it?

Quick explanation: Say a channel broadcasts have a capacity for 19.2 MB/s for all channels. The sum of all the subchannels can be no more than 19.2 MB/s. This concern is only applicable to networks that broadcast their feed at close to the full capacity of a station's bandwidth.

So can anyone confirm the above is true, and is this ever a problem?
Experts question quality of local HDTV
Friday, February 02, 2007
By William LaRue
Staff writer

Consumer-electronics consultant Peter H. Putman was in Syracuse watching an HD broadcast of NBC football last September, when he noticed the video often had "little blocks and squiggly things."

He was disappointed but not shocked. Even as consumers rush out to buy high-definition sets to watch Sunday's Super Bowl, Putman says, many U.S. stations are degrading their HD by squeezing it to make room for subchannels in their digital signals.

Chris Geiger, general manager at NBC affiliate WSTM-TV (Channel 3) in Syracuse, says the station's decision to add subchannels to its digital signal hasn't harmed its HD, which offers super-sharp pictures, wide-screen video and digital sound.

"We've never had any kind of complaint (from local viewers). We're clearly comfortable with our signal," Geiger says.

Time Warner Cable spokesman Jeff Unaitis says the cable company hasn't detected any substandard quality to the HD signals it receives over the air from Syracuse stations and then retransmits to customers without any changes.

But a CBS executive overseeing the network's HD telecast of the NFL's Super Bowl concedes "it's still a wild West" when it comes to maintaining the high quality of a high-definition broadcast once it leaves the network.

"We do as much as we can. But when it gets to affiliates or DirecTV, or when it gets to some of the cable guys, it's hard to say what happens," says Ken Aagaard, CBS Sports senior vice president of operations and production services.

Aagaard says engineers at CBS believe adding any subchannel to a digital TV signal takes away from the quality of the HD.

Complete Article is here.http://www.syracuse.com/living/posts...660.xml&coll=1

kaa1954

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrBri99
Read through some of the posts from the Charlottesille/Harrisonburg HDTV forum.

Some posters to the forum, call HD with multi-casting HD-Lite because is does take away from the Picture Quality.

Our local NBC station is aware of this, and they drop the bit rate for the multicasting channels when an HD program is on, like Sunday Night Football.
So I guess the moral of the story is, becareful when wishing for sub channels from other stations. You may not be happy with what you get on the main feed.

sthayashi

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by sthayashi
So I guess the moral of the story is, becareful when wishing for sub channels from other stations. You may not be happy with what you get on the main feed.
So I guess the moral of the story is that when there's a problem with an OTA HD signal, blame the affiliate. There couldn't possibly be a problem with the network's feed!

Dave Morrison
WPXI Engineering

dmorrison

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Dave, most definitely there can be problems from the network and often are. In the case of NBC and the generally poor quality of their HD sports I truly believe that part of the problem has to lie with the NBC feed, because similar reports have come from people all over the place. Sunday Night Football is widely known for looking the worst of any network's NFL games, consistently. Yet there have been reports by some that what they've seen directly from the network encoders looks good. So I don't know.

However, there is no denying that multicasting by the local affiliate has a definite negative effect on the PQ. That may be even more pronounced if the network feed is suspect to begin with. I know there's probably no going back, that stations like yours aren't going to drop the weather subchannel, apparently not even for "big" network events like the Olympics or NFL games. But can't you at least minimize the bandwidth that's allocated to the subchannel?

I don't think anybody much cares if they see some artifacts when checking the weather for a few minutes. I'm sure you wouldn't get a single complaint about that channel. But a whole lot of people with big screens are greatly annoyed seeing the pixelization, "swimming" grass, etc., during NBC sporting events. Especially when the game on CBS or Fox looks so much better.

hondo21

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmorrison
So I guess the moral of the story is that when there's a problem with an OTA HD signal, blame the affiliate. There couldn't possibly be a problem with the network's feed!

Dave Morrison
WPXI Engineering
Dave, if it makes you feel any better, I completely trust WPXI to do things properly. Very rarely have I seen problems come from your affiliate, and they typically don't last.

I don't trust the other affiliates to get their act together. I remember not too long ago, KDKA had a serious problem with the volume of their local commercials. I don't know how long it took for them to correct that. And with WTAE, there are still too many people who just can't receive their digital broadcast despite the fact that their analog broadcast comes in cleanly. If either of them were to implement multicasting, I'd expect their HD broadcast to suffer until they figured out how to properly do things.

At this point, I don't even know whether or not the other affiliates are properly broadcasting their meta information (for a while, they weren't). There's a lot of reasons to distrust the other affiliates when it comes to knowing and using their equipment properly.

I'm sorry that I'm giving the affiliates a bad rap, but right now that's the impression I've gotten from the results and responses I've seen so far. I honestly wish the others could have a rep like you on this site providing feedback to the rest of us.

sthayashi

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I guess I shouldn't have tried to deflect "blame" since there's certainly plenty to go around. With that in mind, even with affiliates running subchannels, the notion that all of the OTA ills are as a result of what the affiliates are doing is just plain wrong.

I simply take offense at the comments made by CBS Sports senior vice president of operations and production services. (Do you see anything in his title that says Engineering or Tecnical? This is some programming guy covering his backside!)

