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Question Philadelphia PA OTA ( AVS Forum Local HDTV Info and Reception )
Updated: 2008-06-11 08:17:45 (1291)
Philadelphia PA OTA

I have started this thread, because the majority of the posts on the Philadelphia HDTV thread have been dealing w/ issues regarding Comcast, Verizon, and cable. I do not have cable, nor will I ever have cable. If you live in South Jersey, Delaware, or in and around Philadelphia and its suburbs, please feel free to post your Over-The-Air (OTA) issues, concerns, problems, comments, and discussions here. Let's try and help out one another on trying to resolve issues.

Philadelphia Area Digital Channel Listing

Call Letters (affiliation) Channel #s Transmitter Location
KYW-DT (CBS) 3.1 Roxborough
WPVI-DT (ABC) 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 Roxborough
WCAU-DT (NBC) 10.1, 10.2 Roxborough
WHYY-DT (PBS) 12.1, 12.2, 12.3 Roxborough
WPHL-DT (MNT) 17.1, 17.2 Roxborough
WYBE-DT (PBS) 35.1 Roxborough
WGTW-DT (TBN) 48.1 Roxborough
WPSG-DT (CW) 57.1 Roxborough

*Roxborough is a neighborhood in the city of Philadelphia.

Please help me edit this list and keep it up to date!

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

my directv guide data was fine that night...yes us DTVers get OTA guide from the sats.

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler
I used to get guide data on WCAU. No more. *sigh*
I tried HDOTA on my OnAir GT last night, I got no guide data for WCAU either. All other channels had guide data(KYW,WPVI,WPHL,WTXF,WPSG, and a couple other non-major networks, WYBE,WPPX,WGTV, etc)

ak3883

Philadelphia PA OTA

alright, I am completely clueless about HD Antennae and how they work...

I want to purchase one that goes on the roof as I plan to have HD reception in the living room and basement..

I live in the Mayfair area of Philadelphia which is near the Tacony Palmyra Bridge...

is there anything I should know before doing this?....I've had Comcast and Direct TV before and am fed up with both as they make it sound as if there is always something to watch....when it is quite rare to find anything to watch on TV....I only watch HD channels anyways like Discovery but can do without it for the 200+ dollars we spend monthly...

anyways, if you have any suggestions as to which kind of antennae is best for under 150.00, please inform me...

I found one that caught my eye at amazon, but I'm not allowed to post URL's yet

your help is greatly appreciated..

HDBlurayFan

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by HDBlurayFan
alright, I am completely clueless about HD Antennae and how they work...

I want to purchase one that goes on the roof as I plan to have HD reception in the living room and basement..

I live in the Mayfair area of Philadelphia which is near the Tacony Palmyra Bridge...

is there anything I should know before doing this?....I've had Comcast and Direct TV before and am fed up with both as they make it sound as if there is always something to watch....when it is quite rare to find anything to watch on TV....I only watch HD channels anyways like Discovery but can do without it for the 200+ dollars we spend monthly...

anyways, if you have any suggestions as to which kind of antennae is best for under 150.00, please inform me...

I found one that caught my eye at amazon, but I'm not allowed to post URL's yet

your help is greatly appreciated..
You shouldn't have a problem receiving a digital signal from the Roxborough towers. Have you tried http://www.antennaweb.org? You can go with a Channel Master 3016 or 3018, and you'll be fine for receiving the signals you want. No need to spend $150 on an antenna. Those two are about $50 or so. Good luck!

newsman

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by newsman
You shouldn't have a problem receiving a digital signal from the Roxborough towers.You can go with a Channel Master 3016 or 3018, and you'll be fine for receiving the signals you want. No need to spend $150 on an antenna. Those two are about $50 or so. Good luck!
oh okay sounds good to me...preciate the help...


HDBlurayFan

Philadelphia PA OTA

Yo HDBlurayFan - Welcome to AVS forum. There's another site, developed by one of the members of the AVS forum. Try http://tvfool.com/. Select the " Checking Your Address for Free TV". I think it's better than antennaweb. Also check out the 3-D terrain maps.

You might just try sticking a pair of rabbit ears out the window. The higher the better.

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by HDBlurayFan
oh okay sounds good to me...preciate the help...

You should be aware of the unfortunate situation that in Feb 2009, when analog OTA goes off the air, WPVI will be moving from UHF to Channel 6, VHF LO, and WHYY will be moving to Channel 12, VHF Hi. You most likely will require a VHF/UHF antenna to receive those channels, not just a UHF only antenna.

wbertram

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by wbertram
You should be aware of the unfortunate situation that in Feb 2009, when analog OTA goes off the air, WPVI will be moving from UHF to Channel 6, VHF LO, and WHYY will be moving to Channel 12, VHF Hi. You most likely will require a VHF/UHF antenna to receive those channels, not just a UHF only antenna.
The Channel Master antennas I listed are VHF/UHF capable.

newsman

Philadelphia PA OTA

I am completely clueless on this department...it's amazing how much I know about HDM and how little I know about this topic...

when I read up on this stuff...it's pretty much greek

but I appreciate everyone's help on this topic...I was told this was the spot to go for info and this has been more than enough...

thanks for the input..

HDBlurayFan

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler
I used to get guide data on WCAU. No more. *sigh*
I'm not getting OTA guide data on WCAU either. I've got it everywhere else so it's obviously something that's going on w/ WCAU. Try emailing them about it if you can find an email address (ask them to forward it to their engineering department).

One of my Samsung boxes quit receiving guide data altogether recently. The other box was getting it fine, so I just rebooted the box and that solved the problem. Had to unplug it to reboot it (couldn't figure out any other way to do it although there may well be one) and that did the trick.

My engineer contact at WLVT updated me on that problem and he said that the manufacturer of that particular piece of equipment that's causing the problem isn't much help in coming up w/ a solution, so they are going to try to acquire new equipment (if they can find the $$).

Clearly, there are a lot of bugs to work out w/ this changeover to digital. And not a lot of time left to get it done. But all in all, this is really sweet TV from where I sit. I've now been getting it for just about exactly one year and I am loving it.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Just got a heads-up from HDTV mag on a new column that's pretty interesting (he says "steel" when (I think) he should have said "steal") -

http://www.hdtvmagazine.com/columns/..._free_hdtv.php

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

I live in Jenkintown and I'm wondering why I can't get the local CBS station (3.1). I can get all the other networks with just a paperclip on the back of my TV. According to antennaweb and tvfool, I'm only 7 miles from the CBS station antenna. My Sony TV has signal diagnostics and I see that I'm getting pretty strong signals from NBC, FOX, and ABC. However, I get nothing for CBS. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

a10thunder

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by a10thunder
I live in Jenkintown and I'm wondering why I can't get the local CBS station (3.1). I can get all the other networks with just a paperclip on the back of my TV. According to antennaweb and tvfool, I'm only 7 miles from the CBS station antenna. My Sony TV has signal diagnostics and I see that I'm getting pretty strong signals from NBC, FOX, and ABC. However, I get nothing for CBS. I would appreciate any help you can give me.
That does seem strange, CBS might very well be the most powerful signal - would seem crazy, but maybe the signal is so strong it is somehow screwing something up? Don't know. Have you tried tuning to channel 26 (the actual frequency they are currently broadcasting on)? Were you serious about the paperclip? Try some rabbit ears or something...

