Rate your DTV converter

Page 2 of 5  
On 1/7/2009 10:20 PM Don Bruder spake thus:

That's what I gathered also. So what are they going to use those old VHF channels for, do you know?
I find it interesting that nobody seems to be commenting on one important aspect of this whole deal, which is that we, the people (you remember that phrase, right?), who own these bands as (formerly) public communications pathways, are being given a take-it-or-leave-it proposition where they might (or probably will) end up in private hands. This would have caused outrage maybe 20-30 years ago, and someone may have even demanded an FCC investigation, but at this point, all we can do is throw our hands in the air, roll over and play dead.
--
Washing one\'s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 07 Jan 2009 22:48:57 -0800, David Nebenzahl wrote:

It's my understanding they will be used for wireless networking. One problem with 802.11 at 2.4GHz (which I currently use over longish distances [2-7 miles] here in rural Oregon) is that the signal won't go thru trees. VHF doesn't have that problem. VHF will also go thru most building walls.

The licenses for those VHF freqs should be transferred from TV to Internet Service Providers, especially in rural areas. It's almost always in private hands. Except for military, the US Govt doesn't do all that much broadcasting compared to civilian uses. Private hands? You mean like Amateur, or CB, or GPRS?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/7/2009 10:58 PM Roland Latour spake thus:

You misunderstand; I mean the current "airways" (VHF band in this case) are public in the sense that they're public property (i.e., not privately-owned, administered by the FCC) and also subject to public oversight (well, at least nominally). You know, like that little thing called the First Amendment?
--
Washing one\'s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There's been talk about that, but the main "target" was supposed to be "public safety" - AKA fire, cops, ambulance, etc.
The wireless networking concept is/was aimed at so-called "white spaces" between current TV channels - sort of "slipping it into the gaps"

VHF has its own set of problems for use in wireless networking. Yes, it'll give better "penetration", and all other things being equal, longer distances. But when you drop in frequency, you also drop in information-carrying capability - Current wireless, running in the 2.4 GHz range, has *LOTS* of "cargo space" available, so top speeds possible with it are much higher than what can be had from a signal in the VHF bands (which are *WAY* down the scale: 54-88MHz for "VHF-Lo" - channels 2-6, and 175-216MHz for "VHF-Hi" - channels 7-13) Lower frequency lower information carrying capability. The most clearly visible illustration of this would be comparing the AM and FM broadcast radio bands - look at how cheesy an AM station sounds compared to an FM station. PART of the difference is the modulation scheme, (Amplitude Modulation versus Frequency Modulation) but a much larger part of the difference comes from the amount of information each band can carry - AM broadcasting is done on frequencies between about 500 and 1600 *KILO*Hertz, while FM broadcasts are done on 80-ish to 108-ish *MEGA*Hertz. Higher frequency permits more information per unit of time to be moved. But it trades off distance the information can travel intact - Some of the so-called "clear channel" AM stations can literally cover the country from coast to coast with good strong intelligible signal, using only 50 *KILO*watts. An FM station running a full *MEGA*watt is hard-pressed to get a useful signal out past about 100-150 miles.
Shifting wireless down to the VHF bands will give slower, but further-reaching, wireless connections. For some folks, "some but slow" is one helluva lot better than "fast but nothing", but in general, most of the general public is stuck in a "gotta be faster Faster FASTER!!!!!!! to be any good" mindset, so I'm wondering if that idea is *REALLY* going to get any traction...
--
Don Bruder - snipped-for-privacy@sonic.net - If your "From:" address isn\'t on my whitelist,
or the subject of the message doesn\'t contain the exact text "PopperAndShadow"
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sorry Don. I'm afraid you are very confused. The frequencies associated UHF Channels 52 to 69 are being auctioned off - not the VHF frequencies. Stations have the option of moving their digital channels back to VHF after the transition if they want, or they can stay on their temporariy UHF channel if it is below 52. Since low VHF has better propagation than VHF and is cheaper to run a transmitter on, those stations current on 2-7 for analog will likely stay there for digital.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And if you are interested, this is a reasonable explanation of what is happening:
http://www.hdtvexpert.com/pages_b/MusicalChairs.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's useful; thanks for the link. It still is a pretty sorry site for ease of use, though... :)
I note for our service area (W KS) out of the Wichita-Hutchinson MSA, there are quite a few of the maps with fairly significant areas or orange and red dots on them instead of empty or green... :(
For what the maps are worth (which I don't know about since there's nothing with them to indicate how they were generated) it seems to say that despite the fact that at least so far the converter box hasn't been able to even find enough signal to indicate there is that supposedly we will be inside the coverage range by at least a small margin for the particular area we're in.
I don't know and haven't been able to determine from any information from the stations what this mismatch in indications means -- are they just not yet broadcasting DTV from the translator locations and all the data on the maps is simply computed/estimated, are they broadcasting but at such low power compared to licensed maximum that the maps are a nice theoretical exercise but of no practical value, or were the maps compiled using some sensitive test gear or something else entirely? They main stations have announced short tests of the main transmitter signals and announce explicitly these are not testing the translators but they never say a word about what the plans for the translators actually are.
I do note on the maps that the licensed power for the DTV transmitters is from a tenth to a fourth of that for the analog which certainly means the quality of an antenna and receiver are going to have to be quite good it would seem to have a chance.
I have to vote with the others in rural areas that while it seems a good theoretical advance for weak signal areas the "all or nothing" nature of digital is likely to be not to please as compared to the gradual degradation of analog. I'd also far prefer the latter over the former given the choice.
I only know to wait and find out what happens on witching day...either it'll work or I'll have to decide what to try to do or do without...certainly just going on as is would be far preferable if it goes away; if a miracle happens and it does by chance work then I can join the crowd who thinks it's ok while the neighbors a little farther out can be the ignored minority--ain't that how it's supposed to be? : (
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I agree - the FCC's consumer site is useless, and the main FCC site isn't the easiest to use.