On the affiliate end of things, again, there is room for improvement, and as stations begin to update to the next generation of encoders, the home viewer will continue to see signal improvements - even with existing subchannels.

With respect to the other stations, they have really good and smart people at their facilities - I would be proud to work with and learn from any of them. Like the rest of us, they have network/encoder issues unique to their plants. They will work through them like we all do.

And lastly, the metadata (called PSIP - Program and System Information Protocol) is so unbelievelably complicated, and so very easy to foul up! This is not an excuse for bad metadata, but an explanation. It is one of the reasons I appreciate everyone's participation on this forum - you all can give me "clues" to potential problems we might have.

I think I'll quit here for now, and I'll respond later if anything new comes up or if anyone would care for further explanation.

Dave Morrison
WPXI Engineering

dmorrison

Pittsburgh PA OTA

One other thing...I want you all to know that I wasn't taking a cheap shot at sthayashi. The cheap shot was meant for the CBS programming wonk!

Dave

dmorrison

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake65
I live about 15 miles north of Pgh. (Cranberry Twp) I am running an HDTV tuner out my PC. I have it hooked up to a silver sensor. I am getting about 50% signal strength from kdka and wpgh. i can get some youngstown but not very well. My question to anyone who is willing to answer. Would it be worth my money to get an Amplified Indoor Ant - like the Terk HDTVa to imrove my reception? Any suggestions on placement, angles, direction, welcome.
Hi jake! I'm slowly making my way through this thread and came across your post. I'm also in Cranberry Twp, near the intersection of Powell & Glen Eden. So I have some nice hills between my location & the Pittsburgh stations' transmission towers.

I ended up swiping a relative's old VHF/UHF antenna from their attic, since they haven't actually used it since they had cable installed 30 years ago. I placed it in my attic, roughly aimed it in the direction of Pittsburgh, and was able to get the following digital stations:
  • 25, 2-1 KDKA-DT 1080i (CBS)
  • 29, 8-1 WWCP-DT
  • 29, 8-2 WATM-DT
  • 38, 13-1 WQED HD 1080i (PBS)
  • 38, 13-2 WQED SD
  • 41, 27-1 WKBN-HD 1080i (CBS)
  • 41, 27-2 WYFX
  • 42, 22-1 WPMY-DT 720p (MNTV)
  • 42, 22-2 WPMY-DT
  • 43, 53-1 WPGH-DT 720p (FOX)
  • 43, 53-2 WPGH-DT
  • 48, 11-1 WPXI-DT 1080i (NBC)
  • 48, 11-2 WX PLUS
  • 50, 40-1 WPCB-DT
Before settling on this antenna direction, I also tried roughly pointing it towards Youngstown, and was able to receive the HD stations 33-1 WYTV (ABC) and 21-1 WFMJ (NBC), but I could not get 11-1 WPXI (NBC), 13-1 WQED (PBS), and 22-1 WPMY (MNTV). I might give it another shot though, since I'd really like to receive an HD ABC affiliate, and WTAE doesn't seem to be trying to serve the area north of Pittsburgh.

But to answer your question, if my experience is any indication, get a good rooftop directional antenna and shove it in your attic if you don't want to mount it outside. I have no amplifier and a pretty short (~10') cable run.

garsh

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmorrison
I think I'll quit here for now, and I'll respond later if anything new comes up or if anyone would care for further explanation.
Thanks, Dave. For a second there, I thought I really ticked you off with my last couple posts. I've seen problems that could have only come from the network feed, and since they have a presumably much larger budget and staff, there shouldn't be such problems. The most annoying for me is the lack of normalization for their commercials. Motorola's Blackjack commercial is especially bad.

One question I do have which may seem obvious is this: Do most affiliates (or WPXI) actually encode the stream from the network? I was under the impression up until the last couple days that the feed came from the network already encoded in HD/Mpeg-2/whatever and the affiliates simply multiplexed additional channels/PSIP-data. I know that the affiliates digitally encode local broadcasts, but I had thought that that particular data was just SD.

If the affiliates DO encode the network feed themselves, does that mean that WPXI could broadcast at a higher quality (like 1080p or beyond), pending the proper encoding and multiplexing equipment?

sthayashi

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by sthayashi
One question I do have which may seem obvious is this: Do most affiliates (or WPXI) actually encode the stream from the network? I was under the impression up until the last couple days that the feed came from the network already encoded in HD/Mpeg-2/whatever and the affiliates simply multiplexed additional channels/PSIP-data. I know that the affiliates digitally encode local broadcasts, but I had thought that that particular data was just SD.

If the affiliates DO encode the network feed themselves, does that mean that WPXI could broadcast at a higher quality (like 1080p or beyond), pending the proper encoding and multiplexing equipment?
Nope you didn't tick me off. Sorry for posting that message the way I did.

First, please refer to the following web page. It's got some pretty good information: http://www.coolstf.com/mpeg/

We do not get network signals that are already encoded. We treat the network HD signals as any other source we need to process. Anything that comes out of our HD switcher (be it native HD programming or locally upconverted content) needs to be encoded into 1080i before it goes up the stick.