TraderGordo

Philadelphia PA OTA

Next guess is multipath. Try turning the paper clip 90 degrees. Can you get WHYY-DT? If so, count yourself lucky.

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by a10thunder
I live in Jenkintown and I'm wondering why I can't get the local CBS station (3.1). I can get all the other networks with just a paperclip on the back of my TV. According to antennaweb and tvfool, I'm only 7 miles from the CBS station antenna. My Sony TV has signal diagnostics and I see that I'm getting pretty strong signals from NBC, FOX, and ABC. However, I get nothing for CBS. I would appreciate any help you can give me.
Sounds like this could be related to the fact that CBS has been "datacasting" for a few months now. As a result, my VOOM boxes can no longer properly process KYW's signal whereas prior to the datacasting, I was getting KYW fine on the VOOMs.

I would think that your Sony could handle that situation, but maybe not. I'd investigate that angle if I were you. Just a suggestion.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by wbertram
You should be aware of the unfortunate situation that in Feb 2009, when analog OTA goes off the air, WPVI will be moving from UHF to Channel 6, VHF LO, and WHYY will be moving to Channel 12, VHF Hi. You most likely will require a VHF/UHF antenna to receive those channels, not just a UHF only antenna.
thankfully with the directv new receivers that's not an issue for me anymore

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

Aren't the other local stations datacasting as well? I just got a Sony SXRD and I used a paperclip for a week and got ABC, NBC, and FOX with no problems at all. Since then, I've tried a set of rabbit ears and an amplified antenna with no success receiving CBS HD. According to tvfool, the ABC and CBS signals are probably broadcasting from the same tower. The ABC signal is crystal clear while I get nothing from CBS. I'm beginning to wonder if there's something wrong with my TV.

a10thunder

Philadelphia PA OTA

I assume you mean KYW-DT on channel 26. See if you can find a "peak" on a couple of NTSC channels that are close to 26. Go to tvfool.com and run a locator for all digital and analog channels.

Note that you have 35 (WYBE) and 29 (WTXF) NTSC on the same compass heading. How do they look? Find the peak for those stations, then flip to KYW-DT and see if it helps. You can track the NTSC stations down into the mud, so it's real easy to use them for debugging the ATSC stations.

Can you get WHYY-DT? Not many can. Just wondering.

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by a10thunder
I live in Jenkintown and I'm wondering why I can't get the local CBS station (3.1). I can get all the other networks with just a paperclip on the back of my TV. According to antennaweb and tvfool, I'm only 7 miles from the CBS station antenna. My Sony TV has signal diagnostics and I see that I'm getting pretty strong signals from NBC, FOX, and ABC. However, I get nothing for CBS. I would appreciate any help you can give me.
That is weird...26 has always been very strong for me (even got when my DB8 was inside my attic) and i'm 40 miles out. From my angle, i would get 26, 32, 54, 64 67 all pretty good but to get in 42 strong took centimeter by centimeter moving of the DB8 since 42 is 2 degrees off the rest for me.

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

Is that this one: http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=family
by chance? How big is that?

6.1 is 720p; that's how they're broadcasting.
12 kinda sucks these days but we all hope they'll get better after the analog shutoff in 2009

TydalForce

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by TydalForce
Is that this one: http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=family
by chance? How big is that?

6.1 is 720p; that's how they're broadcasting.
12 kinda sucks these days but we all hope they'll get better after the analog shutoff in 2009
Yup that's the one it's Model# 15-2187. It's the about the diameter of a pizza and about 4 inches thick.

rygamer

Philadelphia PA OTA

WCAU (NBC) is really driving me nuts. They have finally resolved, or at least minimized, the lip-sync issue. Now we have the white sparklies to deal with. It seems to happen most in black areas of the screen.

flyersfan

Philadelphia PA OTA

changes in season always screw up my ota. I dont know why. shouldnt less leaves mean better signal? I've been getting dropouts across the board. but most shows are 99% watchable

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by rygamer
Hey all,

I bought a radio shack atenna (it looks kinda like a big silver/grey frisbee) and it works great. I didn't even mount it on the roof. I just laid it on my porch angled upwards and I got alot of digital channels. The only one I had problems with was channel 12. I wonder what channels i would get if i put it way up on my roof.

Channel 6.1 was not as good as 3.1, 10.1 and 29.1. I noticed 6.1 is coming in at 720p, is that what everyone else is getting?

It's amazing most people don't even know u can get hd channels over the air.
I have the same antenna as you, i am just trying to find someone to mount the antenna to my chimney, but yeah it does very well so where you located, and what have you been able to pickup so far?

LMolineux

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by newsposter
changes in season always screw up my ota. I dont know why. shouldnt less leaves mean better signal? I've been getting dropouts across the board. but most shows are 99% watchable
new spots of multipathing, its got alot of new learning paths for us as we currently see. All of us here who are using HD are learning more and more as we go along.

LMolineux

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by newsposter
changes in season always screw up my ota. I dont know why. shouldnt less leaves mean better signal? I've been getting dropouts across the board. but most shows are 99% watchable
If you are pointing through the leaves, yes. However, multipath is also dependent on buildings, structures, and whatever else it finds convenient to bounce off of on its way to your antenna. Maybe you can find a sweet spot for each season. Turn back the clocks, turn the rotator 10 deg. Don't forget to crank in some windage.

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

i've just been getting dropouts on my samsung 451 stb, my dvico gold card is solid. i've been thinking of getting a newer stb that can handle the multipath issues better

steedums

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekGirl
If you are pointing through the leaves, yes. However, multipath is also dependent on buildings, structures, and whatever else it finds convenient to bounce off of on its way to your antenna. Maybe you can find a sweet spot for each season. Turn back the clocks, turn the rotator 10 deg. Don't forget to crank in some windage.
No rotator but an interesting idea.

actually the more i think about it, i think it's that darn amp in the attic. I'm going to have to just bite the bullet and replace it with a preamp. Sure would be the cheapest route to discovery of the issue

now to pick one out...

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by steedums
i've just been getting dropouts on my samsung 451 stb, my dvico gold card is solid. i've been thinking of getting a newer stb that can handle the multipath issues better
The difference between my Samsung DLP(2005 model year, HLR's) and my OnAir GT portable USB tuner(5th gen tuner, 2007 sometime) is very noticable. For the strong stations(big 4 networks) the Samsung is fine, but for the ones on the fringe(independant stations, PBS), my OnAir GT(with the tiny little 12'' antenna, it's a portable USB tuner for PC) gets stations the TV doesn't with an indoor antenna(non-amplified), and it's down on the floor in the corner by the leg of my corner desk unit, it's not even on a window sill.

I know they have made improvements to fringe reception in the latest tuners, and I can verify that firsthand.

ak3883

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by newsposter
actually the more i think about it, i think it's that darn amp in the attic.
In the attic? Is it a preamp or a "regular" distribution amp? They don't have the noise figure (front-end sensitivity) that a preamp has. You also need to mount them right up next to the antenna, hence the "pre" part of the pre-amp. Try taking it out (use adapter to connect the 2 pieces together) and see if it gets worse. If not, it certainly wasn't helping anything, so just leave it out.

Channel Master makes some good stuff. Lots of info in the AVS HDTV reception hardware forum. Check out this sticky: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=546066

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

Okay, now I'm pissed.

