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Showing posts from January, 2009

Spurned once, the Senate again passes bill to delay DTV transition

Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives killed a bill passed by the Senate that would have delayed the DTV transition date from February 17 -- a mere 19 days from now -- to June 12.

JDTVB has supported, and will continue to support, the February 17 date. As originally written into law, the transition was supposed to happen in 1999, or whenever 85% of television households were ready.

The best numbers I've been able to come up with indicate that 94 to 95% are now prepared.

However, President Obama believes we should wait for the lazy 5% who aren't.

I disagree.

Those of us who took the initiative, paid attention to the thousands of crawls, TV spots and other information and have already taken the steps necessary to maintain our TV signal should not be forced to wait for the handful who haven't.

Nor should stations who've invested millions in converting be forced to continue operating two signals. Their electric bills alone would stretch into the millions of doll…

W38BK (TBN) not going digital anytime soon

No thanks to the ice storm, I was unable to post the reply I received from Trinity Broadcasting regarding their Evansville translator station, W38BK (channel 38).

Here it is:

Your station in Evansville has not been converted to digital yet. We applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to convert our low power analog stations to digital. At this time, we do not know which stations will be allowed to convert to digital.

So there you go. They've applied, but at this point, either the FCC hasn't acted on the application or something. So we might as well not count on seeing TBN's full portfolio of networks for free. As of this date, only Sky Angel (an IPTV service) offers them all as a pay service. :-(

Ice storm knocks several stations off-air

I'm fortunate to have my internet back when thousands across Indiana and Kentucky are without power. So, on that note, I'll keep this brief:

Just about every station in the Evansville area has been off-air at various times due to the ice storm. WKOH (KET 31) and WNIN (PBS 9) are the only ones I know of which are having more problems than others.

David Dial, head honcho at WNIN, says they won't be back on except for on cable (TV) or internet (radio) until Vectren gets power restored to their tower at Pelzer in Warrick County, Indiana.

Readers: How are you faring?

News Roundup, January 18-24

It's been a big week here at JDTVB HQ. I've been following a number of news items, all of which can be found in individual posts below, but to get everything in one concise spot, beginning today, I'll post a weekly News Roundup to get you all up to speed.

Let's get started, shall we?

MONDAY

Down in Bowling Green, WBKO (ABC/Fox/CW) switched to their new, full-power transmitter. Viewers are still having a hard time getting signal, but all is not yet lost. Their meteorologist, Chris Allen, in his latest blog, says they'll be sending out the station's engineering staff to test signals around the viewing area. That way they can make the adjustments necessary to get everyone back to watching their favorite shows.

WEDNESDAY

I found out thatEvansville's WTSN-LP (MyNetworkTV)'s translator station, W36DF, changed its call letters to WYYW-LP. I can get both over the old analog setup, but they're snowy. Fortunately, WTSN programming has been and will remain av…

Goodbye, "Due to circumstances beyond our control," hello THIS TV!

There's going to be another new choice in DTV viewing for Tri-Staters soon.

WFIE-14 (NBC) is getting ready to add MGM/Weigel Broadcasting's This TV to 14.3, the subchannel where The Tube once lived before it went off the air on October 1, 2007.

Here's the official word from Kirk Williams of WFIE Programming & Research:
"We are actually planning to launch “This TV” as a replacement for “The Tube” on our 14.3 multicast channel very soon. There are still a few details to work out but look for an official announcement in the next several weeks."This TV has programming from MGM's vast movie and television library, along with children's entertainment programming. I'm looking forward to seeing how it compares with RTN, which is carried locally by WEHT.

Getting closer on 'BKO ...

JDTVB reader NashDigie was almost able to lock onto WBKO's signal last night. Still working on that, and I've been promised an update.

I've been pretty close myself. I think when we got some high wind recently, my attic-mounted antenna may have gotten dislodged, because I've noticed some unusual reception issues of late that didn't happen before.

Of course, being mobility-challenged, I don't go up into the attic much these days because it takes so long. But I'm going to try later today. I'll let you know what I find out.

