HELPING YOU UNDERSTAND AND USE THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR TV VIEWING EXPERIENCE
Author: Norman TV
Rusty Norman is a singer, songwriter, author and blogger. His first story was published in 1968 when he (was a Junior at)(attended) Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers, FL for the school literary magazine. Although he didn't venture out into writing immedately, he did begin writing regularly over twenty-five years ago.
He has also been a sound technician over the last 40 plus years and produces, almost weekly blogcasts on his Nascar websites along with his involvement in the media ministry at First Assembly of God in Fort Myers, FL.
He maintains several websites, each with a different focus, and continues writing songs, poetry and short stories along with articles like those found in his "Living Life Notes" series. He has just released the first of three planned books in the Living Life Notes series.
Lately, I’ve been working on posting more video items related to TVs and reception including satellite and antenna. Admittedly, things are a little slow around the TV biz right now, so… while I’m working on some new Antenna, Satellite and TV things, I thought it might be good time to offer you a little reading material of books I’ve written.
The first is, “Living Life Notes – Insights from traveling the Highway of Life.” It is my first book from several years ago BUT I have two others at AMAZON.com and more in the works. The one related to cutting the cord is titled, “So, You Just Want To Watch Television.” The last at the moment is, “More Living Life Notes – Stories and Ponderings With A Purpose.”
First, I Hope you enjoy this book trailer and maybe you will even check out one or more of my books at AMAZON.com …
Second, Thanks in advance just in case you are interested. You’ll never know what you’re missing unless you at least check them out. I’m hoping you do but, whether you do or not, I’m hoping you’ll keep visiting The Norman TV View website to check out the things I have planned for the near and distant future that I think you’ll like…
Just for fun, let’s take a short little trip with our imaginations into a land called, Rescan. How do you get to this land? Well… if you’re a “cord cutter” – someone that receives your local broadcasts via an antenna – let’s just say you wake up one day and turn on your TV and some, or many, of your channels aren’t there for you to watch. Your first thought is they are off the air since you know they have been off often recently. You decide not to do anything because you know they will be back on the air sooner or later so you continue to make the coffee, pour a cup for yourself, grab a donut or cinnamon roll and settle in for a news-less morning and figure you’ll catch up later.
After your quiet breakfast, you get ready and head off to your job, appointments or whatever you have on your schedule, planned or unplanned. Throughout the day, you wonder why those channels are missing or how long the stations will be off air this time but go about your day anyway. Afterall, this isn’t the first time this has happened over the last several weeks or months.
You work all day, expecting to be able to watch TV when you get home. So, you get home and everything is still the same, your favorite channels are still missing. You wonder what is going on so you begin to get suspicious your antenna may be the problem. You take a quick look at your antenna and everything seems to be okay, so you decide it might be a good idea to have your antenna person take a look at it the next day.
In the meantime, you turn to Netflix and decide to make a movie night of it. While you’re bringing up you account the thought hits you to check if the local broadcast stations have messages on their websites about the loss of signals. Sure enough, the information jumps right out at you. The headline states they have changed their frequencies. You stop before moving on further and wonder WHY would they do that and does it mean you need new equipment or even a new TV? Fortunately, you read a little further and find you only need to RESCAN your TV to regain the reception of their programming. A little further in their paragraphs, you find they have general information telling you how to rescan your TVs. You follow their instructions and regain your channels, breathe a sigh of relief and start watching your favorite off air channels again…
And that my friend is how you entered the land of Rescan…
Rescan… This may be a foreign term to some of you, especially if you’re not using an antenna to receive your local broadcast stations. If you don’t use an antenna to receive your local broadcast signals and receive them through a satellite or Cable provider, you won’t need to do anything because it will be done for you. But, IF YOU USE AN ANTENNA, get ready to rescan your TV or Off-Air converter because it is happening soon. Why is this happening? Is this similar to when the FCC mandated the change of broadcast signals changing to Digital?
The reason for this is because of the FCC mandated repack, or realignment, of some frequencies to make room to accommodate 5G signals and other devices in the near and distant future. They have already sold the frequencies and are in the process of implementing the transition.
This is not new news. It has been under way for several years now. It just hasn’t been put into action until last year. It is proceeding according to the FCC plan and taking place in phases. At the present we are in phase three and soon to enter phase four. Your local broadcasters are following the FCC mandated repack phases and the timeframe applies to some differently than others.