I've been quite satisfied with OTA digital up to now even tho' I do have some issues with my Voom receiver. Most notably with ch 39's two substations, 39.3 & 39.4. I don't get anything on 39.4 and I get 39.1's programming on 39.3. It's something with the signal they are broadcasting and my Voom's reception of their signal. I get 39.1 just fine

But just now I tuned to 3.1 to watch Survivor and it is now causing my Voom to reboot every time I tune to it.

WTF??!!!!!!!

This is actually a known problem for the Voom box as far as some PBS stations go, but I've yet to hear of it happening with anything other than a PBS station.

I'm not liking this development.

Is anybody else seeing anything strange with KYW 3.1?

It just started today. Wasn't there last night or even very early this morning.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Is ABC now dropping out for anyone? It happened last night during Dirty Sexy Money, now it's happening on Ugly Betty. I'm getting it via RCN cable in the Lehigh Valley but they don't transcode so dropouts are rarely a fault on the cable co's end for our OTA channels.

flyersfan

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekGirl
In the attic? Is it a preamp or a "regular" distribution amp? They don't have the noise figure (front-end sensitivity) that a preamp has. You also need to mount them right up next to the antenna, hence the "pre" part of the pre-amp. Try taking it out (use adapter to connect the 2 pieces together) and see if it gets worse. If not, it certainly wasn't helping anything, so just leave it out.
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Oh it's a must..get almost no signal with it out of there and just a bullet. I tried it. And it's better amplification than the one preamp the antenna installer wanted to sell me. We tried his. As we also tried another antenna (i had DB8 myself). But since hitting the trap always makes the picture better, i know it's the distribution amp itself.

Im gonna get a 7777 and hopefully resolve all these issues once and for all. I think the leviton in the uninsulated attic caused it to deteriorate every year or so.

I've read you dont need the preamp right near the antenna and as i dont do roofs, i will be mounting it inside the attic and keeping my fingers crossed. After all, if the crappy distribution amp worked, the wonderful preamp should I hope

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Max

Is anybody else seeing anything strange with KYW 3.1?
.
all my shows this week on cbs were perfect. tonight will be a few more but probably wont watch them until tomorrow but will post back if i remember

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Max
Okay, now I'm pissed.



Is anybody else seeing anything strange with KYW 3.1?morning.
Well today when i did a rescan CBS3 3-1 didnt happen to REMAP. It came in clear on 26-1, but not remapped to 3-1 like it should currently.

Also for future referance here Remapping is that going to be an issue when Feb 18th 2009 comes around?

LMolineux

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by LMolineux
Well today when i did a rescan CBS3 3-1 didnt happen to REMAP. It came in clear on 26-1, but not remapped to 3-1 like it should currently.
Also for future referance here Remapping is that going to be an issue when Feb 18th 2009 comes around?
I did a rescan myself, but nothing changed. It's still showing up as 3.1 and it's still bombing out my Voom. But your information tells me that they definitely changed something. Which I guess I already knew -- but your result seems to confirm it.

I sent them an email thru the KYW website but haven't yet found any direct email address for their engineering department so who knows if it will ever get to the right folks. Not that it would help any. I'm guessing that there's a reason for whatever they did to their signal and they ain't going to be changing it for some guy with an old Voom box.

Your last comment is what's really worrying me. I have a feeling that there will be lots of changes when the transition gets here and I don't think any of these stations will give a hoot about OTA folks. I guess I will have to eventually buy an 8th or 9th or whatever generation receiver and hope for the best.

But this situation really ticks me off. I just wish I knew enough about this stuff to understand what it is that they did and why it does what it does to my Voom box.

If you look back to my posts earlier this summer you'll see my prior situation with NJN's signal and my Voom. That problem was quickly resolved by one of the NJN engineers (Rick Williams) and he was genuinely concerned about the conflict. He also knew exactly what what the problem was and took care of it.

If every broadcaster had the same attitude, that would certainly be a help.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

I'm lost, why would something change in 09 for the stations that didnt change designations? And even when they do change why wouldnt rescan solve it?

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by LMolineux
Well today when i did a rescan CBS3 3-1 didnt happen to REMAP. It came in clear on 26-1, but not remapped to 3-1 like it should currently.

Also for future referance here Remapping is that going to be an issue when Feb 18th 2009 comes around?
Are you talking about KYW over cable? That exact sentance you said is happening currently on Comcast cable down by us in Philly.

I tuned into KYW actually on wed night OTA, punched in digital 26 and it went right to 3-1. But I haven't tried since then, can definetly try when I get home today.

To answer your other question, remapping should stay the same in Feb 2009 OTA, it's the actual channel frequencies that will change for some stations. For cable, Comcast can remap as they please, anywhere anytime.

T-Max-

Down here in Philly, Comcast cable has been playing around with the PSIP mappings for the HD locals. KYW remaps to 26-1, the real channel/frequency on the cable line is 90-2. Used to remap to 3-1 up until a couple months ago. I guess as a result of doing this, the other PSIP data(program title, time) has been stripped off as well.

ak3883

Philadelphia PA OTA

Well no this not over comcraps lines that KYW is mapping only to 26-1 i went over to my Antenna Source and it will not remap to 3-1 but only to 26-1. My set is about a year and 2 months old and i am not sure of its generational details, if anyone has a clue to where i can find that it would be great thank you. Its an Insigna set from Bestbuy (must be a low end Zienth or something renamed to be branded for Bestbuy) and it is a great set none the less its a FLAT TUBE amazingly with amazing picture quality. But i am going to be replacing alot of my wires with Quad Shield RG-6. Cant Afford RG-11 yet o0r QR320.

LMolineux

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by ak3883
T-Max-
Down here in Philly, Comcast cable has been playing around with the PSIP mappings for the HD locals. KYW remaps to 26-1, the real channel/frequency on the cable line is 90-2. Used to remap to 3-1 up until a couple months ago. I guess as a result of doing this, the other PSIP data(program title, time) has been stripped off as well.
I'm talking strictly OTA using a Voom box (now defunct satellite company). I'm quite confident that the problem I'm having is a result of some change that KYW has made in its signal. As I said before, this is a known problem with the Voom boxes, but I've only seen mention of it in regard to some PBS stations. I don't think anyone ever figured out exactly what the problem is, but I've read that it probably has something to do with "datacasting" being included in the signal.

Here's a link on it, with one poster noting:

This is the quote sent from the manufacturers, "Our findings were that the Voom Motorola DSR550 either hangs or reboots when it comes across a data casting signal. This occurs with our deployment merging data from a Triveni inserter through an LI mux or any datacast found through other stations. Unfortunately the only solution is to have the Voom user remove or lock out the station from their presets."

http://www.satelliteguys.us/motorola...m-tos-use.html

Another poster on that thread stated -

I think ATSC was designed with datacasting in mind so I bet the voom box in at fault

I've read that the Voom boxes aren't fully ATSC compatible, and that's apparently why they have this problem.

Another poster there noted that he believes that all broadcasters may eventually datacast, and I suspect he's right. I didn't have this problem until yesterday. I watch KYW all the time, so I know it just started.

Guess I won't be watching it any more unless I get a new tuner or they change their signal again.

No word from the station on my email. They ain't gonna respond, I'm sure.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by newsposter
Im gonna get a 7777 and hopefully resolve all these issues once and for all.
I've got the 7776 (UHF only) version. Do you want to match the preamp with your antenna (DB8), which is also UHF only? Then again, you won't have to change the preamp when ATSC starts up in 2009 for VHF. I'll have to change both. Using CM3023 UHF only yagi.

