View Full Version : The switch to digital televsion
06-15-2009, 08:16 PM
For those of you getting your television from a rooftop antenna, how has the switch to digital impacted your service? All of the HD channels are in the UHF frequencies, which have a shorter range and are more "line of sight" than the lost lower frequency VHF channels. This is combined with the "all or nothing" aspect of a digital broadcast, where a weak analog channel can still be viewed a with a bit of "snow" but its digital counterpart won't be picked up and displayed. So households located in outlying areas or in hilly terrain out of line of sight of transmitting antennas, the switch to digital could mean losing some television service.
At my house, I no longer have any broadcast television. Its located in a deep valley surrounded by mountains in northern Greenville country where I used to be able to get one channel (4) with some snow, but I've never been able to pick up a digital signal there even with a signal booster installed, so my televison viewing ended on June 12. At my wife's house in Hodges we went from 9 viewable analog channels to, at best, 4 digital channels, and this can drop to as low as 1 when there is heavy rain in the region. At my brother's house in the suburbs near the research triangle in NC, he lost the only NPR station he could receive. At my boss's house near Asheville in the NC mountains, he has never been able to receive broadcast digital, but has cable service available, so he hasn't been impacted.
I could get an satellite dish to reestablish television service (cable and DSL aren't available out here in the boonies), but I would have to cut down a bunch of trees to get the required SW exposure, and in the current economic climate I'm not too keen on adding a $30+ a month bill. So I will be televison-less for the foreseeable future (also cell-phone-less at the house, since that signal doesn't reach back there either). Fortunately I have a big library of books to read and can access the limited byte trickle of a dial up modem.
06-15-2009, 09:13 PM
The ATSC system has not shown itself to be all that robust outside of the laboratories. One of my co-workers in rural Missouri gets about half as many digital channels as the old analog channels, and during a t-storm, the digital channels drop out. Until last Friday, he could still watch the analog channels when the ATSC channels dropped out.
On Long Island, I have cable but connected an "antenna" to watch the analog NTSC channels go dead. For an antenna, I used an old worn extension cord draped over the top of the TV. It gave me most VHF and UHF channels - snowy NTSC and crystal clear ATSC with no breakup. I can get most DTV channels using nothing but a human body (mine - I don't keep any spares lying around) for an antenna. The close proximity to transmitters (about 25 miles) and flat terrain are great.
In Northeast PA, it's a whole other story. Several antenna-only people I know in the mountains are also now without television. And thunderstorms roll through the mountains every six minutes, so a huge outdoor antenna on a tall tower is the easiest way to build an Exploding Fireball Television Device, so not too many people are willing to take the risk.
One comment on the sudden loss of channels after midnight last Friday...
Some of the channels switched off their analog transmitters and retuned their digital transmitters to broadcast the new signal on the old RF channel. Any stations that do this will seem to disappear from your TV set until you re-scan for channels. If you do the rescan and still get nothing, the only hope will be a larger antenna.
06-15-2009, 09:48 PM
I have been sans TV and home phone since Feb. & other than certain sporting events & occasional financial TV, have not missed it. Therefore, I haven't really been aware of the transition.
I figure if I get motivated enough, I can watch at gameworks or rejoin the local gym with the TVs over the treadmills.
06-15-2009, 10:17 PM
The ATSC system has not shown itself to be all that robust outside of the laboratories.
I totally agree. the problems with ATSC are NOT worth it. IMO TV is only needs to be "Good enough" we don't need HD.
With that said.. I have had good luck. but then I spent about 9 months setting up my antenna's for digital TV over 6? years ago. I started setting the same time the stations were mandated to start broadcasting digital. until the switch all my digital stations were UHF after the switch 2 of the my digital stations are back down in the VHF.
I actually picked up a few more stations with the switch. but my parents that live closer to the transmitters lost stations. I need to get them a better antenna now.
my antenna setup: over $400
--Antenna's are in my attic. It's recommended to have them outside, but if the antenna is in the wind and moves digital cuts out.
--2 antenna's. my old one works good for VHF, needed a LOT of research to find a good UHF antenna.
--more research on how to properly join signals form 2 antenna's
--then new cabling, and powered splitters.
one thing many people don't know is the HD signal can and often does carry Dolby 5.1 surround sound. I personally like that better than the HD picture.
I would gladly give it up if I could get NTSC back.
06-15-2009, 10:41 PM
My brother is almost in the same situation. Lives in the boonies. Can only get two or three snowy analog pictures. Does not have cable or DSL. But he can get satellite.
I like the idea of HDTV but not over the air. With digital you either get picture or you don't. there no option of watching a snowy picture.
I have been watching some of my cable's clear QAM channels and I have to say they compress the hell out of some of them. Either they do or the source does one.
I have seen much better analog SD channels on my old BUD than some 1080i HD content. For example NASA had a beautiful analog broadcast on the AMC 7?? satellite. They still have a great digital picture up there but I still think the analog was better. Another good example was when watching the super bowl on the BUD. I never seen such a sharp clear picture on a crappy SD TV.
I will miss the analog days.
06-15-2009, 10:42 PM
I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum from some of you. 50" plasma, surround sound, HD-DVR, Netflix account, extremely programmable remote, the works. They are remnants from before my full conversion to the "green world".
However, I haven't had local channels for years. I have no use for network television. I get my local news via the Net and I hate - HATE - commercials. As such the DTV transition was non-existent for me. All my coworkers and family members also have some form of subscribed television service so it hasn't come up in conversation even a single time,.
My wife and I both have our favorite shows and they are all found on cable channels. We have the DVR record them and when we're not too engrossed in reading a good book we'll watch an episode. It's amazing how short an show's content actually is when all the commercials are skipped over. You can watch a Mythbusters episode in 37 minutes sometimes!
06-15-2009, 10:58 PM
Since September of last year and April of this year I watched over 400 movies from Hollywood video. My only electrified TV is mounted on the wall in the bedroom. I now only rent a video if I have a girl over for dinner/movie.
I haven't watched broadcast TV in my house since before 2006, I have on at least 3 occasions went 2-3 years without a TV since 1990. I usually give them to ex gfs as a parting gift/consolation prize when we breakup since they are always the ones that wanted one. I currently have a TV in my living room that has never been plugged in, I guess it's a prop, it was given to me by a friend and people don't ask "Wheres your TV? Do you want one?" anymore.
I used to watch TV but it's rarely a productive way for me to spend my time. I learn more from the interweb and there is no remote to lose. :D - Dale
06-19-2009, 12:09 PM
For those who are having problems, buy or build a good antenna. The antenna can make or break the entire digital quality.
I have been watching digital ever since I got a PC with a digital TV receiver built in (which is something like 8 years ago - I no longer have it). I now have a 32" LCD monitor/HDTV and a DVD recorder with digital tuner that I use with a 22" LCD monitor in addition to two PC digital TV receivers (a HDTV Wonder and a HVR850 with QAM).
I'm still waiting for a good digital TV server that has a digital tuner on one end and an Ethernet connection on the other, preferably with either an internal hard drive or a connection for an external one so it is also a DVR with NFS. There's the HDHomeRun but it's a little expensive and overkill for my use. (Why don't they have a cheaper one with just one tuner?)
06-19-2009, 12:27 PM
I don't watch TV much. I do use on for movies and console games (most recently Rock Band 2 on the Wii. One of the roomies got it.), but I just don't have the time for sitting and watching TV.
I have a computer to mess with, 5 acres to keep mowed, a pool to take care of, books to read, a fiance, fishing to do (that I haven't had time for lately), etc.
Copyright 2006 Clean MPG, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
vBulletin® v3.6.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.