I want you to be informed but I won’t go into a long discussion here simply because there is plenty of information available online. I will give you a couple of websites to check out, though and you should gain a better understanding even if you are already familiar with what’s going on. A few of those websites are:
There are plenty more. If you check out one or some of these sites, you will likely discover several more you will want to check out, too.
The important things to remember during the next few months, (at least in the Fort Myers/Naples DMA) is to be patient and don’t panic… YOU JUST NEED TO RESCAN… You may have to do it several times over the coming months but understand, “this too shall pass” and things will get back to normal… eventually…
If you’ve been considering Cutting The Cord, (removing yourself from your present programing provider like, Cable, Satellite or some other provider), then my book is a must to help you make the right decision without regrets. It is full of great information and will give you answers to your unanswered questions and will also give you answers to those things you may not have even considered or knew you should… I do firmly believe you will find this book a good resource in helping you understand what needs to be considered by all that are considering Cutting The Cord and some of these things should be considered BEFORE you Cut the Cord.
Hello good friend… My name is Rusty Norman, owner of Norman TV and Video Systems. I’ve recently released my book “So… You Just Want To Watch Television?” and it is available in paper back or Kindle (or both) at Amazon.com. I think you will find it has a lot of great information to help you know if cutting the cord is something that will really work for you. Just follow this link and check it out… Thanks in Advance!! if you do…
There’s a continuing Broadcaster/Provider battle over pricing – but who really loses in the end?
First of All, This is MY Opinion:
I want to say that right up front so there are no misunderstandings and make it clear I am not in the attack mode. This is an article based on this writer’s opinion, and that opinion is based on personal experience over several years in dealing with these situations personally and in business. Though I subscribe to Dish Network as my TV service provider, I do not presently sell Dish Network services and I am not directly associated with them in any way. I do admit though, I like them as a company and have for many years and for many reasons.
Also, this particular situation does not affect me in any way since I learned long ago, having an antenna was to my advantage rather than having to depend on a middle man to provide my locals. As long as the broadcast stations are live, on the air and broadcasting at a normal power range, I have access to their signals no matter what the weather is like or what the relationship between them and the Satellite or Cable providers may be.
Now back to the matter at hand.
If you are a Dish Network customer in the Fort Myers/Naples DMA, you’ve probably noticed you’re missing your local CBS affiliated station, WINK TV. If you’re wondering why, they explain it very well where you would normally go to watch WINK Channel 11 CBS on your Dish Network satellite receiver. They do present some pretty thorough and factual information and you really should take the time to take it in. If you’re not on Dish, read on because you will likely be affected by the same thing sometime in the future.
I haven’t checked to see if anyone else is being affected by this situation with WINK (and probably other CBS affiliates across the Nation) but, I can tell you this: It really is nothing new!
Actually, (whether concerning Cable or Satellite companies) if the TV provider’s contract comes up for renewal at a time when the broadcasters know they will have more leverage, this is the ploy they use to make it inconvenient for the customers of either the satellite or cable companies. You see, it doesn’t really matter whether it is the CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX affiliates or others. They would rather blame the providers and inconvenience the customers until their demands are met or the leverage of the popular programming goes away. In this case, it happens to be more about the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl they are using as leverage although other programming is affected, also.
It happens quite often and it really doesn’t matter which network affiliate it is, they all do it when the opportunity arrives. The problem is, the customers suffer the most and they are the ones being inconvenienced while the broadcasters use them as leverage to try and gain a better bottom line.
Honestly, it is rather tiring to see this happen almost every year, if not every year, and to see my customers deal with this situation much too often. It has become a regular happening and is being expanded in its use by the broadcasters to inconvenience customers of whichever TV provider they are leveraging for more funds. Of course the blame can be somewhat placed on both sides but the broadcasters are the ones demanding higher than normal fees for the providers to continue with what they call the privilege to carry their programming. Meanwhile they suggest the consumers should change to a different provider that is willing to pay the higher access fees. Unfortunately, and this is particularly my own opinion, If they do move to another provider, that provider may be the next one they use the customer to leverage a higher fee from.
Sounds like a vicious circle, doesn’t it?
This sounds like a vicious circle, doesn’t it? Well… it is but it doesn’t have to stay this way. There is something you can do about it whether it is contacting the broadcasters, providers or politicians and offering your opinion and suggestions. Remember… the broadcast signals are available with no monthly fees if you have an antenna and can reliably receive the Over-The-Air signals without having to go through the continuing grab for more of your hard earned money.