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

Hmmm, KYW remaps fine to 3-1 still for me, on my 2.5 year old Samsung DLP TV.

ak3883

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekGirl
I've got the 7776 (UHF only) version. Do you want to match the preamp with your antenna (DB8), which is also UHF only? Then again, you won't have to change the preamp when ATSC starts up in 2009 for VHF. I'll have to change both. Using CM3023 UHF only yagi.
Well if my new dvr from directv is installed today (line of sight issues) or if i can do it myself at a decent expense, i will have no need to worry about 6 as it will come in over the satellite. And if i do need to add a vhf i'm hoping 6's signal is strong enough that i can put a tiny antenna somewhere where I (i dont climb on roofs) can install it then use a jointenna.

Plus the noise level on the 7777 appears to be the lowest so id think someone even with no vhf should get it. but i'm just reading numbers on a sheet and listening to advice, i dont know about such things. That's why i come here

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

Hey, I'm a student at West Chester and looking for a decent antenna to pull in OTA HD. I have an OnAirGT USB tuner and using Vista Media Center (thus the need for OTA). Any suggestions for an antenna?

wiredstudent

Philadelphia PA OTA

How you tried a cheap set of rabbit ears? You need to see how much antenna you really need. Your best shot is as high as possible near a window pointing in the direction of Roxborough. Use the NTSC (analog) stations as an indication since you can see the signal all the way down to the noise. ATSC (digital) stations will drop out all of a sudden and not give you much info to go on (unless you have a built-in signal strength meter in the software).

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by LMolineux
Well no this not over comcraps lines that KYW is mapping only to 26-1 i went over to my Antenna Source and it will not remap to 3-1 but only to 26-1. My set is about a year and 2 months old and i am not sure of its generational details, if anyone has a clue to where i can find that it would be great thank you. Its an Insigna set from Bestbuy (must be a low end Zienth or something renamed to be branded for Bestbuy) and it is a great set none the less its a FLAT TUBE amazingly with amazing picture quality. But i am going to be replacing alot of my wires with Quad Shield RG-6. Cant Afford RG-11 yet o0r QR320.
i found that beldin 1694a seemed to be the best rg6, and is dual shielded, 95% coverage. might want to look at that.

steedums

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by wiredstudent
Hey, I'm a student at West Chester and looking for a decent antenna to pull in OTA HD. I have an OnAirGT USB tuner and using Vista Media Center (thus the need for OTA). Any suggestions for an antenna?
Just go to rat shack and get one, or Target and if it doesn't satisfy you with it's reception, return it and exchange for a different model.

Also be sure to go to AntennaWeb, while most of their info on antenna selection is geared towards outdoor antennas, it can give you the direction to point, and your distance from the towers, as well as one handy list of all the digital frequencies for the Philly stations(which are NOT the same as analog and not advertised/mentioned at all by the stations to avoid more confusion).

I have the OnAir as well, and I've hooked it up to an indoor antenna, I found it performs no better than the dinky little 12'' antenna included with it. Granted though, all it is using is the little UHF loop for an antenna, it's not optimized for digital or anything. Don't need one that specifically says for HDTV, but those are often shaped/constructed for optimal reception of digital signals.

Aren't "rabbit ears" the two dipole extendable sticks that are used for VHF? Technically, that wouldn't be the best for UHF digital, would it?

The OnAir's tuner is fantastic at picking up digital stations, especially on the fringe, does a much better job than my 2 year old TV's ATSC tuner.

ak3883

Philadelphia PA OTA

Has anyone in the 20-30 mile range had any luck with the Radio Shack gray disc antenna?

wiredstudent

Philadelphia PA OTA

Anyone else having issues with tuning in to WPVI tonite?

I'm having trouble tuning in... it'll get choppy / pixel'y for a good minute or so after tuning in, then smoothout for a while, then get choppy again... BUT I'm perfectly fine on all my other stations.

TydalForce

Philadelphia PA OTA

Ain't technology great?

I'm settling in to watch the Tribe kick the dreaded-hated Red Sox' butt and WTXF 29.1 goes completely dead at ~8PM (3rd inning)

It's still out and flatlined w/ zeros straight across the board.

I've got it on analog UHF 29, but nada on 29.1

Tribe up 4-0, top of the 6th but 2 on w/ 1 out and Manny at the plate.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

WTXF is coming in loud and clear for me...

Funny how it goes out when you want it the most...

TydalForce

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by TydalForce
WTXF is coming in loud and clear for me...

Funny how it goes out when you want it the most...
It wuz back at 9:39 and is coming in loud and clear for me now as well (9:55 now). Don't know when it came back but it was still out after I posted.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

How's your WPVI? I've been having issues with them all night, not sure what to blame

TydalForce

Philadelphia PA OTA

Eh, my WPVI issues seem to have been antenna related. A small nudge cleared it right up (a *really* small nudge). Just was unusual for me and 6, especially when I was getting great signal on all the other stations.

Still be curious if anyone else happened to encounter weirdness with WPVI tonite... something odd in the air, perhaps? ;-}

TydalForce

Philadelphia PA OTA

No TV for the past couple of days. My Dish Network receiver crapped out on Sunday evening. So, I haven't been able to watch much, except what Tivo recorded before then. Stay away from the 222 receivers from Dish.

newsman

Philadelphia PA OTA

I'm in Northern New Jersey about 72 miles from Philadelphia. WTFX would usually come in about once a month,but for the last few weeks the signal has been strong in the evening and received with some beakups during the day. Prior to late-Sept I never received the signal during the day. Digital 29 has increased the antenna height and/or power. 3,6,10,17,35,and 57 digital were all previously receivable. Tuesday night was the first time I had problems with WTFX-Hd at night. For minutes at a time the signal was non-existant.

rcodey

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcodey
I'm in Northern New Jersey about 72 miles from Philadelphia. WTFX would usually come in about once a month,but for the last few weeks the signal has been strong in the evening and received with some beakups during the day. Prior to late-Sept I never received the signal during the day. Digital 29 has increased the antenna height and/or power. 3,6,10,17,35,and 57 digital were all previously receivable. Tuesday night was the first time I had problems with WTFX-Hd at night. For minutes at a time the signal was non-existant.
Could be fall foliage interrupting your signal. Could be atmospheric conditions. Could be lots of things. Why aren't you attempting to get the NY locals? Philly news stations don't cover your area.

newsman

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcodey
I'm in Northern New Jersey about 72 miles from Philadelphia. ...Tuesday night was the first time I had problems with WTFX-Hd at night. For minutes at a time the signal was non-existant.
I also had the same situation with 29.1 last night. I seriously doubt it was anything atmospheric or foliage-related. I suspect it's something to do with Fox's feed of the games from Cleveland since it's now happened both nights. I was watching on my big non-Philly-oriented antenna and I considered switching to my other Philly-oriented antenna but I was too lazy to do it. Now that I see you observed the same thing, I'm glad I didn't bother. I've been getting 29.1 very strong @ 90% on that big antenna and there's no reason for it to be as spotty as it was last night unless it's something going on with their signal. I did switch to the other antenna Monday night and it was still flatlined at zero so obviously it was something at their end. I'd bet that was also the case last night.

Were you watching on Monday night? You say last night was the first time you've had problems so I assume you weren't because it was completely out for me from ~ 8 pm - ~ 9:30 pm.

I'm ~ 60 miles out and you've topped me on that score. But I'm pretty much lower down and I suspect you may be higher up since you're in West Orange, which would probably give you an advantage over me. Still, 72 miles is pretty far out.

