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Author Topic: The Switch To DTV  (Read 414 times)
N4CQR
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Posts: 566




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« on: October 19, 2008, 07:43:23 AM »

I have not given any thought or consideration to the switch to digital television. Being a cable subscriber makes us unaffected in the outdoor antenna sense.

However I ran across this article this (Sun 10/19) morning:

http://www.kentucky.com/181/story/560647.html

Makes me wonder what mess lies ahead.

C r a i g
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4464




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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2008, 12:13:27 PM »

Craig,

you must remember that we're now in age where it's
'Digital good, analogue bad'

Whether it is or not.

VHF TV off air isn't good news for hams though, becasue of the harmonic problems. Fortunately, over here, we went all UHF years ago. I don't know what the acceptable C/I (carrier to Interference) ratio is for digital TV. From memory, for analogue, it's about 40+ dB, so digital on VHF may be less of a problem for hams.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2008, 01:58:12 PM »

It seems to me its just an antenna issue. Stations switched from UHF to VHF and the people don't have a VHF antenna. It's probably going to be worse for those on the coverage fringes because digital requires a better S/N ratio than analog and digital is an "all or nothing" deal. Someone with a "snowy" picture now will likely get nothing or intermittant chunks of picture unless they upgrade their antenna.

I wonder how digital will respond to multipath issues (i.e. shadows on an analog signal).
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KI4ENS
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Posts: 79




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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2008, 05:04:25 PM »

I actually live in Lexington and its been a bit of a mess.  The newspaper makes it sound simple,  just get a VHF antenna if you are some distance away from town.  Actually many people in town cannot get the FOX affiliate.  In addition to changing from UHF to VHF, VHF-Lo at that,  they moved the transmitter.  SO for people who were used to getting everything with a UHF loop inside the house now have to have an outside antenna.  Of course some live in neighborhoods with covenants.  If you go cable,  you have to use their rental box and digital service to be guaranteed HDTV.  Insight, the local cable provider screws up the PSIP packet.  They simple remodulate the ATSC signal into QAM without reformatting VCT embedded in the PSIP to the cable standard.  So people with QAM tuners in their TVs run a crap shoot if they can actually decode the "free" HDTV channels.  Sharps and some Sonys balk, Samsungs don't.

Fun thing is this statement from the newspaper:

"At that time, stations will turn off their analog signals, which are transmitted as radio waves, and broadcast only in digital signals, transmitted as computer code."

Hmmm,  why need antennas then?
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2008, 08:44:58 AM »

>RE: The Switch To DTV       Reply
by KI4ENS on October 19, 2008    Mail this to a friend!
Fun thing is this statement from the newspaper:
"At that time, stations will turn off their analog signals, which are transmitted as radio waves, and broadcast only in digital signals, transmitted as computer code."
Hmmm, why need antennas then?<

::Indeed.  You can always be certain anything you read in the newspaper is 100% accurate.

:-)
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KE6WNH
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Posts: 126




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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2008, 08:34:12 PM »

I myself wonder if there's any ATV gear, specifically transmitters and downconverters, which will work with HDTV... and if not, does anyone plan to develop them for the market? Digital ATV gear would need linear amps with less power, now that would be a perk.
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KU4UV
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Posts: 375




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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2008, 12:51:03 PM »

Hi gang,

I live in Lexington as well.  I got my DTV converter box earlier this year.  I have the Digital Stream model that Radio Shack carries, and I got the $40 government coupon.  I had a heck of a time trying to get all of the local DTV channels here in town to come in clearly without being choppy.  Did I mention that I live within about 5 miles of all of the major affilliate stations, WLEX, WTVQ, and WKYT.  I used to work at WTVQ, and I can walk outside my front door and see the towers for WTVQ and WKYT.  I thought it would be a simple conversion to digital televsion from the old analog signals, and that all I would have to do to get great reception would be to unplug the old UHF bowtie and just plug it into the DTV converter.  Boy was I wrong!  I found that even in my ground floor apartment, the signals were very choppy.  Some stations would be in the green on the meter(good signal), while others were barely on the meter at all.  I tried VHF rabbit ears, and even two different models of amplified VHF/UHF models.  Nothing seemed to work right, and I ended up returning the amplified antenna.  I eventually settled on just using a couple of pieces of wire fashioned into a "V" configuration in the attic of my apartment.  It seems simple enough, but it does work well compared to the amplified antenna on top of the television.  I find that I can receive all of the local Lexington stations, as well as the PAX TV and ION stations that are outside of town or lower- powered.  The stations will sometimesbecome slightly choppy, even though they are all in the green on the meter, but for the most part, they come in fine.  It looks like the secret to good DTV is an outside antenna, preferably on a rotor.  I hate that most people that make the transition to DTV are going to have problems, at least here in the central Kentucky area.  I know that some people, like older people that may live alone, have never had cable or satellite and have always used an antenna.  Are these folks literally going to have no TV come next February?  The local television stations are going to have their phone lines blowing up next year when the transition to digital occurs, that's for sure!  I have DirecTV, but I just didn't seem justified in paying for my local channels when I could get them free and clear with a DTV converter box.  DirecTV also doesn't carry alll of the KET digital channels.  My brother lives in Richmond, and he has an amplified antenna in the attic of his house.  He is able to receive the Lexington stations fine, as well as WLJC in Beatyville.  I am not sorry that I switched to DTV, but it has certainly been a learning experience.  DTV is a different beast from analog, and a good antenna and good location is a must.  I have been thinking about purchasing a HD radio, but I am waiting to see if the prices will come down first.  Some experts say that HD radio is just a fad, like the old AM stereo, and that is just terrestrial radio's way of trying to compete with satellite radio.  I just hope I don't have the same problems with HD radio that I had with DTV.  There are some good things about switching to DTV here in the Lexington area.  KET has been broadcasting several different channels on the digital spectrum for almost 10 years now, and there is a lot of good programming from either one of these channels.  I find that there is something on one of the KET channels that I want to watch lamost every evening.  The bottom line for DTV, like I mentioned before, is a good antenna.

73,
Michael KU4UV
Lexington, KY.

Chief bottle washer at WTVQ-TV 1997-2000
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