Yes - it looks like some of the stations (like KLBY) are reducing their coverage area. I don't know why they chose to do that, but I assume it was a trade between the cost of transmitting to the larger area vs the advertising revenue they get from that extra coverage.

Keep in mind that those maps represent the post transition state. It may be that the stations are broadcasting right now at less than full power, or from a location that doesn't represent the way things will be.

The translators are not required to switch at this time and can stay analog, but you are wise to check with any station to see what their plans are. I've found the station engineers are very open about what their plans are.

Yes, but don't get too hung up on that. IIRC you can't equate the ERP for VHF and UHF signals directly.

That is a drawback to digital - snowy stations are not an option.

:)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm sure the revenue/cost has to have been figured in--how, of course, is anybody's guess unless inside the main station's business/ engineering/marketing office. It appears to me from the maps that some of it is terrain-related on some of them--while flat by standards in many parts of the country, NW KS up there around Colby and west isn't dead flat like SW KS down here is where the maps are essentially perfect geometric circles. And, of course, that the entire population of, say, Wallace County is probably less than 1500 means they simply just "don't get no respect".

Of course, but the maps also don't have any indication of what they _DO_ purport to represent nor how they were generated.

That's certainly not clear to me (that they don't also have to convert) -- I thought it was based on analog transmission power levels and by that measure these are, iirc, about the same if not stronger than the base stations in Wichita area. The few words the stations have broadcast certainly indicate they're making the switch, just no information at all on how/when/what they expect, etc., ... As for openness; the one time I did get the opportunity to talk to one of their engineers (different subject; was getting interference from an undetermined source) he was quite helpful (to limits of his knowledge from 250 miles away, that is) but the stations appear to have clamped down on access for the duration now; my contacts have been limited to being told to look at the web site FAQ which, as noted above, ignores the translators entirely w/ the exception of a signal note that implies they will switch at a point to follow (unspecified, but wording implies not long). All in all, it's just not well handled for the rural areas (but what else is new?).

Perhaps, but the DTV signal still has to be strong enough in amplitude for an antenna to pick it up -- while S:N ratios are undoubtedly much better than w/ analog, absolute signal levels are going to be lower, too. Will it work??? AFAICT it's anybody's guess until the witching day arrives for fringe areas.
...

That's what I said... :)

Unfortunately, it appears that's the only choice (as usual in rural areas) -- be satisfied what scraps the city folks running the show see fit to leave...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What is very interesting to me is that the maps (at least for the Dallas-Fort Worth area) shows the coverage areas increasing for the most part and the station power decreasing by 5 to 10 x. -- Doug
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm not an RF engineer, but I do recall reading that there isn't a 1 to 1 correspondence between power levels between VHF and UHF. It's possible that your stations are going from VHF to UHF (or vice versa), or that the new towers are higher than the old ones. Also possible that the stations themselves decided that their official coverage area didn't require as strong a signal.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Neville wrote:

if the broadcasters of free over the air digital TV signals really wanted to make this work well and ensure an exacting coverage of a specific area with standardized signal strength they'd take a lesson from the cell phone signal providers with their tower placements.
with a few more well placed towers and by making use of repeater technology the people living 25 miles from the central station could receive the same level of service as the people living 10 miles from said location.
but, that's not going to happen as a result of realistic cost considerations.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

no no no, nearly ALL remain UHF, since the new users of TV band prefer VHF. the lower frequencies go thru buildings etc better
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This entire conversion is a basic rip off of the public!
If the digital channels worked as good or better than the analog for nearly everyone then fine go ahead.
the trouble is the digital channels in far too many cases dont work as well.
call your congressmen and COMPLAIN BEFORE THE SHUT OFF!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

You may want to check your references. The "new users" will be operating in what is now part of the UHF TV band.
While you are doing that you will also find that Clinton was a big proponent of DTV and signed the legislation into law.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 08 Jan 2009 08:28:18 -0500, George wrote:

But the Telecommunications Act of 1996 Clinton signed included this: "Television stations will be permitted to continue the broadcasting of analog beyond 2006 (and to retain the extra channel it received from the FCC for the transition) if less than 85% of the households in its market have at least one of the following: (1) digital TV delivered by cable or satellite; (2) a digital TV; (3) or a box that converts digital TV signals for viewing on an analog set." http://www.law.duke.edu/journals/dltr/articles/2001dltr0014.html
It was Bush who signed The Digital Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005. "This act requires all U.S. television stations to discontinue broadcasting in analog and switch to digital broadcasting beginning on midnight, February 17, 2009." http://www.broadbandinfo.com/cable/digital-transition/default.html
Imo digital tv was going to happen whoever was president. But if you want to politicize it, blame the correct president for over-riding the original legislation.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ann wrote:

Bush for everything when the reality is as you further affirmed both the red and blue teams work on behest of their owners not the "average guy".
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 08 Jan 2009 09:47:45 -0500, George wrote:

OK.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George wrote:

That type blames The President, anyone who is President for everything because they believe The President has powers he doesn't have. The law was passed by the *Legislature*, the body that can override a veto by The President. I wish more people understood how government works and how laws are made. The President doesn't make the laws. If The President refused to sign the bill he would be lambasted for ignoring the will of the people.
TDD
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There is no difference between the analog and digital signal for antenna or amplification. Anyone selling "digital" is selling snakeoil.
The only difference would be for those who are using a VHF only antenna today and have digital transmitters that are going to stay in the UHF band.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.