Man.

If you read back a page or 2 you'll see where we all noted the strong increase in 29.1's signal all of a sudden.
--
Update: I just checked it now (10:30 am) and it's topping out at 81 on both antennas (and jumping around from 0-81). I suspect that they are working on things during the day since they've obviously made a recent change which has increased their signal. Makes sense that they'd fiddle with it during the day rather than at night.
--
2nd Update: Oich! Right after I posted that update I went back to shut off my equipment and it was up into the 90's. So I'd have to say they are working on their equipment, etc.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

fyi 29-1 is down. My HDtivo had a signal on one tuner only so i thought it broke. But then my other HDtivo had the same thing

turned to my new HR20 and direct had a message up that the station was down

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

I'm 500 feet up on the first mountain range in West Orange. Once again 29 digital is MIA tonight-nothing from 7:30 to 8:00pm. All my normal philly digital signals are coming in.
Newsman:
I can also receive Ny with no problem-like to watch the 4pm newscast on KYW and WPVI news at 12 on Sunday. Philadelphia covers NJ better than NY stations. Also Phillies games on 57,NFL on Sunday.

rcodey

Philadelphia PA OTA

As of 8:15 PM, 29-1 is up but it seems weak signal. I don't know what the "normal" signal strength should be, but my tuner is catching it intermittently- not reliable. 29 seems OK.

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekGirl
As of 8:15 PM, 29-1 is up but it seems weak signal. I don't know what the "normal" signal strength should be, but my tuner is catching it intermittently- not reliable. 29 seems OK.
Now 2:05 PM Thursday and it's the same as you observed -- there but very weak. It's 0-83 and I need 84 to get any picture at all (85 for essentially issue-free reception). I'm getting no picture at all. It should be 90+ based on the increased power it started putting out recently.

I'll probably switch to NYC (9.2) for the game tonight unless 29.1 starts coming in strong by game time.
---
Now (6 pm) it's back @ pretty solid 85 and completely watchable for past 15 minutes although there are momentary drops down to 84 w/ no adverse effect.
---
BTW, would anybody care to chime in w/ their opinion/experience w/ the Samsung SIR-TS360 receiver/tuner? I believe this is the unit that was made for Direct TV. They are popping up on ebay rather frequently but I've heard conflicting reports about 'em.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

At 7:45 PM, 29-1 is rock steady. Due to conflict with the Flyers tonight on Comcast-HD, I'll be watching on FiOS.

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

As of 11am today, Fox 29.1 is pegged at 100 on my signal level.

newsman

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekGirl
At 7:45 PM, 29-1 is rock steady. Due to conflict with the Flyers tonight on Comcast-HD, I'll be watching on FiOS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsman
As of 11am today, Fox 29.1 is pegged at 100 on my signal level.
Ya, it was strong last night and I stayed with it thru the whole ballgame. Looks like they got things back on track although I haven't checked it yet today (2:09 pm now). I suspect many stations will be scrambling around for awhile getting ready for the transition.

No peeps on the SIR-TS360?

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Anybody have any problems with NJT 52.5 last night? That's the HD channel that broadcasts from 8 pm to midnight only. I got no programming on it at all and that's the first time that's happened.

BTW, I pulled the trigger and picked up a Samsung TS360 on ebay over the weekend. Actually, I won 2 of them but the first seller backed out of the deal claiming the unit had gotten damaged in packing and didn't work any more so he refunded my money. So I bid on and won another one for about the same total $$ (~$35.00).

From what I can tell, these boxes are a bit of a crap-shoot in several regards. But it's not a lot of $$, so I took the leap.

Also from what I can tell, perhaps the best bang for the buck at this time is Samsung's DTB-H260F, which is a 5th generation box and getting pretty much rave reviews. That can be had new for under $100 on ebay (and elsewhere).

But I'll give this TS360 a go and see how it does.

If the guy actually sends it to me, that is. I haven't had any peeps from him since the auction ended and I paid.
--
WNJN 52.5 (HD) came back tonight at 8:10 pm. I dunno what was going on last night.

BTW, it seems there's no more 17.3? I re-scanned last night (because of the 52.5 situation) and didn't pick up 17.3. It's still locked from a prior scan, but I'm not getting anything on it.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Max
Okay, now I'm pissed... just now I tuned to 3.1 to watch Survivor and it is now causing my Voom to reboot every time I tune to it....
Well, KYW is back to normal and NOT causing my Voom to reboot. That's good news for sure. I assume they made the appropriate adjustment to their signal. Perhaps they got some complaints?

Anyway, I'm happy about this development. I hope things stay this way. I bought the Samsumg box primarily to get around this problem. Now it seems I no longer have the problem.


T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Max
BTW, it seems there's no more 17.3? I re-scanned last night (because of the 52.5 situation) and didn't pick up 17.3. It's still locked from a prior scan, but I'm not getting anything on it.
17.3 moved to 17.2 when "The Tube", formerly on 17.2, went out of business Oct 1. The 17.3 subchannel was vacated, so new scans won't find it.

frank70

Philadelphia PA OTA

Is anyone having any ongoing problems with the audio on 29.1? Ive had a problem for about 3 weeks now. All my other digital signals are fine...and so is 29 analog. However the digital signal is almost unwatchable due to the audio drop outs.

THis is not a signal issue. I'm at 98% all the time. I thought for sure it was their transmission, but I don't see many other people complaining so now I'm thinking a problem with my receiver.

But...if its my receiver, why only a problem on 29?

I've tried contacting WTXF from their website, but they never respond.

edfiero

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by edfiero
Is anyone having any ongoing problems with the audio on 29.1? Ive had a problem for about 3 weeks now. All my other digital signals are fine...and so is 29 analog. However the digital signal is almost unwatchable due to the audio drop outs.
Saw "House" last night on 29.1 and nary a glitch, video or audio. Not a comprehensive study, just one data point.

frank70

Philadelphia PA OTA

Thanks Frank. I was watching House too, and had to shut it off due to the audio drops. Sure sounds like it's my receiver, since you had no problem. Is it possible for one receive to be more suseptible to a problem like this than another?

edfiero

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by edfiero
Thanks Frank. I was watching House too, and had to shut it off due to the audio drops. Sure sounds like it's my receiver, since you had no problem. Is it possible for one receive to be more suseptible to a problem like this than another?
Yes. Just ask T-Max. His receiver was crapping out because of something that KYW-DT was doing. Maybe they were sending him virii? What receiver do you have? How old is it? The newer receivers seem to be immune from a lot of bad data.

newsman

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by newsman
Yes. Just ask T-Max. His receiver was crapping out because of something that KYW-DT was doing. Maybe they were sending him virii? What receiver do you have? How old is it? The newer receivers seem to be immune from a lot of bad data.
I agree with newsman that it could be your receiver, depending on what receiver you're using. I know for a fact that my Voom box has issues as per my prior posts, so it's possible that other boxes might have some issues as well.

Indeed, I also have an "audio drop" problem with WLVT 39.1, as well as other problems with 39.3 and 39.4 which I've mentioned previously. The audio problem is weird because it generally happens early in the program and then pretty much goes away after a few minutes. Or maybe it doesn't go away and I just get used to it and tune it out (but I think not). It's just a very momentary audio drop of ~ 1 second or less, but it IS annoying.