The metadata is also processed in our encoder. Think of the metadata as a roadmap for your receiver. The metadata defines the video streams, audio streams, etc. It tells you receiver which video stream goes with which audio stream; it tells your receiver which audio stream is the Dolby 5.1 front pair, the rear pair, and the LFE channel. It contains the program guide.

There's alot going on, but in a nutshell, we're not able to pass NBC programming directly to the viewer without encoding it first.

Dave

dmorrison

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by garsh
Hi jake! I'm slowly making my way through this thread and came across your post. I'm also in Cranberry Twp, near the intersection of Powell & Glen Eden. So I have some nice hills between my location & the Pittsburgh stations' transmission towers.

I ended up swiping a relative's old VHF/UHF antenna from their attic, since they haven't actually used it since they had cable installed 30 years ago. I placed it in my attic, roughly aimed it in the direction of Pittsburgh, and was able to get the following digital stations:
  • 25, 2-1 KDKA-DT 1080i (CBS)
  • 29, 8-1 WWCP-DT
  • 29, 8-2 WATM-DT
  • 38, 13-1 WQED HD 1080i (PBS)
  • 38, 13-2 WQED SD
  • 41, 27-1 WKBN-HD 1080i (CBS)
  • 41, 27-2 WYFX
  • 42, 22-1 WPMY-DT 720p (MNTV)
  • 42, 22-2 WPMY-DT
  • 43, 53-1 WPGH-DT 720p (FOX)
  • 43, 53-2 WPGH-DT
  • 48, 11-1 WPXI-DT 1080i (NBC)
  • 48, 11-2 WX PLUS
  • 50, 40-1 WPCB-DT
Before settling on this antenna direction, I also tried roughly pointing it towards Youngstown, and was able to receive the HD stations 33-1 WYTV (ABC) and 21-1 WFMJ (NBC), but I could not get 11-1 WPXI (NBC), 13-1 WQED (PBS), and 22-1 WPMY (MNTV). I might give it another shot though, since I'd really like to receive an HD ABC affiliate, and WTAE doesn't seem to be trying to serve the area north of Pittsburgh.

But to answer your question, if my experience is any indication, get a good rooftop directional antenna and shove it in your attic if you don't want to mount it outside. I have no amplifier and a pretty short (~10') cable run.

Garsh...what kind of signal strength are you getting from the pittsburgh channels?

jake65

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake65
Garsh...what kind of signal strength are you getting from the pittsburgh channels?
I was using a Sceptre X32GV-KOMODO TV to test the signal strength. I was getting mid-80's for most of them. I think WPXI may have been the weakest one, around 77-78. When a signal got below 70, the picture would start to drop out.

Every one of these stations is broadcasting in the UHF band, so you could try a UHF-only antenna, like this one. It's both cheaper & smaller than a UHF/VHF/FM combo antenna. I think I read somewhere (probably earlier in this thread) that WQED might be moving to the VHF band in the near future though (once analog broadcasts are stopped, maybe?).

garsh

Pittsburgh PA OTA

did anyone else watch LOST tonight from WTAE and become insanely annoyed by their obnoxious news promos that are run during the show and take the picture from HD to SD (like a local weather warning) and also take the sound from dolby to stereo increasing the volume a great deal. this must stop asap.... i can't believe a station would be so dumb to ruin their HD broadcast like this.

tipton

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by tipton
did anyone else watch LOST tonight from WTAE and become insanely annoyed by their obnoxious news promos that are run during the show and take the picture from HD to SD (like a local weather warning) and also take the sound from dolby to stereo increasing the volume a great deal. this must stop asap.... i can't believe a station would be so dumb to ruin their HD broadcast like this.

Yes, we noticed on this end too.

They've been doing a lot of that recently.

It goes from a crystal clear HD pix to a smeary/blurry picture with much much louder audio. They keep switching back and forth to run promos.

It's very annoying!!! And stupid to boot.

My question is, can't they see this on their end?

Why are we the only people that can see this stuff?

benji15301

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by tipton
did anyone else watch LOST tonight from WTAE and become insanely annoyed by their obnoxious news promos that are run during the show and take the picture from HD to SD (like a local weather warning) and also take the sound from dolby to stereo increasing the volume a great deal. this must stop asap.... i can't believe a station would be so dumb to ruin their HD broadcast like this.
I haven't watched LOST from last night yet. It's on my DVR and I'll probably watch it tonight and see for myself.

But this practice is nothing new with them. In January 2005 I sent an e-mail to WTAE complaining about these program break-ins that ruined the HD experience, both how jarring it is and how often they were doing it. At the time they had broken in at least 6 times during an airing of ALIAS for flash-flood watches and warnings, which I thought was a little excessive.

I got a reply from David Kasperek, Director of Engineering at WTAE. He said that they "are actively seeking a better technical solution than what is presently available to us for emergency weather announcements on HDTV because we agree this is a big problem," and " As soon as we can find and implement a less disruptive method, I can assure you we will do so." He also gave me a lot of stuff about their obligation to the public yada-yada regarding the frequency of the announcements.

So I guess if they have been "actively seeking" a less disruptive method they still must not have found it yet, over 2 years later. Or maybe they forgot about it.