Oh, and just an afterthought… well… I think maybe I should save that for next time…
Hello again… my name is Rusty Norman and I am the owner of Norman TV & Video Systems. I am so glad you’re visiting the site today and I am here to tell you I have some exciting things planned over the coming weeks, months and, yes, even years and I can’t wait to get started. In fact, I am working on several new aspects for the near and distant future and hope you will become a regular visitor to my site.
Before I move on to other things, I guess you would like to know more about my company (and me), especially if you are not familiar with Norman TV and Video Systems.
We have actually been around since early1973. That’s when we were simply called, Norman TV and located on Fort Myers Beach. That is the year my dad bought the business from the man he worked for about 10 years. Before that time it was known as, Chase TV. At that time I was going to college at FSU in Tallahassee, FL. My dad and my mom had a couple of employees and pretty much ran the business in that way for the next 12 years.
During that span of time, before and after I departed FSU, I was head mechanic at an AMF bowling establishment in Fort Myers, FL known as Miracle Lanes. Even though it is no longer in business and has been torn down, I started working there in 1969 and worked there until 1985 when I went to work for my dad at the store on Fort Myers Beach. Unfortunately, my dad died in January of 1990 and I had a big decision to make over the next few months.
Simply because of the way times change, our sales and service business on the Beach had become much too seasonal and suffered a little because of that. This had been going on for five or six years. Add to that the fact that the owner of the property we were on (and the building we were in) decided to increase our rent by almost double. That was bad enough but, they also wanted to cut the building in half and rent out the other side. To me, that meant they had just increased our rent almost 4 fold. There was no way we could justify that expense to stay in our storefront so my mom and I decided to close the store front and I took over the business from my mom in July of 1990. (Honestly, she didn’t want to continue in the business any longer – her heart just wasn’t in it any more especially since the death of my dad.)
At that time, it was hard to find an affordable storefront, good help and be able to afford to pay them year round so I decided to become a mobile repair company and try to service our regular customers, both residential and commercial, in that way. It was a busy time for me and I worked many hours since I was by myself. I used to get up early in the morning and work on TV’s that I had to bring in for repairs, by 9-10am I was out on service calls and deliveries and back generally somewhere between 6-8 pm. Then I would work on the things I had either brought in earlier or from that day, eat supper with my family go to bed and start all over again early the next morning.
That worked for a while but I admit it did wear me out, particularly during the busy season. After a time of a few years, once again the changing business climate caused me to re-evaluate where my strengths were. Even though I remained as a mobile service TV and electronics repair company, I slowly switched over to mostly signal delivery and maintenance of distribution systems for properties like hotels, motels, private schools, residences both large and small, which I had already been doing along with the other parts of the business. In 1997 I started branching out into the smaller satellite services like Dish Network and DirecTV, in particular maintaining the previous MATV (Master Antenna TeleVision) systems my dad had previously installed and updated some of those systems to SMATV (Satellite Master Antenna TeleVision.) I also worked with other types of properties as well and installed many satellite, antenna and satellite/antenna head end systems for commercial and residential customers and others.
Since most of what I did and do is on property, I used to recommend a couple of friends of mine for TV service. Unfortunately, they closed their doors in July of this year (2014) and I really do not recommend other repair services locally because I don’t know them well enough. I can still diagnose TV problems but since most repairs on the newer sets are relatively expensive and generally require shop time, I do not make a habit of recommending all that many repairs anymore. With my friends out of the service business, I don’t make recommendations for other repair places but that doesn’t mean there are no other servicers available but I am not familiar enough with them and cannot comfortably make recommendations so I don’t.
Just because I don’t service that many TV’s these days doesn’t mean I have lost touch with the newer technology. I do try my level best to stay up to date on the new technology and still do preliminary diagnostics on many TVs especially in the places where I perform the services I offer with people and companies I have dealt with for years.
So what do I mean when I say I have switched over mostly to signal delivery and maintenance? Well, I mean I work with and on systems that deliver programming to your TV, Radios and “other types” of reception equipment. To clarify, that means satellite, antenna and streaming media products, some of which I will go into more detail in articles in the future, hopefully a minimum of once a month and sometimes more often. I even work with and on that type of equipment in RV’s although I do put certain limitations on the work I will perform.
What are some of those “other types” of equipment? Well, to get the best answer to that question you will need to visit this site often. I know you will find things of interest here on a regular basis when you do…
In my recent journeys through RV campgrounds for service calls and differing problems for satellite reception, I’ve been asked what I think of the newer Portable Satellite Dishes and I just couldn’t let the opportunity to comment on them go by. I’m sure you’ve heard of them, seen advertisements and pictures of them and some of you likely already have them.