Since no one else observed the WXTF problem, I'd have to say it's something with your equipment. I'm getting the idea that each of the various set top boxes have their own individual quirks and I'm guessing these little problems will persist until things settle down eventually, which could be long after the transition date. I'm not enough of a geek to understand all this stuff, but I do think I'm correct in saying that these boxes involve both hardware and software -- they are basically computers. Thus, some issues are resolved via software updates -- they are basically software "bugs" that the geeks figure out and resolve via "updates." I suspect that had Voom remained in business for another year or so, the bug I had with KYW's signal (a known bug for some PBS stations' signals) would have been resolved via an update to the boxes' software, done via Voom's satellite. Since Voom is no longer in business, there are no further updates to come and we Voom owners are stuck with the bugs that these boxes presently have. That's why I was so pleased to see KYW make whatever adjustment they made. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to get them on my Voom box.

Just FYI, the Voom problem is apparently a "datacasting" problem, which is apparently a software problem. When a station "datacasts" (includes extra data in it's signal -- I presume guide data and such), the Voom cannot recognize this data (cuz I guess it's not programmed to recognize it) and thus that data causes a conflict in the program which is treated as an error which then causes the box to reboot. Thus, every time you tune to that station the box reboots. It just cannot process the signal from that station because of the additional data which it cannot recognize.

A software problem.

Knowing what equipment you have would be helpful, as newsman already noted. Perhaps your box has a known problem that's been documented.

Given how it goes with technology, gadgets and gizmos, I suspect that datacasting will become more and more prevalent and thus may become more and more of a problem. Ya'd like to think that there'd be some standard set that would prevent broadcasters from including this extra stuff, or that the box manufacturers would be compelled to make their boxes fully compliant, but I ain't holding my breath waiting for that to happen. What's the guy gonna do when he lays out major bucks for a super duper TV with an on-board tuner that bombs out every time he tunes to KYW 3.1?

I know I'd be pissed.

All TV's manufactured after a certain date (which I think was June of this year) are required to have on-board digital tuners. So you'd like to think that the folks in charge of all this know what they're doing. But I'm not so sure that they do and I expect lots of problems down the road.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Thanks T-max. I have a Dish Network 942 DVR. I receive the Philly local channels OTA, rather than pay Dish 5 bucks a month for what I can get for Free.

What's weird is that I've had this receiver for 9 months, and it worked fine until I started noticing this problem about 3 weeks ago. I checked the software version, thinking they gave me a software update , but its the same version I've had for months.

Would WTXF have changed their signal in some way?

edfiero

Philadelphia PA OTA

edfiero, I am in a similar situation to you. I have the DN Vip222 receiver. I receive the Philly locals the same way you do, and because of the same reason as you. I have not seen the problems you describe... at least not yet. If I do, I'll post here.

newsman

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by edfiero
...Would WTXF have changed their signal in some way?
Yes, they may well have. I had a problem back in July w/ WNJT 52.1 and contacted the station about it. See the posts from back then. The station engineer was very interested and took care of the problem very quickly. He changed something about their signal although unfortunately I can't remember what he said it was (we spoke on the phone about it).

The problem I was seeing was that I would suddenly lose sync between the audio and video. Then it would sometimes deteriorate into "robot movements" as well. This problem just cropped up out of the blue after 6+ months of watching 52.1 and it turned out that it was because they had changed something about their signal. I wish I could remember what he said it was, but I can't. Anyway, he suspected what the problem was and emailed me saying -

I would like to make an adjustment and then verify that your Voom device is working properly.

I got the impression he knew exactly what the problem was. He made the adjustment and the problem was no more.

So, "yes," it's quite possible that WTXF has changed its signal and that's the cause of your problem. I suspect that stations are or will be changing their signals quite a bit from here on out to transition and beyond.

You might try contacting them and seeing if you can get to an engineer about it. He may or may not help you and may or may not level with you about any changes they may have made. But it wouldn't hurt to try.

I'm not familiar with how Dish Network works, but it sounds like you can pay them $5 / month and get the locals via satellite OR not pay them and use their OTA tuner for free. If you're not violating their policy by using their OTA tuner to get locals for free (and I assume you aren't) then you might also try contacting them about the problem and maybe they can hit you with an update via the satellite. Of course, they may be disinclined to help you out rather than encourage you to pay the 5 bucks a month.

Or you could try a different (friend's?) box using your setup and see if you still have the problem.

Or you could just sit tight and see if it goes away. That's what happened to my problem with WKYW. I didn't even complain to them because I knew it was a nation-wide CBS thing and I figured they wouldn't do anything about it. But maybe they got lots of complaints and THAT'S why they changed it.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

just watched prison break OTA from monday and all was perfect. Same for bones

newsposter

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by edfiero
Thanks T-max. I have a Dish Network 942 DVR.....
You might want to look here -

http://www.satelliteguys.us/hd-over-...d-problem.html

and at the link in vmaxed's post -

http://www.satelliteguys.us/dish-hd-...ota-audio.html

I get the idea that some Dish Network boxes have some audio issues.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

29 digital is MIA in Northern New Jersey from 11:00pm to 11:25pm. Other signals from Philly are better than average.

rcodey

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by hconwell
Holly Molly ... stop the presses! Just a minute! Are you telling me that when the analog shutdown occurs, the stations here in Philly that have been using the UHF channels for digital are all going back to their original VHF assignments? I didn't know that. And that sounds like a very big deal. That means all of us folks who have put up UHF antennas will have to replace them with VHF antennas. .
Not necessarily. WPVI is planning on going to 6, and I do think WHYY will be going to 12. As of last I read, nobody else in the area was moving to VHF. However, there will be some shuffling of the UHF Frequencies they use. I suspect many of us will have to do some channel scans to catch up.

With everybody going back to one frequency, they'll be able to use stronger transmitters and such.

TydalForce

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by hconwell
Holly Molly ... stop the presses! Just a minute! Are you telling me that when the analog shutdown occurs, the stations here in Philly that have been using the UHF channels for digital are all going back to their original VHF assignments? I didn't know that. And that sounds like a very big deal. That means all of us folks who have put up UHF antennas will have to replace them with VHF antennas.

Am I missing something? It's entirely likely that I am since I watch almost no TV (I'm mostly into HD optical disk and Home Theater). But if HDTV is going to only be broadcast on 3,6,10, 12, etc starting in 09, I would suspect that a lot of people will spend a significant amount of time on their roofs.

BTW, thanks for the info in WHYY. December of '06 sounds about right for when I noticed it was gone. I'll see what I can find on channel 50.
This is hardly stop the presses as the new digital channel selections have been widely discussed in the Local HDTV Info and hardware reception forums. We even have a sticky for final DTV channel selection at the top of this forum: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=823166. WPVI-DT selection has been discussed earlier in this thread.

The general pattern is that upper VHF (7 to 13) analog stations will switch their digital channel to their analog upper VHF channel and low VHF 2 to 6 stations will stay at UHF. However, Philadelphia is NOT following that pattern.

KYW-DT 3 stays on UHF 26.
WPVI-DT ABC 6 moves from UHF 64 (out of core UHF channel) to VHF 6 which will cause some headaches in the Philly area for those who brought UHF only antennas.
WCAU-DT 10 oddly enough moves from UHF 67 (out of core) to UHF 34 not VHF 10 as one would expect they would. Someone else may have grabbed VHF 10 in the post DTV transition before WCAU-DT did.
WHYY-DT PBS 12 moves from UHF 50 to upper VHF 12. Many UHF antennas will probably get VHF 12 well enough to work for those at closer ranges.