I don't know if Mr. Kasperek is still there, but his e-mail address was dkasperek [at] hearst.com, if you'd like to try to send him a note. I may do so again after I watch LOST, probably tonight.

hondo21

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by tipton
did anyone else watch LOST tonight from WTAE and become insanely annoyed by their obnoxious news promos that are run during the show and take the picture from HD to SD (like a local weather warning) and also take the sound from dolby to stereo increasing the volume a great deal.
Just watched it last night. Yep, quite annoying. Apparently they also did this during Grey's Anatomy.

garsh

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Garsh, (or anyone that cares to comment.)

Do I have to propperly ground and antenna that I mount in my attic?


BTW I get a usable signal with a silver sensor and a inline amp. However every time I want to watch a different channel I have to move the antenna to a different position (balancing on make shift shelves of shoeboxes and speakers) Its sort of comical. My wife is very patient.

jake65

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Did anybody see strange picture anomolies on WPXI-DT last night?

I was watching on Comcast, so I don't know if it existed OTA, but there were repeated problems with the entire picture being overlayed with a pink/blue imprint of some sort. It happened a lot during THE OFFICE and then I saw it again later on too. Never saw anything like it before.

hondo21

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake65
Do I have to propperly ground and antenna that I mount in my attic?
I was wondering that myself. This article states that you should. I guess I'll need to look into doing that.

garsh

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I have confirmed with co-workers in different cable systems that the picture issues (pink/blue imprint) on WPXI-DT last night were there on their systems too. So it appears to be a problem that occurred at the station or network. Although I assume I would have seen something about it in other threads if it was a network issue.

Dave, any insight on what that was?

hondo21

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Sorry if this has been asked, it didn't come up in a search, but when watching the WB (or CW whatever it is now) on both OTA and channel 214 through Comcast does anyone else have weird sound issues. The dialog comes through the center and surround channels on all HD programming. It's like the center is doubled through the rears. I have yet to hear anything out of the front left and right. Again, this happens both OTA and channel 214 Comcast. In case anyone asks, my speakers are hooked up correctly, as it is just this channel. By the way, when I watch it upstairs on Channel 214 on the other HDTV, the sound is fine, as all I have upstairs are the TV speakers.

abeas

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by garsh
I was wondering that myself. This article states that you should. I guess I'll need to look into doing that.
I grounded mine.

rbpeirce

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Good morning all you HD hobbiests out there...

I've got a question. Has anyone found that their program guide for WPXI-DT was NOT displaying the program information, but rather just showing the station call letters? If so, could you please drop me an email (or post here on the forum) telling me what you see for the WPXI program guide along with the make and model of your receiver.

Thanks in advance,

Dave Morrison
WPXI Engineering
dmorrison@wpxi.com

dmorrison

Pittsburgh PA OTA

So is CW going to be broadcasting out of Pittsburgh initially? If so, on what channel?

slydog75

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Sorry if it's been addressed already - I searched through this thread quickly and didn't notice anything...

But is the macroblocking (I assume due to overcompression) on WPXI a local problem or an NBC issue? Whenever their is quick movement there are macro-blocks everywhere. Very distracting to me.

Thanks for any info on this issue.

Jantzen

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Good morning Jantzen...

The macroblocking issue had been addressed by NBC when they discovered some changes which needed to be made to the encoders at the affiliate level. We made these changes, and I was under the impression this had been solved. Quick question for you - have you rescanned your channels recently? I know this sounds like a silly request, but I understand that this can help sometimes. I will address the macroblocking issue once again (I assume you noticed this during football, correct?).

The bigger issue I am dealing with right now is lip sync problems. If any of you notice lip sync problems, I'd appreciate you sending me a message through the forum. If you would include the program, the date and time, and the make and model of your receiver, this would be greatly appreciated. The occasional lip sync problem is a tough nut for me to crack.

Dave Morrison
WPXI Engineering

dmorrison

Pittsburgh PA OTA

The NBC football games have not improved. They are still bad. From the empirical evidence and feedback on these forums, the poor picture quality of NBC HD broadcasts with fast motion, such as the ND football games and NFL Sunday Night Football, are largely because of the subchannels (Weather Plus) starving the bitrate. This is a problem all over the country with NBC, but apparently the problems don't exist in the original production because HD clips of NBC games shown on ESPN-HD look flawless.

Check out this thread from the HD Programming subforum (just the latest of many complaining of these problems):

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=724854

Can't WPXI at least try an experiment and just turn off the weather subchannel to give the games the full bitstream they apparently need in order to look good? I find it hard to believe that anybody would complain if that weather subchannel disappeared for a few hours during high profile HD events. The current state of affairs make the network and affiliate stations look bad. We survived just fine without the weather channel all these years. I could certainly live without it.

hondo21

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by firemantom26
Does anyone know anything about when WPCW will be on digitally??
I don't know the whole story, but I'm not holding my breath that WPCW will have a digital signal on the air anytime soon.

Early this year (in February, I think), the FCC finally gave WPCW permission to use channel 49 for it's digital signal and WPCW applied for a construction permit. Unfortunately, that's now been challenged by the owner of a low-power TV station in Indiana, PA which is using the same frequency.