Miscellaneous updates

To give you an idea of what's going on with the local stations and the transition, I did some searching on the FCC's TV query website, and here's where they will be going come February 17 ... or whenever the transition happens.

EVANSVILLE
WTVW 7 (Fox) - is on Channel 28. Will stay there.WNIN 9 (PBS) - will move to Channel 9 from 12.WFIE 14 (NBC) - is on Channel 46. Will stay there.WAZE 19 (CW) - is transmitting on Channel 20 from the existing Channel 19 tower at very low power. New tower being constructed near old tower; will stay on 20 at full power.WEHT 25 (ABC/RTN) - will move to Channel 7 from 59. ERP on Channel 59 is 59,000 watts, lowest in the market. Initially on Channel 7, the power will only be 2,600 watts, but the station plans to install a higher antenna that will give the station 12,500 watts. One should bear in mind, too, that VHF signals can travel farther will less power. Hopefully everyone will be able to get WEHT after the transition; I know they can&…

Inauguration coverage overload? Wanna watch something else? Here's a guide!

I'll personally be watching ABC's inauguration coverage for at least part of the day, but for those of you who want to avoid it like the plague, here's what else will be on today:

(All times are Central ... just add an hour if you're on Eastern!)

EVANSVILLE DMA

WNIN 9 (PBS) and KET
Regularly scheduled programming is shown on TV Guide's website. Ditto the WNIN and KET websites. However, live inauguration coverage will begin on KET2 (31.2 or 35.2) at 10 AM if you're interested.

WTVW 7.1 (Fox), WFIE 14.1 (NBC), WEHT 25.1 (ABC) and WEVV 44.1 (CBS) will be going wall-to-wall this morning, and of course there will be inauguration-themed programs after the main show is over with.

If you want to watch non-stop weather, WFIE 14.2 will stay with that. WEHT 25.2 (RTN) will not change its schedule, either. And, as mentioned earlier, the regular PBS kids schedule will still be available. So for your younger kids, you'll be OK.

BOWLING GREEN DMA

KET -- same as Evansville ma…

WBKO: Nothing here in Owensboro

It could be the snow last night and the cloud cover that is still hanging on between here and WBKO's tower, but I've not yet been able to pick up WBKO's signal here on the southwest side of Owensboro yet.

I wasn't really expecting to, although it would've been nice.

As long as the clouds stay at bay, I'll try again a couple of times later today, and again tonight.

Were you able to get it when they threw the switch? Let me know!

UPDATE Monday, 6:30 PM: Apparently I'm not alone. JDTVB readers NashDigie and adamwhiles reported they aren't getting 'BKO either. And they are certainly closer to the situation than I ... close enough that picking up the signal should be a non-issue.

All I can say at this point is that disappointment seems to rule the day here.

Finally ... how I built my own DTV antenna

Back in August, I promised to show you how to build a DTV antenna on the cheap. All these months later, I'm finally going to get that done!

The ones I have built (four here at home and some for friends as well) regularly outperform the Terk HDTVi antenna I purchased four years ago at Circuit City. (They're going out of business ... might be some hot deals on antennas ... gotta remember to check on that!)

I can't take credit for it; I got my plans here: http://uhfhdtvantenna.blogspot.com/.

However, I did change some things:

My piece of 2x4 was 28" long.I placed the elements 3" apart instead of 3 1/2" as the author did.I did without the reflector screen.Going with the 28" long board (which was by default ... it was what I had on hand) and tightening up the element spacing -- and yes, I did try the 3 1/2" spacing later -- had zero effect on signal strength.

Eliminating the reflector allows the antenna to grab signals from front and back. In fact, I'…

WBKO fans, MONDAY is THE DAY!!!

A special "THANK YOU" and a tip o' the hat to reader NashDigie, who dropped in to let us know that WBKO (ABC/Fox/CW, Bowling Green) will be turning on their full-powered digital signal at 9:00 A.M. on Monday, January 19.

