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#166242 - 02/03/09 05:40 PM Digital TV (Again)
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
So, the DTV transition is on the way, no stopping now.

For those of you who have been following along, I've been a bit upset with the whole DTV thing, not just because I think it's a huge waste of money and time, but also because of the major technical deficiencies in the DTV standard we're going to be using, ATSC.

On January 20th, there was an event in Washington, DC, it was a pretty big deal. You know, the sort of a big deal you might want to watch with your kids, the sort of a big deal that you think might be a great way to test the complicated huge freaking antenna and low-loss feedline and fancy DTV tuner device you bought for the computer big deal kind of big deal.

On the Analog system, I got a snowy, but viewable NBC and CBS out of Philly, and a snowy, but viewable ABC and FOX out of NY, depending on which way the antenna pointed.

On the Digital system...well, words escape me, so I took screen shots:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/30796655@N08/

I get channel 69, which shows 4 variations of useless, and channel 39, which will help me learn more Spanish from an anthropomorphic bird-thing. Great, just great.

If this is the DTV I can expect in the future, I'm just going to cut the antenna down and put it into the recycling bin.

We got a live feed via Hulu.com just fine, but I know that in an emergency situation, I can't count on land-based connectivity or even 3g wireless.

What a mess.

The basic rule for technological progress needs to be "Never accept something new unless it does everything the old system did well and advances from there." It's like VoIP phone calls and 911 service - what a mess that is too.






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#166252 - 02/03/09 06:08 PM Re: Digital TV (Again) [Re: MartinFocazio]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
I am still worried. The TV in the living room of our home on wheels is digital capable, and we are within 60 miles of three TV stations. Two come in fine on our antenna, analog isn't all that great, but digital is so sharp and clear it almost looks like 3D. The thirds analog is so-so, the digital channel shows "no signal" 90+% of the time. So come the 18th we won't be able to watch that channel (happens to be ABC, our least used of the big three anyway) at all, or very little...
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OBG

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#166391 - 02/04/09 01:59 PM Re: Digital TV (Again) [Re: OldBaldGuy]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4015
Loc: Anchorage AK
After a decade of cable/sat tv, I am just about ready to go back to free broadcast again. The programming is getting so ridiculously bad these days, half of the channels I am paying for now are non-stop infomercials. What ever happened to getting what you pay for? Were I being affected right now economically, the dish would be the first thing in the junk pile for sure.

As for the big digital conversion, if it don't work, then I guess I will have more free time on my hands to read, work on hobbies, fix up house, sleep, or go out with the wife. Besides, I own a few hundred videos now, so it'd be just as easy for me to cycle though my collection commercial free as it is to sit and watch Turner's various incarnations hack a classic all to pieces so as to stuff more advertising in between, at 6 db higher audio to boot. Annoying to say the least.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#166400 - 02/04/09 03:29 PM Re: Digital TV (Again) [Re: benjammin]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
commercials aren't 6db higher, they are simply ultra-compressed at or near maximum. I used to MAKE commercials, I know you can't exceed 0db and I know how the final audio pass was to super-compress and optimize the voice frequency and phase to be more "punchy". But it's NEVER actually louder.

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#166401 - 02/04/09 03:35 PM Re: Digital TV (Again) [Re: benjammin]
MedB Offline
Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 108
What were people expecting?

DTV is a broadcast standard... NOT a content standard. If you didn't like what was on before, you certainly aren't going to like what's on afterwards.


And as far it goes it's a damn good broadcast standard. It makes the following possible:
* High-def quality (we currently lag behind the rest of the world in TV picture quality
* Discrete surround sound
* Multi-casting
* Interactive TV
* OPEN standard that can grow (unlike the 70 year old handcufffs we suffered from)

But it is not, and was never intended to be a content standard. In fact, if you think about it the quality of some content might go down! Broadcasters struggle with finding enough quality stuff to put on one station, certainly now that they can mulit-cast you can bet there will be some trash on the alternate channels.

But like all new technologies, some companies will rise to the top. Think about this as a possibility...

You are watching the local news on say channel 3. Well now you might watch channel 3.1 if you live in the west hills of the city or 3.3 if you live south. Why? Well 80% of the broadcast might be the same, but when they get to high school sports, or local weather, or community interest they can customize the content if they wish. This is just one example, but it speaks to the kinds of possibilities the DTV standard offers.

But in the end, it's a broadcast standard. It's up to the content providers and the business sense of the broadcasters which pieces of the standard they are going to take full advantage of... or simply do the minimum. Economics, not the standard is the bad guy here.