The FCC had told the Indiana station it would have to move to another available channel, but its owner filed objections in June to WCPW's application, claiming there were no suitable channels for it to use. WPCW has petitioned to dismiss the challenge and has asked for an expedited ruling. But given the FCC's track record, I don't believe we'll see a digital signal from WPCW in the near future (after all, it took the FCC nearly *seven years* to approve WCPW's channel change application). Hope I'm wrong, but even if approval comes soon, I think the FCC's handling of this issue has been nothing short of pathetic!

rpeduzzi

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by hondo21
The NBC football games have not improved. They are still bad. From the empirical evidence and feedback on these forums, the poor picture quality of NBC HD broadcasts with fast motion, such as the ND football games and NFL Sunday Night Football, are largely because of the subchannels (Weather Plus) starving the bitrate. This is a problem all over the country with NBC, but apparently the problems don't exist in the original production because HD clips of NBC games shown on ESPN-HD look flawless.

Check out this thread from the HD Programming subforum (just the latest of many complaining of these problems):

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=724854

Can't WPXI at least try an experiment and just turn off the weather subchannel to give the games the full bitstream they apparently need in order to look good? I find it hard to believe that anybody would complain if that weather subchannel disappeared for a few hours during high profile HD events. The current state of affairs make the network and affiliate stations look bad. We survived just fine without the weather channel all these years. I could certainly live without it.
There's more to it than just shutting off the few MB the Weather Channel takes up. There was a post last night from someone who saw the artifacts on a station that didn't have any subchannels. Here's the post.
The incoming NBC feed is excellent, it boils down to encoder settings, firmware, and generation of the encoder at the stations. As a matter of fact I've noticed over the past few weeks there's grumbling about Fox, CBS and ESPN too depending on the market and source. The fact remains that we're going from 1.5 GIGA bits down to 19 Megabits. That's almost an 80 to 1 compression factor.
Now I'll duck and cover!

TV21CHIEF

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Dave and/or Dave

Any update on when Dishnetwork will have local HDs available? Many Dishnetwork owners in the Pgh area are dying to get the football games going. This was promised back in March, but it seems like they are doing absoluetly nothing.

PAbasement

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I don't have any info on this at this time. Sorry.

Dave - WPXI

dmorrison

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Thanks Dave

I was hoping for some better news. Sad they have put people in this position of deciding between keeping our satelitte receivers or switching to cable.

PAbasement

Pittsburgh PA OTA

not sure if it will help, but there has been lip synch problems on the first 2 NFL games on nbc. both the steelers opener and this past sundays game.

tipton

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Dishnetwork said end of 2006 or early 2007. Talked to them last week. so have no idea when we will get any HD channels.

Raven654

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Is anyone else having serious audio sync issues with KDKA?

I tried to watch a few of the season and series premiers this week but they have all been around 0.8 seconds out of sync.

The Unit, NCIS, Smith, and Jericho were all horribly botched.

The audio sync is so bad that KDKA programming isn't worth watching really. It could be my equipment... but why is it only CBS/KDKA?

dfiler

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler
Is anyone else having serious audio sync issues with KDKA?

I tried to watch a few of the season and series premiers this week but they have all been around 0.8 seconds out of sync.

The Unit, NCIS, Smith, and Jericho were all horribly botched.

The audio sync is so bad that KDKA programming isn't worth watching really. It could be my equipment... but why is it only CBS/KDKA?
I could be your equipment. I have only watched NCIS, but it was fine. My receiver is a Tivo HR10-250 from DTV.

rbpeirce

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbpeirce
I could be your equipment. I have only watched NCIS, but it was fine. My receiver is a Tivo HR10-250 from DTV.
CBS (KDKA-DT) is the only network I have sync issues with. Letterman is off by almost a second - it's like watching a dubbed Japanese sci fi flick from the fifties. NBC, ABC, FOX, WB, and PBS HD feeds have perfect, in sync audio. Using an Echostar Model 6000 as one source with an OTA, and a Sony DHG HDD250, also with the OTA.

The funny thing is, that when KD goes to a local insert during network programming, the audio is fine for local content. I have a friend with a comcast dvr box who is having the same problems with KDKA in Tarentum...hmmmm.

myoda

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I noticed the KDKA/CBS lip sync issue last night on Shark. It was way less than a second, but it was there. And not there on local. I have an SA box from Adelphia. I did not check the OTA.

UVArplcd

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler
Is anyone else having serious audio sync issues with KDKA?

I tried to watch a few of the season and series premiers this week but they have all been around 0.8 seconds out of sync.

The Unit, NCIS, Smith, and Jericho were all horribly botched.

The audio sync is so bad that KDKA programming isn't worth watching really. It could be my equipment... but why is it only CBS/KDKA?

I'm watching KDKA in Johnstown via Atlantic Broadband (Scientific Atlanta STB) and have noticed a few lip sync "events" but they have been brief and sporadic. One of the common suggestions I've seen posted elsewhere on this forum is to try remapping the channel in question. Good luck.

PA_MainyYak

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I've read through this forum throughout the last few days and I'm still in need of some help. I want to avoid comcast HD and get the OTA HD. I get a pretty good signal on KDKA, I get Fox somewhat but it does break up a good bit. I have a basic set of rabbit ears for now, so I'm guessing a better antenna would help out. I've taken a look at the antennaweb and it gave me an area to focus on for my coverage. I'd like to stay on the cheap end for an antenna ($50 or less) and indoor if possible, or at least attic install. I've seen a ton of different antennas out there and I'm not sure where to go from here.
I'm expecting that WTAE will be the hardest since it says I'm about 20 miles on that signal, but that is as far as I would need at least.
Any help is greatly appreciated folks.