You will need to re-scan your converter box or digital TV to pick it up. If your setup allows for just seeking new channels, do that. It's less of a headache.

I will try to pick up that signal at that time here at JDTVB HQ in Owensboro, and will be sure to post what happens here.

RTN schedule back to normal ... well, almost!

RTN-TV25 (WEHT-DT2) is back.

The regular programming schedule we've been used to since August finally came back yesterday after nearly two weeks of being either off the air entirely ... or way off as part of RTN's national feed.

Missing from the lineup is RTN's call-in talk show, "Unreliable Sources." That program was broadcast each weeknight from RTN's former headquarters operation in Little Rock, Arkansas. With the move to Chattanooga, it's not known here at JDTVB HQ if we'll see US return.

Some of the "bugs" still have to be worked out, but I'm glad to have RTN as we know it back again.

Especially in the afternoon.

Comings and goings in local TV

If, like me, you're up early ... or still up ... perhaps you watch one of the local morning news programs.

Personally, I watch News 25 Daybreak. I have for a few years now.

I don't watch the whole program, just bits and pieces. But recently, I noticed that Angie Richards, who had co-anchored the show for several years, was not there any more.

And now, Evansville native Whitney Ray has taken the co-anchor seat alongside Jon Chrisos.

Of course, it won't be long before morning meteorologist Stacey May takes some time off to have her new baby, either. (Edit: According to JT, who wrote in, WEHT is advertising on its website for a new morning meteorologist. Does this mean Stacey won't return after her maternity leave?)

Names and faces do change frequently around here ... seems like except for the anchor teams, the reporting staffs of all three Evansville stations (WEHT, WFIE and WTVW) have turned over several times in the past few years.

A good place to follow the personnel m…

Computer failure leads to a hiatus

Due to the death of my laptop, it's going to be at least a few days before I get back "up to speed" here on the Blog.

I am presently using a VERY old Compaq desktop that is, to be kind, slow.

My new machine of choice, to be ordered hopefully this week, will be an MSI Wind netbook. It's considerably smaller than my Acer Aspire notebook, but I believe it will be much handier to use and to take with me from place to place.

Plus I'll be abandoning Windows Vista (which I'd actually grown to like, not love, but like) for Windows XP.

In my years of computing, I've gone through the following operating systems:

MS-DOS -- 3.0 through 6.22
Windows 3.0
Windows 3.1
Windows for Workgroups 3.11
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows Me
Windows 2000 Professional
Windows Vista Home Premium

Yeah, I skipped XP altogether the first time around. I'm actually looking forward to going back and seeing what I missed. ;-)

Anyway, once I get the new machine and get it all set up, I'll start post…

Push back the DTV transition? What a bunch of pansies!

The pansies at Consumers Union (if you've seen Consumer Reports, that's them) have gone to Washington to get the DTV transition date pushed back from February 17.

As of today, that date is a mere 1 month and 8 days away.

According to CU, too many Americans are going to lose their TV signal because of inadequate preparation on the part of the government (read: Handouts.)

Inadequate preparation my ass.

Every TV station in the country has been beating the DTV drum for over a year. There's been a coupon program. They even got Bob Barker to come out of retirement to shoot a spot for it.

PBS has done a special.

Inadequate preparation? Bullshit.

But now President-elect Obama is in on the action, saying he's in favor of pushing the date back to June, maybe August, if what I read is correct.

All I have to say is this: I've been DTV-ready since 2004. If people aren't, it's not the fault of the government. Get cable. Get satellite. Get a converter box. They're n…

It's my blog, so I'll gripe if I want to!

First of all, if you don't want to see me gripe, you'd better go elsewhere, because here I go.

Anyway, the whole Equity/Luken/RTN debacle really has me steamed. As some of you know, I'm disabled, and therefore I'm home all day with kids. RTN was kind of my gift to myself. Marcus Welby, Quincy, Emergency!, Kojak, etc. are all shows I grew up with and enjoyed watching as a kid.