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MedB

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#166405 - 02/04/09 03:52 PM Re: Digital TV (Again) [Re: benjammin]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
We have been doing some grandkid sitting lately, my daughter has sat with several add-ons, got a jillion channels, and half the time there is nothing better to watch than a Law and Order re-run. Makes us glad once again that we canceled our sat service. Instead of paying $80 a month for crappy service, we buy $80 worth of $5 DVD's at Wallyworld...
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OBG

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#166406 - 02/04/09 04:00 PM Re: Digital TV (Again) [Re: MedB]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
All I know is, if the price goes up, I'm out. I pay for basic cable now, only $20 or so a month, and think its a huge ripoff. If they plan on charging me more, I will cut my cable out completely, and likely spend less down time doing nothing. Personally, I think its creating a "needed market", not that we need it. Kind of like the high def radio, or satellite radio...the market didnt exist for it before, but it does now, and lots of people buy into the hype. Me, I refuse to pay for something (radio in this case) that is free. Besides, I like listening to MY music; not whats on the radio. I just think that hyping this HDTV crap is over the edge, but, thats MHO.
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my adventures

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#166417 - 02/04/09 05:09 PM Re: Digital TV (Again) [Re: oldsoldier]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2800
TV was designed to be free as well, the ads are to pay for it. But someone got the idea to put up their own antenna and run wires from it and charge for that service and now we have cable where we pay for "free" programming and still have the ads that pay for the programming. It appears to me someone figured out how to double dip.

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#166441 - 02/04/09 08:49 PM Re: Digital TV (Again) [Re: MedB]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
Originally Posted By: MedB
What were people expecting?

DTV is a broadcast standard... NOT a content standard. If you didn't like what was on before, you certainly aren't going to like what's on afterwards.


And as far it goes it's a damn good broadcast standard. It makes the following possible:
* High-def quality (we currently lag behind the rest of the world in TV picture quality
* Discrete surround sound
* Multi-casting
* Interactive TV
* OPEN standard that can grow (unlike the 70 year old handcufffs we suffered from)


And, as a broadcast standard, it's [censored]-POOR. Absolutely, unequivocally [censored] POOR, and if you buy the BS about "interactive" I have bridge in NYC you can buy. ATSC is a terrible, terrible technical standard. It performs poorly in NYC where I've tried with a wide range of equipment, it performs poorly out here in Bucks County, PA and where it does work, I've seen pristine, clear signals simply vanish for no reason at all. It seems prone to rain & snow fade too.

OK, the gloves are off, because this is the second "digital transition" that I'm going to suffer - the first was, and remains, much more serious, and it was the transition from Analog Fire Radios to Digital system.

The parallels are incredible.

- When we switched to digital fire radios, we lost coverage in areas that had coverage before.
- When we switched to digital television, we lost coverage in areas that had coverage before.

- The new digital fire radios allegedly allowed us to do so much more - on the fly talk groups, encryption, multi-agency single system - and they can - if they can get a signal to the repeater and back, which about 50% of the time, they can't.
- The new digital televisions allegedly allow us to do so much more - high def, discrete surround sound, multi-casting - if they can get and hold a signal, which 50% of the time, they can't.

- The new digital radios required us to buy, at great expense, all new equipment to replace equipment that was working fine.
- The new digital televisions require us to buy, at some expense, all new equipment to replace equipment that was working fine.

Look, I'm not a total free-market maniac, but I can't help but notice that we made the transition from VHS to DVD with no government mandates. In the radio world, they are doing their best to push their version of Digital Radio (HD Radio) but nobody is seriously talking about shutting down AM radio stations any time soon.

If Digital TV is so great - then let it stand on its own merits. this whole program reeks of "meals in a pill" technologists run amok.






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#166445 - 02/04/09 09:59 PM Re: Digital TV (Again) [Re: MartinFocazio]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
Quote:
The new digital televisions allegedly allow us to do so much more - high def, discrete surround sound, multi-casting - if they can get and hold a signal, which 50% of the time, they can't.


If only the world had accepted the British High Definition 1000 line analog full colour Stereo Baird TV technology standard in 1948 (yes HDTV in 1948), but instead we in the UK got the pre second WW11 425 line B/W (UK was essentially bankrupt in 1948 and couldn't afford its implementation, Oh how things change whistle) then the full colour 625 line PAL colour standard in 1967, which I guess would have already qualified as being somewhat Hi-def compared to the 525 line NTSC broadcast standard. The UK PAL broadcast system is being replaced by the DVB-T standard but is being rolled out slowly over a period of about 4 years.

Switching from Analog to a digital broadcast standard over the whole country the size of the USA on the same day does sound a bit mad though!!

Its your patriotic duty to accept the ATSC DTV, as I'm sure you wouldn't want to fall behind technologically with countries such as Iran, Morocco, Angola, Vietnam or Egypt. wink

If the DTV terrestrial broadcast signal is very weak, don't you have a free satellite broadcast such as the equivalent of the European DVB-S service which broadcasts the same channels you would have picked up using your UHF antenna.

As for the TV content in the UK, thank God for BBC (none of that Capitalist advertising every 15 minutes laugh )!!



Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (02/04/09 11:23 PM)

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