Thanks
Pk

IrishRed13

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishRed13
I've read through this forum throughout the last few days and I'm still in need of some help. I want to avoid comcast HD and get the OTA HD. I get a pretty good signal on KDKA, I get Fox somewhat but it does break up a good bit. I have a basic set of rabbit ears for now, so I'm guessing a better antenna would help out. I've taken a look at the antennaweb and it gave me an area to focus on for my coverage. I'd like to stay on the cheap end for an antenna ($50 or less) and indoor if possible, or at least attic install. I've seen a ton of different antennas out there and I'm not sure where to go from here.
I'm expecting that WTAE will be the hardest since it says I'm about 20 miles on that signal, but that is as far as I would need at least.
Any help is greatly appreciated folks.

Thanks
Pk

Channel Master 4228 is the best for uhf HDTV OTA. I bought mine from www.solidsignal.com

firemantom26

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Is anyone else having any recent problems with their OTA reception of KDKA-DT? Normally my signal strength is a solid 100% for KDKA-DT but for the last few days it has been running around the mid 60's or lower. The channel's signal strength has occasionally dropped off low enough that I totally lose the signal. All other stations I receive OTA are still showing the same signal strength on my receiver so the problem seems to be with KDKA.

Deadeye

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadeye
Is anyone else having any recent problems with their OTA reception of KDKA-DT? Normally my signal strength is a solid 100% for KDKA-DT but for the last few days it has been running around the mid 60's or lower. The channel's signal strength has occasionally dropped off low enough that I totally lose the signal. All other stations I receive OTA are still showing the same signal strength on my receiver so the problem seems to be with KDKA.


It has been fine here 99%

firemantom26

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadeye
Is anyone else having any recent problems with their OTA reception of KDKA-DT? Normally my signal strength is a solid 100% for KDKA-DT but for the last few days it has been running around the mid 60's or lower. The channel's signal strength has occasionally dropped off low enough that I totally lose the signal. All other stations I receive OTA are still showing the same signal strength on my receiver so the problem seems to be with KDKA.
Have you had any leaves fall near you? This time of year, the foliage changes can make a difference.

Mark Vidonic

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Vidonic
Have you had any leaves fall near you? This time of year, the foliage changes can make a difference.
KDKA has always been at a signal strength of 100% at my house. This is over several years and has been independent of seasons. Leaves or the lack of them on trees have never had any noticeable impact on the signal. The signal strength of all the other PGH channels I receive have not changed. All of them come in at 100%. This include WTAE which some people apparently have had problems receiving. I'm getting D*'s newest HD receiver installed later this month. I'll have to see if that fixes the problem. In the meantime maybe I'll play around with the alignment of my outside antenna to see if that helps.

Deadeye

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I've had OTA problems the last week or so with every station. I think it may be related to the TiVo 6.3a update. But I have a 4228 on the roof (North Hills) and rabbit ears inside and neither is working worth crap right now.

ex007

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I've been having problems with my OTA reception lately. I've had to move my antennae (CM 4228) about 40 degrees to pick up everything that used to come in and I can't get WTAE at all now. I may have to watch Lost in SD tomorrow!!! I'm in Plum near New Kensington using a Dish 811 as my receiver. Could it be fall foilage?

LazerAce

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by LazerAce
I've been having problems with my OTA reception lately. I've had to move my antennae (CM 4228) about 40 degrees to pick up everything that used to come in and I can't get WTAE at all now. I may have to watch Lost in SD tomorrow!!! I'm in Plum near New Kensington using a Dish 811 as my receiver. Could it be fall foilage?
It could be fall foliage or it could be the fact that WTAE is pretty much in a completely different direction from all the other networks. Combined with autumn and the nasty rain we've had, and the fact that the 4228 IS a directional antenna could contribute to you not getting WTAE. I also suspect that WTAE's broadcasting antenna is obscured by hills which weaken the signal already though I've yet to confirm that.

Using antenaweb, I see that from a generic location in Plum, you should aim your antenna SSW and see if you still don't get signal.

I personally have to turn my antenna any time I want to watch WTAE, and I'm in Squirrel Hill.

sthayashi

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Hello, I am new to the hdtv arena. I have recently purchased a Sony 40' LCD XBR2 series tv. I live in the Moon Twp area just past the airport and close to the Beaver County border. With an old two post antenna from a 10-15 year old tv, I am able to pick up channels NBC, CBS, Fox, and just recently with the posts set to about 12" in length and pointed in the general direct I can get ABC, which is about 29 miles from my location. I have tried a few indoor atennas from RCA, powered units, but none perform like this old two post antenna. ABC will drop if someone walks infront of the tv, but I can live with it. Now, I would like to try a good quality indoor uhf antenna. If I could just get PBS to come in everything will be perfect. Antennaweb recommends a large antenna for pulling in ABC. Now, some questions.

1. How is this antenna pulling in abc? it has a flat cable connecting it to the tv. the cable is only 12-18" long. It does have nice hefty diameter poles, compared to the cheap RCA posts.