In Baltimore, WBAL-DT 11 and WJZ-DT 13 will be switching from UHF to their current analog channels.

Yea, come February, 2009, people across the US will have to learn to do re-scans, probably every few days until everyone in their market switches over their digital channel.

afiggatt

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by afiggatt
This is hardly stop the presses as the new digital channel selections have been widely discussed in the Local HDTV Info and hardware reception forums.
Yeah, as I said ... I dont' get to this area very often. About as much as I watch TV. Almost never.

So I do really appreciate the various posts you guys (and gals?) have thrown up. I really didn't want to read the entire thread. I'm just too busy over there in the HD disks area trying to figure out whose gonna win.

Thanks to all. I learned a lot today.

And BTW, I'm coming out of this thinking that I'm really lookin' forward to FIOS. Or should I say my wife is. I really don't use it.

hconwell

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by hconwell
And BTW, I'm coming out of this thinking that I'm really lookin' forward to FIOS. Or should I say my wife is. I really don't use it.
Then have her come over to the Philly area Verizon FiOS forum. Lots to learn. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post10903742. I expect to be over in the HD disks area around Christmas next year. Maybe they'll figure something out by then.

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by afiggatt
It depends on how much bandwidth you want to use for each sub-channel and whether you care about picture quality of the HD sub-channel. In general, you can have one HD and one SD sub-channel without much damage to the HD picture quality. Because 720p compresses better than 1080i, 720p is more forgiving for an SD sub-channel or two than 1080i. Bandwidth needs are dynamic - fast motion takes up more bandwidth if macro-blocking is not to happen. The newer encoders use multiplexing so they can dynamically allocate the 19.2 MB/sec ATSC data rate between the sub-channels, so if only 1 sub-channel has fast motion at that time, it gets more bits. But if you have two sub-channels with fast motion, then one may get bit starved.

Yes, WETA-DT PBS 26 in DC has one HD sub-channel and 3 SD sub-channels, but the HD sub-channel can look awful on fast motion. I have seen scenes where they are showing flames from a fire or the camera was panned quickly and it just turns into a pixelated mess. Maybe it will get better if WETA-DT gets a new encoder someday.

But there is nothing to stop a station if they don't care about total picture quality from having one "HD" sub-channel and 5 SD sub-channels or even two HD sub-channels as WNUV-DT 54 in Baltimore did last summer as an industry experiment. The effects of sub-channels occasionally pops up in the HDTV programming forum, but I think people are tired of discusssing it as they see it as losing battle.
Thanks for the detailed and knowledgeable info. Do you have an opinion as to what an optimal number of SD subchannels is to maximize the number of subchannels while maintaining reasonable HD, e.g. would one HD and two SD subchannels give reasonable picture quality on the HD channel? Would video purists want just one 1080i HD and no SD subchannels?

otaguy

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by otaguy
Thanks for the detailed and knowledgeable info. Do you have an opinion as to what an optimal number of SD subchannels is to maximize the number of subchannels while maintaining reasonable HD, e.g. would one HD and two SD subchannels give reasonable picture quality on the HD channel? Would video purists want just one 1080i HD and no SD subchannels?
You have to define what is a "reasonable" HD picture quality. Not a simple metric as you might get a good picture for slow moving 24 fps film source, but major macro blocking for fast motion in a basketball game. There is no industry standard as what represents "reasonable" HD picture quality, that is for sure. It also depends on what is on the SD sub-channel. The weather sub-channels with the mostly static or slow update displays don't take up much bandwidth, although they still run, depending on the encoder, 1.5 to >2 mb/sec. But, yes, the video purists want only one 1080i HD sub-channel and no SD sub-channels. Other than the CBS O&O (Owned & Operated) stations, which don't have SD sub-channels because CBS tech guys want it that way, most other stations are adding more SD sub-channels.

afiggatt

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quick side question - TitanTV says WPVI will not be airing the concert and fireworks in HD. I thought they did that last year. No HD would be a shame.

chroma601

Philadelphia PA OTA

Well ya had to know that since I got my NYC MY9 reception in place (only so's I could watch the Yankee games) that the Yanks would tank. Boy, are they done for the year. But today I'm watching the Phillies/Mets on CW 57 and if I'm not mistaken, this is the first such game that's been full-screen. Zap2it doesn't have it as being in HD (I don't have HDTV) but my recollection is that the other CW57 games I've watched this year were "the other SD" w/ the bars on each side, etc.

Anybody know?

In any event, this is good baseball watching. Although it's great to have the digital clarity, the "other SD" w/ the bars and stretched picture really can't compare with this at all.

The game's not on NYC CW11, so if I were a Mets fan (which I might have to be this year), I'd be getting bonus coverage here. And I'd be watching it here instead of there anyway because I really enjoy the Philly announcers, as I've said before.

I wonder why more SD programming isn't in the full-screen format. Many of the other stations carry lots of non-HD stuff in full-screen format. ION is one good example. Yet some of the big guns, like CBS, still air some of their top-o-the-line shows (like CBS Sunday morning) in the "other SD" format.

What's up with that?

Speaking of ION, they ran the first installment of "Lonesome Dove" last night and it was supposedly the "digitally remastered" edition, etc. I recorded it but haven't watched it yet. I've never seen it but have heard for a long time that it's supposedly a "must see," so I figured I'd give it a shot and edit out the breaks if I want to keep it. My library has only VHS copies, so this is the better way to have a copy, I think. Assuming I don't forget to record the next installment(s).

I'm guessing that it's out on DVD but I don't really know. I DO know that another great old TV miniseries, "Chiefs," has never been released on DVD (or even in a complete VHS version) and I really don't get that. That was indeed a good one and I'd love to have a DVD copy of that one, as would LOTS of other folks according to what I read.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

I moved this weekend down the road in Bensalem, and wow what a difference it makes HD OTA! I plugged in a simple RCA indoor antenna to my sammy DLP, set it on the back of the entertainment center stand, and instantly got all 6 networks, WGTV and the Univision one(65). I didn't even extend the UHF loop at all.

TV signal meter shows 5-6 bars(out of 10 max) for most channels, a couple of them, specifically UPN57 shows 8 or 9 out of 10! PSIP program data works sometimes, but not always. Sometimes detailed info will show up as well.

Doesn't really matter since I'll just use it as a backup to Comcast, but moving a mile away to a location that is more in a clearing from tall trees, can really make a difference. Old location I could barely get 1 bar and a signal that didn't constantly break up, on only 3 or 4 channels. I'm about 18 miles from the towers. Should be fun to run some tests and see if I can notice a difference between Comcast's HD and OTAHD.

ak3883

Philadelphia PA OTA

ak3883, I love your solution

"My OTA reception sucked, so I moved" ;-)

TydalForce

Philadelphia PA OTA

I only need to move across the street to clear my trees, not even down the road. Heck, I'd even be able to get DirecTV or Dish. Using Verizon FiOS with OTA as backup. When I had Comcast, OTA was better. Now that I have Verizon FiOS, OTA is slightly worse.

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

GeekGirl, maybe I missed something... why would having Comcast vs. Verizon have any influence on your OTA reception?

TydalForce

Philadelphia PA OTA

I moved my big antenna ~ 10 feet from one spot on my roof to another. I had it stuck down a small vent pipe ~ halfway up the roof and then moved it to the peak, which raised it up at least 5 feet. As a result, my NYC reception got worse for most of the stations, and a bit better for 2 of them (fortunately, one was the station I want).