And, as is typical for me, I got into a happy little rut with all my shows at a certain time that I could watch without interruptions.

Then it all hit the fan on Sunday.

Now everything is all screwed up. Heck, they didn't even BOTHER to put Quincy on this morning AT ALL!

But I sure got to see the same Leave it to Beaver episodes that I watched yesterday.

I sure hope they get the customized schedules set back up soon. I want things back the way they were.

One more thing: If you haven't noticed, the national feed is not referring to RTN in any form or fashion. Between shows, there is a "…

It's back, but in what form and for how long?

RTN came back this morning, but it's different.

WEHT is getting it via the national feed, which, as I understand from this article, is coming from Chattanooga instead of Little Rock. RTN's boss, Henry Luken, says the customized schedules will be back, but it'll take a while.

Instead of paid programming this morning, there was a morning show called Daytime. It wasn't too bad. Certainly not Good Morning America by any stretch, but other than the two appearances by John Tesh, it's acceptable.

Ironside was on at 9AM, one hour earlier than previously. I missed whatever was on at 10AM. Then came Quincy at 11AM, and, unfortunately, the video from the AmMedDirect commercial froze on-screen after that ended, despite the audio keeping up with the programming.

And, actually, I should mention that all programs are starting about 5 to 10 minutes after the hour. Hopefully that will get fixed, along with the screen ... I'd really like to WATCH Emergency! (which came on shor…

What the hell?

I just put up a poll question last night asking you what you think about RTN, and now my favorite DTV network is off the air.

When I woke up this morning, I turned on my bedroom TV to see a red screen with the following message:

As of 5:00 AM on January 4, 2009, Equity Media Holdings Corp.'s contract to service the Retro Television Network has Expired. EMHC attempted to coordinate a seamless transition, but despite repeated attempts to communicate with Luken Communications representatives, it received no response. Please direct any question regarding the RTN network, programming, and delivery of services to:Luken Holdings, Inc.735 Broad Street, Suite 1204Chattanooga, TN 37402423-756-1200
It was a rude awakening. Literally.

If this continues into the week, there'll be no Marcus Welby, M.D. No Quincy, M.E. No Rockford Files. No anything.
If, like me, you want your RTN back ASAP, I suggest dropping a dime and giving these Luken folks a call. I doubt I'll raise anyone there tod…

New Poll ... check it out and vote!

By the time you read this, I will have posted two new polls.

This month's first question is:

"If you could choose a free network available elsewhere for the Evansville-market stations to put on a subchannel, what would it be?

The choices are:

1. Create - This would be for PBS (WNIN) only; they show many of the popular and former PBS programs (This Old House, Julia Child's various shows, etc.). Personally, I'm hoping they put this one on 9-3. It's a possibility.

2. Ion/qubo/Ion Life/Worship Channel - Good programming for families. qubo's cartoon selections are shown on NBC in the morning ... might WFIE be interested in picking it up for The Tube's old spot on 14-3???

3. This TV - It's hard to pigeonhole this one, but it's a joint venture between Weigel Broadcasting and MGM. They show MGM's films and TV properties, and some children's programming. Could be a strong competitor for RTN, which is carried locally by WEHT on 25-2.

4. Universal S…

A belated holiday greeting

I apologize for not wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, and so on, but it couldn't be avoided. I am truly sorry; please accept my humble belated greetings.

We here at DTV Blog HQ were busy celebrating and touring the state of Indiana where our relatives call home. Everyone received wonderful gifts and, at least for a few days, took our minds off of the economy, the news, and so on.

Have you made your New Year's resolution yet? I decided to forget it this year. It isn't that your humble correspondent doesn't need to make any, I just know they'll all be broken by the middle of this month, so I just decided to skip the charade. ;-)

Anyhoo ... there's not much to tell this time around, but as we know from my last post, the crew is scheduled to be back on site at WBKO on Saturday, if memory serves, and we should be just a few days away from full-power digital entertainment from them by the end of next week if all goes well.

I've y…