2. With a good quality uhf indoor antenna, do you think I could get ABC without the dropping if someone walks threw the room?

3. Any recommendations on a good performing indoor uhf antenna.

I called Laketon TV and they will install a roof top antenna with all the other necessary parts for $299. Now that I am getting ABC I am reluctant to pay, with the performance from this old antenna.

Thanks for any tips, comments, suggestions.

Bob

ezerhoden

Pittsburgh PA OTA

I bought a Channel Master 4228 and rotor at solidsignal, a mast at Radio Shack and used a fiberglass pipe I had laying around for the pole. I had Venus Satellites install it on the side of the house, they used a diplexer on the exisiting satellite cable run which works fine. I usually get signals that jump around from 85 to 97 percent or so. KDKA drops out rarely, WPXI is solid, WTAE was decent unitl recently it's non-existent, WPGH and CH22 is solid (CH22 also has The Tube) and WQED is solid and very nice. I was actually picking up DTV from Altoona/Johnstown.

LazerAce

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezerhoden
1. How is this antenna pulling in abc? it has a flat cable connecting it to the tv. the cable is only 12-18" long. It does have nice hefty diameter poles, compared to the cheap RCA posts.

2. With a good quality uhf indoor antenna, do you think I could get ABC without the dropping if someone walks threw the room?

3. Any recommendations on a good performing indoor uhf antenna.
1. You may be lucky or you may actually be picking up a reflection from somewhere.

2. Without expensive tools, this is impossible to say with any certainty. Indoor antennas and reception with them is based on Voodoo :-). No, not actually, but there are times back when I relied on a small indoor antenna where the signal would cut out a lot, and I couldn't figure out whether it was me walking across the signal path, or if it was the weather for the day or the alignment of the moon (Signals shouldn't cut out on a good clear winter day, right?)

3. The Silver Sensor is considered by many to be one of the best typical indoor antennas. I'm able to get every channel but WTAE with consistency (WTAE was inconsistent with me). However, depending on what you consider indoor, the silver sensor doesn't hold a candle to other antennas. I purchased a Channel Master 4221 and keep it in my attic with a very long wire running down to my TV area. Even with the long run, I got better WTAE reception than with the Silver Sensor (as an added bonus, the long run acts as a semi-decent VHF antenna as well). I watched the Steelers beat the Seahawks with no picture drop out with the CM4221. This never would have happened with the silver sensor.

sthayashi

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Does anyone know when Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune will start being broadcast locally (WPXI-TV/DT) in HD? The broadcasts and EPG say they are in HD, but the actual program doesn't look like it...

munangst

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by sthayashi
3. The Silver Sensor is considered by many to be one of the best typical indoor antennas. I'm able to get every channel but WTAE with consistency (WTAE was inconsistent with me). However, depending on what you consider indoor, the silver sensor doesn't hold a candle to other antennas. I purchased a Channel Master 4221 and keep it in my attic with a very long wire running down to my TV area. Even with the long run, I got better WTAE reception than with the Silver Sensor (as an added bonus, the long run acts as a semi-decent VHF antenna as well). I watched the Steelers beat the Seahawks with no picture drop out with the CM4221. This never would have happened with the silver sensor.

I went and bought the Silver Sensor but it could not pull in channel 4. It did get all the others i currently get. Oh well, I am just glad I have this old antenna, I guess that just dont make things like they used to.

One more question, what is the difference between a uhf and vhf antenna. I thought these two post atenna's where vhf antenna's? If so, I am really confused about why it is working so well.

Btw, there is a Heros marathon Sunday night starting at 8pm. Broadcast in HD and a pretty cool to boot.

ezerhoden

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by munangst
Does anyone know when Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune will start being broadcast locally (WPXI-TV/DT) in HD? The broadcasts and EPG say they are in HD, but the actual program doesn't look like it...
You're right, the local programs are not yet being broadcast in HD. We are working through a closed captioning issue right now, and I suspect that as soon as we get that resolved, we'll be broadcasting Wheel and Jeopardy in HD. Sorry, I don't have a date for you on that yet.

Dave Morrison
WPXI Engineering

dmorrison

Pittsburgh PA OTA

here a general OTA question. and i will bring it home at the end, as to why it belongs in this forum.

Does any one notice (or am i nuts) that Live events look much better than recorded events? All the recorded events I watch (my name is earl, csi), faces and backgrounds look blocky. Live events, sports, American idle, Grammies look crystal clear! why is this? Is this a OTA thing? a camera thing? I actually noticed when I was watching the Daytona 500 that this varied camera to camera. because it varies I know its not my TV.

jake65

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake65
Does any one notice (or am i nuts) that Live events look much better than recorded events? All the recorded events I watch (my name is earl, csi), faces and backgrounds look blocky. Live events, sports, American idle, Grammies look crystal clear! why is this? Is this a OTA thing? a camera thing? I actually noticed when I was watching the Daytona 500 that this varied camera to camera. because it varies I know its not my TV.
A recorded copy should look as good as the original. That is the beauty of digital. It sounds like your DVR is compressing the signal to save hard drive space. First check to see if you have any recording preferences not set to high quality. If not, ask your cable company for a newer model.