So moving it just 10 feet to the right, and RAISING it at least 5 ft, made things WORSE. There are no nearby tree or building issues involved in this move other than possible multipath reception, which is likely what I'm getting out of NYC since I got NOTHING before the trees leafed out.

Now, the real reason I came on to post:

afiggatt, you seem pretty knowledgable. Any idea why my Voom box will not discriminate between WLVT's subchannels? There are 3 channels, 39.1, 39.3 and 39.4. All have different programming (generally). I get the main channel, 39.1, just fine. But I get the same programming on 39.3 (not what's being put out on that subchannel). I get a "no signal" message on 39.4 even though I obviously got the signal cuz I locked it in on a scan.

I believe this is a PBS thing as there is a known problem with some PBS stations and the Voom boxes. That documented problem is that tuning to the particular PBS station causes the Voom to reboot. I don't have that problem, but a problem nevertheless.

I also may have something of a problem with WNJN's stations because I occasionally lose color on their broadcasts and also have some "out-of-sync" reception between audio and video. Usually, re-acquiring the signal by tuning to another channel and coming back corrects it.

Other than these problems, I have perfect performance w/ my Voom box.

Any ideas? The engineer at WLVT ch. 39 remains stumped (he claims to be trying to figure it out but it's been at least a couple of months now).

Thanks for any help.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Max
.... today I'm watching the Phillies/Mets on CW 57 and if I'm not mistaken, this is the first such game that's been full-screen. ..... this is good baseball watching. Although it's great to have the digital clarity, the "other SD" w/ the bars and stretched picture really can't compare with this at all..... I wonder why more SD programming isn't in the full-screen format. .... What's up with that?
Today's Phillies game is on KYW and it's not full screen. This is what I wuz talking about. You mean to tell me that KYW can't broadcast the thing in full screen but CW57 can?

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by TydalForce
GeekGirl, maybe I missed something... why would having Comcast vs. Verizon have any influence on your OTA reception?
Not an influence, just a note on the difference in relative quality. Verizon doesn't have any where near the compression that Comcast does, so PQ is better. Since it's direct fiber, it doesn't have to go through the broadcast chain. That's why it's better than OTA (not much, but enough to notice).

For the Phillies game, I believe it's a home vs. away thing.

GeekGirl

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekGirl
Not an influence, just a note on the difference in relative quality. Verizon doesn't have any where near the compression that Comcast does, so PQ is better. Since it's direct fiber, it doesn't have to go through the broadcast chain. That's why it's better than OTA (not much, but enough to notice).

For the Phillies game, I believe it's a home vs. away thing.
Oh, you mean the quality of the local stations when delivered by Comcast vs. Verizon. I thought you meant "I'm receiving them via antenna but the quality changed" and that didn't make sense to me

TydalForce

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Max
Today's Phillies game is on KYW and it's not full screen. This is what I wuz talking about. You mean to tell me that KYW can't broadcast the thing in full screen but CW57 can?
That was an away game in Houston. The Philles don't broadcast in HD except when at home or playing the Mets in NY.

newsman

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekGirl
....For the Phillies game, I believe it's a home vs. away thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsman
That was an away game in Houston. The Philles don't broadcast in HD except when at home or playing the Mets in NY.
Thanks guys. That clears that up.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Max
afiggatt, you seem pretty knowledgable. Any idea why my Voom box will not discriminate between WLVT's subchannels? There are 3 channels, 39.1, 39.3 and 39.4. All have different programming (generally). I get the main channel, 39.1, just fine. But I get the same programming on 39.3 (not what's being put out on that subchannel). I get a "no signal" message on 39.4 even though I obviously got the signal cuz I locked it in on a scan.

I believe this is a PBS thing as there is a known problem with some PBS stations and the Voom boxes. That documented problem is that tuning to the particular PBS station causes the Voom to reboot. I don't have that problem, but a problem nevertheless.
This is not my thread because I don't live in the Philly area (grew up there however), so I don't check it often. I originally posted here about the news that WPVI-DT ABC 6 was going to stay with it's digital channel selection of VHF 6.

As to your question, I don't have a Voom box. I have seen some posts about flaky problems with the ATSC part of them which is all they are good for these days. The PBS stations that switch sub-channels twice a day to go from all SD in the daytime to one HD and X SD-channels at night are known to cause problems for some older ATSC receivers. Since the Voom box is an orphaned product, you are not going to get any firmware updates for it (unless there is one drifting around there on the net somewhere).

Does WLVT-DT switch between SD sub-channels only during the day and a HD one at night? (Their website is of no help on this). If they do and you want to watch the PBS HD-channel, my suggestion is to clear the current channel list and do a re-scan at night. A common technique that works sometimes for tuner boxes that have gotten bad PSIP data is to disconnect the antenna from the box, then do a full rescan to clear all channels. Then reconnect the antenna and do a full scan again to get the stations back.

If the problem with WLVT-DT is too much of a headache, your only real solution would be to replace the Voom box with a newer ATSC receiver. The Samsung DTB-H260F lists for $180 and gets high marks for picking up weak stations and improved performance for multipath. It does have a quirk of stretching the 4:3 SD channels by default. Or wait until next year, when we should have some cheaper ATSC tuners and converter boxes on the market to replace the Voom box.

afiggatt

Philadelphia PA OTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by afiggatt
....As to your question, I don't have a Voom box. I have seen some posts about flaky problems with the ATSC part of them which is all they are good for these days.... Or wait until next year, when we should have some cheaper ATSC tuners and converter boxes on the market to replace the Voom box.
Thanks for the good suggestions and advice. WLVT-DT 39.4 is on the air all day except for 8 PM - 11 PM when it goes off-air, presumably to give more bandwidth to the main channel for its HD broadcasts. I have two Voom boxes, so I can play around with one without messing things up on the other one.

Actually, the bigger problem could be with WNJN. That one keeps dropping color and also the A/V sync. Re-acquiring the signal clears both those problems but it's a pain if I'm recording something I want to archive. Color/sync problems are limited to WNJN. I don't see those problems with any other stations. The other problem (the WLVT problem) is also limited to that station only.

Other than these problems with these PBS stations, the Voom works fine. I realize they are outdated at this point but they do quite well for the $$. It's just a bit strange that the problems with them seem to be limited to PBS stations.

As to cheaper ATSC tuners, I only got into this digital OTA thing last January and I was shocked to see the dirth of available tuners. I don't know if the standalone tuner market will improve from here on out given that all new TVs must have an integral tuner. So I'll live with the Vooms for the time being and see how things develop from here.

Thanks again for your help and suggestions.

T-Max

Philadelphia PA OTA

Speaking of subchannels, I notice that WFMZ's 3rd channel now carries programming. We had a brief discussion awhile back about this one, which was only carrying color bars at the time. The current programming seems to just duplicate the main channel's programming. It registers on my Voom as "69-3 WFMZ-HD" whereas the main channel registers as "69-1 WFMZ-S1" and the second channel (which is all weather) registers as "69-2 WFMZ-S2"

Neither Zap2it nor the station's own programming schedule lists the 69.3 subchannel. I'm guessing that they are just getting it ready to use as their HD channel?

Today's the first time I've tuned to it since we had our last discussion so I don't know how long they've had programming on it. I thought of it after posting my last post and gave it a look.

T-Max

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