I’m sure you know, RV’ers have yet another option for getting their satellite signals. If you haven’t checked on them yet, you just might want to… You’ll never know whether or not they’ll work for you unless you do.
Three reasons I like the newer Portable Satellite Dishes…
Although I intend to say more about these portable satellite dishes in future articles, Let me just offer my opinion and three reasons why I like them. Remember this is only my opinion and there is other information I will cover in future articles that you do need to know about them. Okay, here are my top three reasons…
1. These portable dishes give you versatility. Since permanently mounted domes can’t generally be moved when you have blocked or limited reception of your satellite signals (that is, unless you move your whole RV) the portable dishes allow you the ability to move the dish quite simply by repositioning it to an area that has an open shot to your satellite locations in the sky.
2. They are now more affordable than they used to be for how easy they make setting up for your satellite reception. They aren’t cheap, but compared to the dome on the top of your RV that you can’t easily move, they are well worth the expense. (Some may find they would rather have the portable unit instead of a permanently mounted unit. Just remember, if you decide to go with one of these and you’ve been used to watching TV while traveling down the road, you may or may not be able to do that with many of these.)
3. They simplify setup and don’t take up much room in storage for travel. Usually, setup is fast and easy. Once you are familiar with these portable units, you won’t want to have to go to the trouble of putting a dish and mount together and find the Azimuth (or compass heading) and elevation every time you stop. Instead, with an automated portable satellite dish, you just have to find your best location, hook it up, let it run through its programmed setup which only takes a couple of minutes and you will be watching TV.
Well, that’s it for this time but, there is still much you need to know about the satellite system in your RV. Yes they have made them very easy to use but there are still some very basic things you need to know, (because the RV manufacturers don’t generally tell you a lot about how to use them.) Next time, we’ll be talking about some real life reception problems and how to solve them…
>>>>>><<<<<< Just so you know, I will soon have a book available (it will first be on Kindle) and it will be called, “Understanding Satellite Reception – For RV’ers (So You Can Enjoy It Rather Than Fight It)” – by Rusty Norman. I think you will find it to be full of simple, straight forward information that will help you enjoy your satellite system more and work at it less… I’ll let you know how you can get your copy, soon…
In my recent journeys through RV campgrounds for service calls and differing problems for satellite reception, I’ve often been asked to help customers align their portable satellite dishes or asked why the automatic Dome on top of their RV doesn’t get reception. Whether you’re new to RV’ing or an old pro, I’m sure understanding the satellite technology has thrown you more than one or two curve balls. Some think receiving signals from a satellite is much like receiving signals from an off-air antenna, meaning “close” should be good enough. Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth and neither off-air or satellite reception is like it used to be.
Portable Satellite Setups are Common to many…
This isn’t really new information and portable satellite reception isn’t new either. Many of you have set up your own dish on a tripod or some other type of mount to get satellite reception in your travels. Although you may not have much trouble now (because you’ve had a lot of practice) your first time or two was probably a struggle.
Have you sometimes struggled to get Satellite Reception in your travels?
If you have sometimes struggled to get satellite reception at some time or other, relax… you’re not alone. More than one person has struggled to get reception from these type setups and had to ask neighbors in the campground area to help or, as a last resort, have called in people like me to come and check out why they can’t get reception. Unfortunately, when they call me (or someone like me) it is a service call plus parts and sometimes (depending on what kind of problems we run into) there are even extra time-on-site charges. Often, by the time I get the call from a customer, they are so frustrated they just want it fixed so they can “Watch TV” and they don’t mind the cost, as long as it is reasonable and not outrageous. (Believe me, I try to be as reasonable as I possibly can.)
There are generally two common problems with satellite reception…
Without going into great detail in this article, the most common problems I find in these service call instances is usually one of two things. The first is something obstructing the view of the the dish for receiving the satellite signals and the second is equipment failure. The first can usually (but not always) be corrected by finding a clear view to the satellite locations in the sky. The second is not always so obvious and because of different equipment for receiving signals, the servicers don’t always have the proper LNB or something they can substitute to verify the equipment failure although, generally, their meters can test for some equipment failures but not all of them reliably.