Saulinpa

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake65
Does any one notice (or am i nuts) that Live events look much better than recorded events? All the recorded events I watch (my name is earl, csi), faces and backgrounds look blocky. Live events, sports, American idle, Grammies look crystal clear! why is this? Is this a OTA thing? a camera thing? I actually noticed when I was watching the Daytona 500 that this varied camera to camera. because it varies I know its not my TV.
I think you're asking about scripted/edited shows versus real time (or nearly real time) broadcasts. In short - It's a camera thing. Most HD sitcoms/dramas are still captured on film, the way they have been for decades. This film is then developed and digitized for broadcast. Some shows, like CSI, manipulate the look of the show during post production, for "artistic effects". To me, it seems that all film tends to "flicker" somewhat, though some of this may be intentional effects...
Live sports, American Idol and the like are captured on digital video instead of film. For sporting events, broadcasters tend to use their best HD cameras for the best shots/angles, but we still see some SD (or wide SD) cameras used for car cams, blimp shots, goal cameras, etc. As HD cameras get smaller and cheaper, I expect we will see more consistent quality for sports broadcasts.

MDK

Pittsburgh PA OTA

This is a very newbie-type question, and I apologize. I'm going to be a DirecTV subscriber as of tomorrow. My install includes an OTA antenna. DirecTVs local package does not include the PBS HD package. But will I still be able to pick it up, by virtue of having an OTA and the channel being available? Does the fact that I have an OTA not mean I can pick up all local HD channels, even if DirecTV doesn't carry them?

Scott Pgh

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Not only will you be able to pick up the local channels, they'll look better than if delivered by satellite. Off the air broadcasts are higher bit rate (use less compression) than other sources of HD.

Granted, getting adequate reception can involve significant trail and error. Reception of HD digital is an all or nothing affair. If a channel doesn't come in well, you won't be able to watch it at all. Solution... move the antenna or put a larger one higher in the air.

dfiler

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler
Not only will you be able to pick up the local channels, they'll look better than if delivered by satellite. Off the air broadcasts are higher bit rate (use less compression) than other sources of HD.

Granted, getting adequate reception can involve significant trail and error. Reception of HD digital is an all or nothing affair. If a channel doesn't come in well, you won't be able to watch it at all. Solution... move the antenna or put a larger one higher in the air.
Thanks for your help.

From what I understand, the OTA is attached to the DirecTV dish. So, moving it will not be an option.

Also - how do I go about picking up the locals? I assume I will need to change my TV input to the non-satellite feed, then simply enter the channel number on the TV's tuner? Is that correct?

Scott Pgh

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Somewhere you'll need an ATSC (digital TV) tuner. These are typically built into DirectTV boxes or a new TV. Otherwise, you'll need a stand-alone tuner. The HD signal from a satellite is different from the HD signal broadcast OTA. However, some devices include tuners for both.

dfiler

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler
Somewhere you'll need an ATSC (digital TV) tuner. These are typically built into DirectTV boxes or a new TV. Otherwise, you'll need a stand-alone tuner. The HD signal from a satellite is different from the HD signal broadcast OTA. However, some devices include tuners for both.
So - you're saying it's possible I'll be able to watch the PBS-HD channel, which DirecTV doesn't carry, by using the DirecTV box, as the channel will be picked up on the OTA they supply? If this is correct, what happens if the channel number for PBS-HD already happens to be used by DirecTV for one of their other channels?

Scott Pgh

Pittsburgh PA OTA

It depends on the model number of the directTV box. I don't know much about them so i can't answer.

Unfortunately, the world of HDTV isn't exactly user friendly yet. No matter the solution, it will require a bit of knowledge and configuration. The DirectTV installer should be able to point you in the right direction.

dfiler

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Pgh
So - you're saying it's possible I'll be able to watch the PBS-HD channel, which DirecTV doesn't carry, by using the DirecTV box, as the channel will be picked up on the OTA they supply? If this is correct, what happens if the channel number for PBS-HD already happens to be used by DirecTV for one of their other channels?
If the OTA antenna is able to pick up a signal from the PBS-HD channel then it will show up as Channel # 13-1 on whatever HD receiver you are getting from DirecTV.

Deadeye

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Pgh
From what I understand, the OTA is attached to the DirecTV dish. So, moving it will not be an option.
Here's an example of what it will look like. They generally aren't that good, since you can't aim them, but if you're close enough to the transmitters it may be fine. I think they may also have an amplifier built-in.

If you give your location, andy.s.lee may be able to come up with a nice table for you showing which stations you may be able to receive.

garsh

Pittsburgh PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by garsh
Here's an example of what it will look like. They generally aren't that good, since you can't aim them, but if you're close enough to the transmitters it may be fine. I think they may also have an amplifier built-in.

If you give your location, andy.s.lee may be able to come up with a nice table for you showing which stations you may be able to receive.
Thanks, and to Deadeye too. I did look at the one site that produces a chart based on your location on the map. It broke the different channels down into red, blue and violet (not sure what the distinctions there are though).

Scott Pgh

Pittsburgh PA OTA

hey KDKA, what gives with the pitt game in low-def? CBS has 1080i equip in this venue as evidenced by the DUKE game.

pghbob

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