Permanently mounted dishes and domes…
Many RV’ers now have automated permanent satellite dishes mounted on their RV’s, made by different manufacturers and are quite happy with the way they work, (or maybe I should say they’re happy with them when they work the way they’re supposed to.) The problems arise when they pull into a location and can’t get reception. Because many don’t fully understand how the Domes work and how much different Satellite reception is than off-air antenna reception, they don’t readily recognize they have an obstruction blocking the reception of their dish. Also, since most of the satellite companies use more than one satellite to deliver their services to their customers, the obstructions to proper reception are even less obvious to the average RV’er.
Understanding Satellite location in the sky and Line-Of-Sight…
It is important to be familiar with where the satellites are in the sky when you travel from place to place. Generally, your satellite receiver can tell you the correct azimuth (compass heading) and elevation (degree of vertical height in the sky from horizontal) if you know the zip code you’re in. If you have a compass or a smart phone with a compass, you should be able to determine if you have an open shot in the sky to the satellite(s) for your provider. Remember, Line-Of-Sight is from your dish or dome’s eye-view not yours.
Let me say right here so there is no confusion. Yes, I do know some of the automatic domes can track the satellite locations as you travel down the road but even they can’t see through trees and other obstructions. (They also have to have time to move when you make sharp turns to retain reception and at times they do get lost (lose their ability to stay on given satellites) and then you have to reset them.)
An actual problem from a service call…
The problem I find most when I get to a site is a tree problem (or at least, some kind of signal obstruction.) Here’s a real life example from one of my recent and more interesting service calls.
I arrived to a site that looked to be open to both of the satellite areas in the sky. (This particular one was a Dish Network system. Dish Network has an Eastern Arc and a Western Arc. In our area we can receive good signals from both, although Dish prefers the use of the Western Arc.) Unfortunately, after checking a few things, I discovered the tree placement on both sides of the RV blocked reception from the satellites simply because of the way the Dome was situated on the roof of the RV. For several reasons, this person could not move to a better location and couldn’t move forward or backward enough to improve the reception. Out of six possible satellites, this person was only getting intermittent reception of one and it was very inconsistent because any light breeze would blow a tree limb and would block the rest of the signal from that one location. This person was out of luck for watching his favorite satellite channels, at least from the installed dome system permanently mounted on his RV.
To get this customer some reception for watching TV, I setup and explained his Antenna system for the local Digital TV channels and suggested checking into a TailGater portable satellite dish since he already had a Dish Network account and also had the proper receiver made to work with it. He did as I suggested and I’ll talk more about this in the next article entitled, “Three Reasons I Like Portable Satellite Dishes.” See ya next time…
Sorry to take so long in posting this here, but, sometimes the time does get away from us… (Anyway, better late than never.)
For those of you that used to get Bell Express Vu in our area, you will no longer be able to receive information from that Satellite system anywhere in Florida (and many other locations you might have been able to in the past.) This is because the signal foot print has been moved far North and cannot be seen at all in our location. (In fact, it isn’t available any place we know of in the SouthEastern United States.)
We already know many of you have already discovered this for yourselves but we did want to mention it for those of our friends that may not know about it yet. If you have questions about this, we do suggest you communicate with Bell Express Vu. They can answer your questions, we can’t…)
You can receive DirecTV and Dish Network in our area as long as you have clear view of the Southern to Southwestern Sky, (Dish Network also has their Eastern Arc in the SouthEastern sky.) Most all of the RV Domes and temporary Dishes get them quite nicely. In fact, if you’ve been wondering about those temporary Domes like the Tailgater and the Winegard Carryout, we know they work very well also. (Shaw is also availble but you have to deal with them directly for equipment and services. Our experience with customers of theirs in the last several months has yielded very good reviews from their customers’ experiences with them. In fact, some companies we know of could take a few lessons from their Customer Service Department… but that’s a whole other story in itself…)
As always, you cannot receive very good signal (if any at all) through trees or other obstructions. It does help to know where your satellites are located in the sky, especially with the multiple satellite locations that exist for the companies these days but we’ll let you know more about that in some up and coming articles.
Stay tuned to our site because we have some very good informational articles coming in the next days, weeks and months specifically aimed at reception through the RV satellite receiving equipment of all kinds and your off-air antenna reception in our area. We think you will enjoy them and also find them informative and educational.
Like we’ve always said, this is your place for great information on Antenna and Satellite reception and we intend to make it even better in the near future… Check back with us soon!!! We think you will be pleased with what you find here…
Visit us next week to find out why we like the newer portable Satellite Domes. Get the full details next week, right here at the Norman TV View…